Run It…Run It…

Test Over…Training Begins!

Well kind of : )  End of May is my first race of the year…the annual Soldier Field 10 Miler.  One of my favorite races because I usually run it just for fun, we finish in the awesome Bears stadium, and it is the kick of summer weekend!  After that, I am hoping to get myself signed up for a summer triathlon.  I was not able to do a tri last year, and so I came into this year with the thought that once the test was over, my next goals would be signing up for a tri and starting to train.  My bike needs a little work before the ‘season’, but my running shoes are good to go.

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The weather is starting to warm and so Tuesday morning, I hit the path for a short 30 minute pre work run.  It was windy, but I was thrilled to be outside running for the first time in…who knows how long!

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Then I was off to work in more green gear for St. Patty’s Day.  I had plans to get in another good cardio workout Thursday morning.  But, I stayed up WAY too late finishing off season 1 of the Blacklist to get up and workout.  Should I be embarrassed to admit that?!  If you watch the show, you would totally understand and not judge me : )  Thursday night was all about March Madness (as was Friday night + some wine).  But, this morning I had a running date with my friend that was totally worth dragging myself out of bed for.

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What better way to celebrate spring?!  We had much to catch up on and a triathlon to plan for!

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Confession: After my run I had a chunk of time before my facial, so I ate a snack in my car and listened to Serial.  I know I’m the last to the Serial party, but I am diving right in.

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At noon, I had the most amazing facial with my favorite esthetician.  My mom was scheduled after me again so the three of us had tea and cookies in between our appointments.

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When I got home, it was family nap time. 

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On a totally different (and random) note, did you see Cooper’s look alike in the Lowes Glow in the Dark Cat Hat TV commercial?

It makes me laugh every time. Is it possible that March Madness has better commercials than the Superbowl?

We have an exciting Saturday night at home planned (most likely with more wine and basketball) and now that we have worked out some of the triathlon details, real training will begin REAL SOON!

 

How is your Saturday going?

Are you watching March Madness?

Why Tri Iron Girl and Race Recap

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Sunday June, 16, 2013

PRE RACE: So I probably stayed up 1 hour too late and had about 1/2 glass of wine too many, but here I am, it’s 5am and I need to be awake.  I lost the BOY to last night’s festivities with my brother and dismissed him from early morning triathlon duty knowing that my parents would meet me at the course.  The race location is about 20 minutes north, and I was impressed with how smoothly transition set up went.

 

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On the way to the race sight, I realized that I forgot my bike gloves.  I was able to catch my parents before they left, and my Mom was happy to lend me a pair.  She arrived just as transition was closing, but they let me run in to add my gloves.

 

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To wet suit or not to wet suit?!  That was the pre race question.  I had multiple opinions from my family, and others were discussing it in transition.  In the end, I decided not to go with the wet suit.  I began to doubt my decision (along with all of my ability to swim) as I walked down towards the beach where participants were ‘warming up’ in the water and starting to line up by waves.

 

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I kept myself busy chatting with my parents and some other racers, and then strolled over to the beach for the race start.  Man, that looks like a LONG 1/3 mile swim, I thought as adrenaline started pumping through my veins.  I think this photo sums it up perfectly!

Here goes nothing…

 

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SWIM (1/3 mile 12:59):  The wave before us takes off and into the water we go.  With nervous energy and 3 minutes to sit and wait, I strike up a convo with the girls around me.  Then remembering a tip from a fellow blogger, I splash some water on my face and dunk my body.  It’s actually much warmer than I expected.  The countdown begins…10…9…8…

 

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Go!  I start swimming and immediately forget all of my pool practice.  Not being able to see through the murky water, I find myself picking up my head often and using the breast stroke right away.  Wait a minute…I can do this!  I can swim!  I start to find my rhythm and then pop my head back up.  Stay calm, I tell myself.  The goal is to swim this efficiently and not waste precious energy by panicking.  1/3 of the way down and I’m rounding the corner hoping not to get run over by the younger girls trailing at my feet.  Rounding the next Buoy and the end is in sight.  With less swimmers near by, I find my swim stroke groove (better late than never) and head towards the beach.  Shoot, I realize, I forgot to start my watch.  OMG!  I didn’t wish my dad a happy father’s day!

