Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Quest to 50-18 down 32 to Go (2018 Race Season)

This year 2018 my Motto was to “Do Epic Shit”, I had triathlon goals, I had running in different states goals and completing 2 marathons and I did just that. It was truly an Epic year with blood, sweat and lots of tears put into some of these races.  I may be exaggerating a bit with the blood but I did cut my ankle when I fell on my bike trying to unclip, yes I didn’t fall off the bike I fell on top of it haha. This year was truly epic with even forming bonds with my teammates and making new friends along the way. I do these races because I love the training and challenge what my body is capable of.

My first part of the season I was able to travel to 2 states and run a half marathon in each. The first was West Virginia in April, the race was a local town race, wasn’t there visiting long but hey I checked off another state on my quest to 50. In June I traveled to Seattle Washington for my birthday and planned an epic long weekend. I ran a 5k on my birthday went to visit some places I wanted to eat and sight-see, the next day I ran a half marathon and did more sightseeing. The day after my half marathon I went snowshoeing up Mt Rainier which was absolutely beautiful.


The Second part of the Season the NYC triathlon and Ironman Maine 70.3, Chicago Marathon, Baltimore Half Marathon and NYC Marathon was a juggle between training for my triathlons and beginning my marathon training.
NYC triathlon is always a fun race and always a hot one, I was able to complete the course but people that started after me were cut off on the run. I finished a few minutes better than 2 years prior.
Maine was a crazy adventure, from training to almost not wanting to do the race because I was scared I wouldn’t meet the bike cut off but I did by a half hour. The swim was awesome; the bike was nerve wrecking but had my teammate on the course with me as we pushed each other throughout. The run was hot and I got lost on the course, I drank so many liquids due to not drinking enough on the bike by time I crossed the finish line I puked ugh.


Chicago Marathon, what can I say about Chicago, loved the city did lots of touring with my friend; the Al Capone/Ghost Tour was very interesting. The course was mostly flat with few hills, they say you can definitely set a personal record here but my legs had other ideas and gave out by mile 19, mostly my fault because I did a lot of walking the days before the race touring the city, ended up doing 10 miles a day since I arrived. The spectators in Chicago were amazing; the weather was great although it did rain for a few miles.  

Baltimore Running Festival, I went to Maryland by bus for 1 night to run a half marathon and complete my 4th state for the year. I read reviews on this course how Baltimore is hilly and I knew what to expect and to take it as a training run for New York since it was 2 weeks before. I subbed 2 hours on this race taking it easy but those hills phew; I think 1.5 miles of the 13.1 of the course was the only flat part. We missed the bus going back to NYC because of the crazy traffic but it was oh so worth it afterwards to indulge on some yummy crab and crab cakes.

My last big race of the season was the NYC marathon, although I started in a later coral and stopped to use bathroom during the race, the block party is always great. The most spectators I have ever seen in NYC and the course were filled with runners, I don’t remember a part of the race where it spread out and I wasn’t constantly zigzagging and getting elbowed.  My legs felt strong throughout, by the time I got to the Bronx I started to slow down a bit and stopped a few times to get a coke and give hugs. By the time I got to 5thave the slight incline I started to feel a bit out of it, legs were still feeling good but not sure if it was the crowd that was making me feel a bit off or the 1 gel that I lost during the course and needed that extra energy. With a half a mile to go I took my glasses off and started to walk a bit, didn’t want to faint from whatever it was I was feeling. I made the turn back into the park and started to run to the finish line. I was happy to be done; I was disappointed with my finish time as my legs felt strong but it is what it is and on to the next one.


I will be doing one more reason before the year is up, Ted Corbitt 15k in Central Park, which is one of my favorite distances. 
My goals for 2019 are in the works which will be a mix of Marathons and Triathlons and shorter distances, stay tuned.

