Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Training is ramped up almost to the max and yet I've really been loving the entire process. It's so exciting that almost every week I'm hitting new milestones, and that even when I've read my schedule for the week and thought, "there's no way I can do all of that" it's gotten done.  This month also marked my first century ride and my first 200 mile week (6 in the pool, 159 on the bike, and 35 run).  I've had a little knee pain here and there, and some occasional muscle soreness, but overall I've held up pretty well throughout the summer training and really have no complaints.  Honestly, any negatives pale in comparison to the enjoyment I've gotten out of this experience and the progress I can see myself making each week.

August totals:
Swim: 21.7 miles
Bike: 572 miles (average speed 18.6 mph)
Run: 136 miles (average pace 8:12)

Total time: 69:08:06

Total miles: 730
Total calories: 37,731

The month started with the UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon.  I've done this race twice before, and despite it being my first triathlon since September 2013, I felt confident that I could break my old PR.  The goal was to swim comfortably (it's only 5 laps in a pool, so the time gain based on a higher level of exertion is minimal), go pretty much as hard as possible on the bike (9 miles with several speed bumps, turns, and hills), and then just survive the 5k run.

Set a new PR for 20 minute Max Avg Power (206W)

Thankfully things went exactly according to plan, and though I would have liked to finish the run a little stronger, I took about 3 minutes off my previous PR and finished 3rd overall.  While I've won my age group before, this was my first overall podium in a triathlon, so I was pretty happy with the result.

Swim: 5:09 
Transition 1: 0:51
Bike: 27:28 (2nd fastest female bike split)
Transition 2: 0:51
Run: 20:56 (3rd fastest female run split)
Total: 55:14, 3rd Female overall

A few other highlights from August training... 

Open Water Swim Practice at Jordan Lake
I had to start early to get in my Wednesday bricks
(on this day it was a 22 mile ride + 9 mile run) before work,
but sunrises like this made it easier to get out at the crack of dawn
Sweat Angel
No one ever said training in southern summer humidity would be pleasant

On August 21 I headed north to visit my family in upstate NY.  My travel plans mandated a rest day, and I realized it was my first since July 13.  Thankfully I have a wonderful family to keep me occupied ;) 

Of course I checked the race calendar when planning my trip, and found the Tour de Force Half Marathon/10k/5k about 20 minutes from my hometown.  It was a flat, out-and-back course near the lake, and I knew I'd have a long run that weekend anyway.  Because they also had shorter races, I was able to talk several of my relatives into joining me, so it worked out splendidly.  Coach said to run 1:33, which I thought would be challenging but doable.  Shortly after the start, I started talking with a young military guy who was stationed nearby.  We ran together and chatted for the first 4 miles before he started to slow down and I went off ahead.

Miles 1-4: 6:58-6:58-7:20-7:17

Once I was on my own, I just took in the lake views, cheered on the leaders (including Paul who was in 3rd place), and focused on making it to the halfway point.  At the turn I knew I was the first female, so I kept an eye out for the women behind me.  By my estimate, I had about 2 minutes on the 2nd place female, and my immediate goals became (1) stretching that gap and (2) catching the one guy I could see up ahead of me. 

Miles 5-11: 7:12-7:12-7:04-7:00-7:14-7:10-7:11

Mile 12 is the only incline (+56 feet, so it doesn't qualify as a hill but it didn't feel flat) other than in the first half mile or so (which I hadn't even noticed thanks to race start adrenaline and fresh legs), and I started to slow a bit.  There was no one around, I was right on my pace target, and I was struggling to find motivation.

Mile 12: 7:22

Just as I was contemplating using the last mile as a cool down jog, I saw Chris running toward me on his post-10K cool down.  It was definitely the boost I needed, especially since he's a high school XC coach and consequently a master motivator ("You can catch that guy!" "Once you make that turn there's only 1K to go!" "After that building it's all downhill!").  The only runner in sight when Chris joined me had seemed pretty far ahead, but I was able to catch and pass him fairly quickly once the fire was lit.  Then with about half a mile to go, I could see another guy ahead and Chris told me he'd been struggling.  With my family waiting near the finish line and the end in sight, I decided to follow Chris' advice and "go get him!"  I made a move and went by in what I thought was a pretty solid move, but unfortunately he found another gear (perhaps driven to avoid being "chicked" or losing his spot in the top 5 overall) and re-passed me right before the finish line. 

Mile 13: 6:31

I was a little disappointed that I couldn't hold him off, but my mile 13 was the fastest last mile I've ever run in a race (even a 5k) and the last 0.1 was run at 6:12 pace, so I am satisfied that I gave it my best effort.  I ended up as the 1st female and 6th overall in 1:33:10.  That's actually my 3rd fastest half marathon ever, but with the exception of the mile 12 lull, it really didn't feel that difficult and I am kind of amazed by that.  It's a great feeling to see all of the hours of training I've put in this year paying off. 

Adam and Dad running the 5K
Sarah, Heather, Dad, me, Adam, Chris, and Paul
What a great way to spend a morning with family!

On to September...!

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