 

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TRANSITION 1 (4:02): I emerge from the water and start my watch.  I see my Mom waiting for me and cheering me up the hill.  I continue my run remembering to wish my dad a happy father’s day before entering transition.  Transition???  It’s been a year since I’ve done this…where to start…swim cap and goggles off, feet dry, socks clean, bike shoes on, fix hair, helmet on, sunglasses, check, gloves, thanks mom!  A sip of water and my bike and I are on our way.

 

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BIKE (14 miles 47:47): Oh no…did I just miss the timing pad?!  Who knows, but not much I can do now that I am on my bike and speeding away.  What a gorgeous day for a bike ride!  I hope this isn’t a hilly ride!  I quickly settled into my bike and started shifting gears from muscle memory.  I felt light on my bike and started passing other racers.  I felt energetic throughout the entire bike ride, moving quickly down the little hills and using momentum to power up the inclines.  I chatted and cheered on bikers that I passed, and only got passed by 2-3 other racers.  About 45 minutes into the race, I ate 1/2 a Larabar while reminding myself to drink water throughout the bike (even though I kind of needed to pee).  Swift and steady, I continued riding my ‘biking high’ deciding instead of riding today, I was going to race.  The bike has never been a strength of mine, but I knew that this would be one of my fastest races. I ended up with a 17.6 mph average.  If I bonked on the run, then I bonked on the run, but I was interested to see how far I could push myself.

 

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TRANSITON 2 (1:46): To pee or not to pee?  This was the new question.  Biking gear off and running shoes on.  Plus a tshirt and a race belt.  Then, I was running out the other end of transition past the potties and around the lake.

 

RUN (3.1 miles 23:45):  Today’s goal…8 minute miles for a 24 minute run.  My legs felt heavy, but I was happy to have completed a handful of BRICK workouts during my training.  The run started off sunny, but I found some shade as I rounded the far side of the lake.  Mile 1…under 8 minutes.  Sweet!  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Mile 2…7:51.  Almost done!  I focused on keeping my pace reminding myself that I didn’t need to go any faster or any slower.  I past a few other racers and one shouted out to me ‘When you finish, come back and pick me up,’ which made me smile.  I spotted my mom with a little over a 1/4 mile to go.  She started shouting and cheering me on as I kicked it into a sprint.

 

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I later saw video of this self-described sprint and it really was more like a run : )  My parents said that my bright orange tshirt was easy to spot and they were able to find the best locations on the course to encourage me and document the day with photos and video.  I rounded the last corner and pushed towards the finish line.  My run ended up being the 9th fastest out 39 in my age group.  Woo Hoo!

 

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FINISH 1:30:19

 

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POST RACE: I immediately received my medal, a freezing cold sponge, and took 2 bottles of water.  My parents were waiting to congratulate me on my race!

 

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While I’d been working hard, my Mom had made friends with multiple people including the Athleta sales girl who she was eager to introduce me to.  I was feeling great, not sore at all, and proud of my strong race.  I was happy to walk around the post race expo before finally making it to the bathroom.  I couldn’t stop raving about how well organized this race was and had the opportunity to tell one of the Iron Girl employees how much fun I had (and beg her to come back to Lake Zurich again next year).  Because of the location and awesome venue, this is a race I would do again next year for sure! 

We happened to be standing next to the billboards when they posted the results.  Since I didn’t start my watch on time, I wasn’t sure what my final time was and couldn’t find my name.  I gave up, grabbed some breakfast and more SWAG (including another 2 jars of Biscoff…ha ha!) while chatting with my parents.  The post race expo was so much fun that when we looked at our watches, it was already 10am.  We were able to find my name on the way back to transition.  I was pleased to find out that I finished 64/322 and 13/39 in my age division.  Already, I am contemplating what my next race should be…

 

I was a huge fan of the Iron Girl race series!  If you are looking for your next race, I would definitely check out their website!

 

 

Why Iron Girl?

 

Everything from packet pick up to transition was organized perfectly!