Until next time Happy Running, Boxing, Hiking, Swimming, and Biking!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

My Quest to 50- 17 down 33 to go Chicago Marathon

My Quest to 50, 17 down 33 to go

October 7, 2018
Chicago Marathon

This past weekend I ran my 6th Marathon and my 17th State. I was supposed to do Chicago 2 years ago but I had to defer due to a hip labrum tear. What can I say Chicago is beautiful, the streets are clean, and the architecture is beautiful, even with the bipolar weather cold, hot, rainy, windy I still loved it.  I would definitely go back since I need redemption for my race and to take a picture with the bean, which I forgot to do.
Before Race Day
I arrived in Chicago a few days before staying with a friend that was there for work which worked out perfect and grateful I was able to stay with her since I almost didn’t go to Chicago since I wasn’t working, although I did start working the week before I left. The second hotel another friend offered me to stay at their hotel because I didn’t have anywhere to stay which was awesome. We did a lot of walking, checking out the city, went on the Tilt ride, and planned a gangster/ghost tour which was interesting. The next day I went to the Expo picked up my bib and that was about over 2 hours between waiting for my shuttle bus to take me back to the hotel.  I was a bit frustrated from all the traveling to and from the expo I ended up going for a relaxing 20 minute swim at the hotel, which is one of the oldest swimming pools, built in the 1920s.


Day before the Race
I ran the 5k the day before the race, usually I don’t run the day before a race but I had signed up and well didn’t want to lose out on my money so I ran it anyway. There was a thunderstorm that morning and the race was delayed by a half hour. I decided to run it sexy pace which was easy and slow and take pictures along the way so I didn’t put too much strain on legs. I checked out of the hotel with my friend and we walked to the Navy Pier, yes more walking but had to kill some time waiting for my other friend to arrive so I can check into the second hotel.  I had planned to do a meet up with a running group I am part of on FB (youvstheyear) but unfortunately that didn’t happen.  By the time I checked into my 2nd hotel my legs were done, my thighs were tired and then I had to go eat and walk some more. Not the smartest decision with all the walking I did leading up to race day but I learned my lesson when you read how my race went.



Race Day
Race morning was chilly and it had just finished raining, I prefer chilly weather over hot weather for a run any day. I went to my gate entrance, went through security, checked bag and went straight to porta potty line. I always try and go before the race so I don’t have to go during, well I waited about 25 minutes or more on the line and had to run to my start, which wasn’t closed yet but started a corral back which was fine since I wanted to pace myself slow in the beginning. The race starts and it starts to rain a bit but didn’t mind it too much. I took my time not trying to pass anyone and made sure I warmed up; my Garmin watch wasn’t working the first few miles but the night before I wrote down the time splits I should be at for each mile. I was on pace for a while, then at mile 7 there was a downpour for a few miles, a bit annoying but wasn’t too bad just was wet the rest of the race. Chicago Marathon is known for a mostly flat course and everyone says you can run your personal best, well the personal best wasn’t for me on Sunday, by mile 14 I was slowing down on my splits and by mile 19 my thighs were burning, I tried pushing with my heart and not worry about my legs but they were done. I stopped at the 2 biofreeze tents and rubbed it on my thighs, it helped temporarily but I knew my time was slowing down and started to walk a bit here and there which I wasn’t happy about. The course was mostly flat but I welcomed the ramps on to bridges or overpass here and there, gave my legs a little burst of energy running up hill. I wasn’t a fan of some of the bridges that were medal and half was covered in carpet and other half wasn’t so had to run to the side with the carpet because I didn’t like that medal feeling on my feet. By mile 26 I was so happy to be done, although my watch said 27 miles since it was off I knew I was close. I crossed that finish line with relief and also disappointment.  After the race I walked in some pain and soreness, everyone was doing the zombie walk with their Mylar blankets. I went to get my gear and changed my clothes head to toe because it was still chilly and my clothes were wet. I took maybe 2 post race photos and left right away to then catch a cab to the hotel because I wasn’t going to walk 2 more miles to the hotel. I went back to the room, stretched, rolled, showered and napped. I wanted to try the famous deep dish pizza in Chicago so I went out to eat and waited about 2 hours for my pizza, I guess everyone had the same idea. The pizza was delicious and so was my wine, wasn’t crazy about waiting that long but what can I do.

I knew I could have done better and I knew what I did wrong leading up to the race and I have no one to blame but myself but I feel like 4 hours and 16 is still a great time but not what I wanted.
Overall Chicago was wonderful, the city, the people, the history and I checked off a state on my bucket list and set a new goal to do the 6 Star World Majors Challenge which consist of (New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Berlin, Tokyo) not sure how long this goal will take as most of them are getting in through lotteries and so far didn’t get into London and Tokyo for next year so here’s hoping for Berlin.
Next up is Baltimore Running Festival Half which will be state #18 and NYC Marathon.
Until next time Happy Running, Boxing, Hiking, Swimming and Biking!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ironman Maine 70.3

Half Ironman 70.3          


                                                          Maine August 26, 2018

It has been 3 weeks since my Maine Half Ironman Triathlon (70.3 miles), still in awe that I finished and made the bike cutoff.  Last year my Half Ironman (Tinman) was all about finishing the course and there were no specific cutoffs that made me stress out although it was one of my toughest races, was it tough because of the rough waters, wind coming from all directions on the bike or was it tough because I didn’t train as much as I should have for it.

Training for Maine Half Ironman 70.3
Training began in late November of 2017, I had a goal to race again in the NYC Triathlon and do another Half Ironman, although in November I have yet to sign up for the Maine race I was still training for it. I hit the pool several times a week, biked indoors on my trainer and completed outdoor rides when weather allowed it and of course I continued running as I am usually training for a race. As I was training I noticed how my swimming has improved, my endurance on the swim improved and an hour or more didn’t seem so grueling when I was swimming in the pool. As for training on the bike well it was a love/hate relationship, I was able to bike and get the miles in but I felt as if it was a struggle for me as far as speed. I was like the little engine that could “I think I can, I think I can”, come race day my mindset changed to “I know I can, I know I can”, although the weeks prior to Maine I had my doubts on even doing the race because I didn’t want to face disappointment.
I had my team for encouragement, my friends that supported me but still had my doubts. I would go on my Saturday rides and never made it past the Market on 9w because I couldn’t keep up so I was left doing basic route and hill repeats, this was very discouraging to me and I just became frustrated. I did get the workouts in but I wasn’t having fun anymore, my anxiety and stress got to me the last 2 months leading up to the race. When I finished the NYC Triathlon in July, as soon as I crossed the finish line I said I am not doing Maine, although I improved my time from 2 yrs. prior, the bike wasn’t by much and the swim, half way through the swim I was feeling constricted from the wetsuit. My teammate Cari convinced me to meet her for open water swimming at least once a week and the practice in the suit helped a lot.  Although I was getting my swims and my workouts in I still had my doubts on doing Maine, yes I paid for it and I would have lost money but I think would have been crushed after 8 months of training and not finishing. I had another teammate Jose S help me out on the bike and believed in me more than I believed in myself.  Coach Jose helped me out my last few rides also and said I can do it. My other teammate Daphnie who I haven't seen in a while was supportive breaking down my time on race and how I would do in each leg. A couple of weeks before Maine we had a 4 hour time trial in Harriman State Park, 55 miles in the pouring rain, I finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes. I was disappointed then my coach said this course was 1000ft more elevation then Maine and the conditions were not ideal so then I said maybe I can do this.
Everyone had their personal obstacles to overcome in this race whether it was the swim, bike or run, we all had our challenges and anxiety but at the end we persevered.



Race Week
Since I had my doubts on racing Maine, I didn’t put a lot of thought how I would be able to go and afford it, I am unemployed and didn’t get my unemployment check on time, so I had to scramble for money and had to borrow, luckily the day I arrived in Maine I received my check. I arrived in Maine with my teammate Marysol and her daughter, we checked in to the hotel and then retrieved our bibs. We attended athlete briefing then went to check out the beach and the buoys and swim course, boy did it look far.


Day Before Race Day
Went to swim start to practice with my teammates, a lot of anxiety was happening. The waves pushed us around and the water was cold but then after a few dips it felt ok. Coming back from the first buoy I was able to get my rhythm. After the swim I went out for a quick 15 minute bike ride and then a 15 min run with my teammate.  Went back to the hotel room organized my race day gear and nutrition, didn’t take a picture of it which I usually do. I walked to the bike transition to set up my bike and meet with the team for a blessing and words of wisdom from our coach and other teammates. We then went out for a pasta dinner and back to the room to relax. I was walking back to my room I noticed I didn’t have my helmet which I wore when I took my bike to transition, I left my helmet at the restaurant where we ate, had to walk a half a mile back to retrieve it and so glad they had it.