There is a table of hand sanitizer, sunscreen, chapstick, and other necessary beauty products by the port-a-potties.

This is your post race breakfast…

 

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It never felt crowded (even in transition!)

The staff was really friendly.

The race course was filled with inspirational messages.

 

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The next day they mailed me a colorful certificate

A really cute, actually gonna wear, race tshirt + more SWAG

 

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Who doesn’t love an event dedicated to girl power?

 

 

 

Have you ever done an Iron Girl event?

What was the best race you’ve ever done?

Why I Love Triathlons!

If someone had asked college Jen to do a triathlon, she probably would have laughed in your face or called you ridiculous…most likely both.  Although I have always been a runner, I hadn’t owned a bike since elementary school and my swimming skills consisted of sitting on a float at the indoor lazy river on Sundays with my hungover friends. TRUE STORY!

 

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If you read my running history, then you have some idea of how college Jen grew into a half marathoner and eventually a triathlete over the last 10 years.  I’ve completed 4 sprints and 1 Olympic distance triathlon since falling in love the sport in 2010.  Truth be told, my initial motivation was…well, if my younger brother can do, so can I.  And last year, I beat him in a race (sorry kid!). 

 

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The idea for this post came to me during Monday’s BRICK workout.  With my first triathlon of the season rapidly approaching (less than 4 weeks away…yikes!), I was excited to get back into my training schedule.  As I was riding, I started thinking about what makes a BRICK workout so exciting and why it is I keep sign up for these demanding races. 

So without further ado…

 

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Triathlons

 

1. They make me feel strong and capable

If you can swim, bike, then run with a smile on your face, then can’t you take on anything?

 

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2. I remember to treat my body well

This means eating right to fuel long workouts, getting plenty of rest, and dealing with stress.

 

3. They challenge me both physically and mentally

Anyone who runs knows that it is as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. Rising to that challenge is an indescribable feeling!

 

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4. Triathletes are a warm and welcoming crowd

I love meeting other athletes, especially during local races.  Before my first triathlon, I went swimming in Lake Michigan to face my fear of open water.  After 15 minutes of wrestling into my wet suit, I was beyond intimidated before even sticking a toe in the water.  The nicest man (and fellow triathlete) talked me through it, gave me tips, and gently encouraged me.  That was the day that I learned that finishing just one race makes you part of a supportive community.

 

5. Training makes for good dinner party conversation

People are amazed to discover my triathlon hobby.  I think because they don’t realize that anyone can complete a sprint triathlon, you just have to train.  Before I knew anything about tri’s, I was always interested in what motivated someone to try this race and what the training looked like.  There’s always a lot to talk about in regards to equipment, workouts, and chaffing stories.

 

6. They give my weekends direction

I am motivated to get up and at ‘em Saturday morning when I know that I have a scheduled workout to do.  They get my day started and the weekend started right! (See Number 1)

 

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7. Cross training prevents injuries and boredom

Each day is a different combination of running, cycling, and swimming.  For me, this prevents burn out because if I don’t want to swim, I can grab my bike and head outdoors and if I’m not in the mood to run, I know where to find the pool.  Cross training (along with yoga) keeps my muscles balanced and prevents overuse injuries.

 

8. It’s a healthy hobby that gets me outdoors

I’ve never been very crafty and don’t collect coins or stamps.  It’s good to have something non work related that interests and challenges you.  It’s even better if it supports a healthy lifestyle!

 

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9.  I learn something new each time

I am a total rookie at the sport and love soaking in the knowledge of experienced triathletes and learning tips and strategies along the way.  In every race, I face a new fear (hi, open water!), overcome an obstacle, and push myself farther.  Although I still haven’t learned to braid my own hair : )

 

10. My entire family gets involved

My brother and mom have both done tri’s and my dad is the best photographer out there.  The BOY is the first one to put my bike on the car in the morning and has the strength to take it off after the race when I am heading straight for the shower.  There’s always someone to celebrate with me after a nap.  This upcoming triathlon will be really fun when the BOY and I host our families for a Father’s Day BBQ after the race.

 

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Have you ever done a triathlon?

Do you want to?

What do you love about your hobbies?