Race Day
The day has come, 8 months of training blood, sweat and tears and some laughs. Ok, may be a bit dramatic with blood, I did cut my ankle with the ring of the bike trying not to fall. I get to bike transition, set up my bike area close to one of my teammates Malibu, which was happy to be close to a familiar face. We set up our transition together since there was an empty rack for a bike. The moon was still out, the mood was filled with focus, anxiety, fears, nerves, excitement.  I get to the beach and see most beautiful sunrise, we were able to go and do a warm up swim and had a moment with Cari, my swim buddy aka my bad ass b*tch. The athletes placed themselves in their predicted seeded time. I went way to the back in the 50-55 minute range so I don’t get faster athletes swimming over me or punching and kicking me. The swim was nice, water was clear and only bumped into a few ppl, the turn was a bit harder I couldn’t really see the buoys, they were further apart. The swim back to shore, I used the crowd for sighting because again had a hard time seeing the buoys, need to get my eyes checked. I finally finish the swim and looked at my watch 49 minutes, wow my fastest 1.2 miles, by the time I get to timing chip it was 50 minutes but I’ll take it. I run out of the water and see my team Cheer Squad and coach, it was so awesome to have them out there yelling and screaming. I was side by side with my Malibu coming out of the water, we ran up to timing mat together.  I got the assist to get my wetsuit pulled off by volunteers and she kept going.


I get to transition and get ready for the bike. As I pedaled and biked, it was game on, I was in race mode. I celebrated every mile, yelling woohoo or some type of excitement, trying to stay positive throughout. I see Malibu about half way through we played cat and mouse with each other pushing each other on those rolling hills back and forth from then on to the last mile. We were both worried about the time cutoff on the bike and making the 4 hours as our coach wanted us to finish. I forget which mile it was but it was in the 30s and I told her we had 40 minutes to meet the cutoff and we pushed it, we barely had any recovery because of the rolling hills. You would think nice big up hill will have a nice downhill, nope we had to switch gears again to go back up. We saw our other teammate Ali and it felt like a training ride, all of us pushing each other. We were on the turn to the finish and we can see our teammates and coaches yelling and screaming, we made that 4 hour time we were stressing about for months, so glad we had each other through the 56 mile bike course.

Once I was off the bike I had to use the bathroom, I didn’t stop during the bike since I was more on a time constraint. I get to bike transition switch shoes, grab my visor, my fuel belt, race belt and head out for my run, my first goal was to get to a bathroom haha, the first bathroom I see I run in and not sure it was nerves but didn’t have to go after all of that. I drank a lot of everything of the run course, as I noticed I didn’t finish one of my bottles on the bike which was harder to reach for me. The run was a 2 loop course, it was hot by the time I started a lot of people looked like they were struggling. I am a runner and the running I still have to get used to after finishing the bike, its not that easy even as a runner. I get to the trail part of the course and welcomed the shade and ran into another porta potty, as I exit the porta potty the volunteer directs me to keep going at the turn. I see my coach and he said I was doing great on time and I did feel good.  I get to the start of the 2nd loop and notice a 8 mile marker and my watch said 6 miles, I was thinking did my GPS cut off on the trail, why am I missing 2 miles. I get to the trail again and noticed a straightway on trail which I missed the first time since I ran to the bathroom towards the turn and the volunteer directed me the wrong way. So I finally figured out where I missed those 2 miles and that was where the timing chip was. I made ran I ran that part twice to make sure I had run my whole 13.1 miles.  I get to the last half mile or so of the race and not sure if it’s because I am pushing hard or because I drank way too much liquids on the run but was feeling nausea. I see finishers walking back to their bikes with their medals, I see crowds cheering to finish strong, I felt strong except that I don’t want to puke feeling. I get to the Ironman finisher shoot and see everyone cheering, Trihuracan cheer squad in full effect, what a great feeling to cross the finish line. I throw my hands in the air and so proud that I finished and then right before I get my medal I puke haha, at least it was after the cameras.


Post Race
A few of us went to eat and celebrate, we were all tired but enjoyed each other’s company, shared stories, ate , laughed and was on a ice cream sugar rush dancing outside of a bar lol
This training and race has showed me to not give up on myself, I put in the training and just go for it. “Don’t Limit Your Challenges, Challenge Your Limits”. I can go on and on, I went from barely swimming 1 lap a couple of years ago with nose plugs to swimming 1.2 miles in the ocean. I went from learning how to ride a bike a few years ago and learning how to not stop like the Flintstones to clipping into my bike this past year. There is always room for learning, improving and taking on new challenges.
My next big goal is the Chicago Marathon coming up in a few weeks.

Until next time Happy Running, Swim, Bike, Hike, Dance and Box.