Welcome to Part 2. Part 1 is here. This is where it gets crazy. Keep in mind I did SIX races in THREE months, the last THREE in a span of 11 days.
Race #6 – Sweet and Twisted Tri
August 21 – Spicewood, TX – 500m swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run – 1:51:36
After the gladiator games PR, my heel felt worse than ever – so I rested it a bit, got new shoes, and things took a turn for the better. I built my way from being kind of exhausted just biking 12 miles OR swimming 500 meters to being able to do the full distance (and more) by this time. I picked this race because it seemed like a good race for a newbie and it was. I was literally shaking I was so nervous at the start of this race but the small starting waves made me feel pretty comfortable swimming. Everyone encouraged me on my heavy ass schwinn getting up the hills (as they passed). They handed out cold towels halfway through the run, and mimosas after. It was a great experience – I’m not sure I’ll be doing this race again next year, but it’s only because Zliten and I are going to do a tri together – and this one is girls only.
Race #7 – Casa Superhero 5k
September 21 – Austin, TX – 5k run – 27:51
This was a race that was sponsored by work – which is the only reason I decided to do it. A free 5k? Of course I’m there. However, at this point of my training, I was in no condition to PR. Or even get close. In fact, I had thought I was going to just jog it with some of the people at work, especially because I had done a particularly hard workout the day before, but when I heard the race starting, I went for it. I came in with my worst 5k time ever, but hey, I ran in costume! And work donated money for kids! One of our coworkers came in top 10 overall, one I didn’t even know ran beat me (but just barely), and Zliten ran with someone who was doing their first race and they came in around 40 minutes. I’d consider doing this again next year – it was 3 miles from the house!
Race #8 – TX Tri
October 3 – Canyon Lake, TX – 1500m swim, 26.2 mile ride, 5.9 mile run – 4:04:36
Well, this was the one for all the marbles. Since I decided to ditch my marathon goal for the year, I wanted to find something worthy of taking that place. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was super proud of completing my first sprint tri, but it didn’t feel like that big of a challenge. I had more in me. So I endured the crazy long workouts (biking 25 miles and running 10k? that’s just what I do before I get on a plane on Saturday, heh) and got to the starting line of this feeling fairly confident (at least, once they lifted the 10:30 am curfew for being off the bike course). I rocked the swim (just that week I finally figured out freestyle). I struggled through the hellish bike hills, even had to get off and walk a few times (I wasn’t the only one), redeemed myself on the run (minus a few walk breaks – the bike just about killed me) but completed the HARD course only 4 minutes slower than my goal. And, being that there was only 3 athenas registered… I got a sweet 3rd place medal! I may not do this one again, but I think there will definitely be another olympic tri in my future next year. After a LOT more bike training.
November 14 – San Antonio, TX – 13.1 mile run – 2:08:08
After wanting revenge on the half I completed 10 months (to the day) before this, I decided I would try again in the fall. I figured, even though I had 6 weeks in between the tri and the half, I would have enough endurance that I wouldn’t need a full 12 weeks. However, I totally forgot that I would be totally wasted the week after the tri and need 2 weeks to taper, so I was left with 3 weeks to train. Also, I was just BEAT mentally and really regretted signing up. I just wanted to rest. I powered through, and finally by the last week, I made the transition from just endurance slogging through miles to endurance with some “get up and go”. I’m really glad I did it because it was a great experience, and a significant PR. I ran strong the first 10 miles, and though I slowed the last 5k, it seems reasonable to learn how to train myself through that (rather than the last two, where I fell apart the last HALF of the race). I would consider doing this race again. It wasn’t the prettiest course, but it was fast, fairly flat, full of supporters and aide, and face it, San Antonio is close.
Race #10 – Warrior Dash (2)
November 20 – Cedar Creek, TX – 3.2 mile adventure/mud run – 45:51
The warrior dash was so popular outside Dallas, they decided to have one near Austin. We had so much fun at the first one, we decided to do this one as well. It was 6 days after my half so I had no expectations. Zliten and I were in various throes of sickness (he getting over it, me just getting it), so we took it super slow. We walked whenever we felt like, ran when we could, took it easy over the obstacles, and just enjoyed the race. Just like before, after we got our medals, we got some beer and cheered people on at the finish line. Grand fun. Zliten said we will for sure be doing one of these next year, and believe me, not complaining!
Race #11 – Thundercloud Turkey Trot
November 25 – Austin, TX – 4.54 mile run – 42:55
I was full on sick from the time I woke up Sunday after the WD until I woke up this Thursday morning, but thankfully my nose had unstuffed, my throat was blessedly no longer sore, and had no chest component to this cold, so I felt GREAT. It was like 75 and humid that morning, so I didn’t have to worry about catching a chill. However – I definitely felt that my lungs were the limiting factor, not my legs like normal. I ran mile 1 and 2 hard, but had to slow down in the middle to what felt like about 10 min/miles (I let Zliten have custody of zee Garmin for that race). I was STOKED when I crossed the finish with what looked like a HUGE PR, but then later I found out the race course was short. Like almost half a mile short. The police had directed us the wrong way! I ran a respectable time for my third race in 11 days and getting over a cold with 9:27 min/mile pace, but I was really hoping to come in under 9 minute miles. Oh well. Next year. Zliten thinks that we’ll make this one a tradition. He finished this as his longest race ever with a time of 53:57! Woohoo!
It was a heck of a year. Right about the time I finished the first race in February, I got my (unofficial, then official a few months later) promotion. I worked more, and work took a lot more out of me mentally and physically, so it was definitely more of a challenge to put what I did into training this year, but I don’t regret a minute of it. I got faster, and also got much more comfortable with distance running/endurance events. I tried a lot of new things (adventure races, duathlon, triathlons) that maybe I wasn’t immediately amazing at (read: sucked at), but I had a hell of a lot of fun training for and completing. I feel much more comfortable identifying myself as a runner, an athlete, and not want to giggle or say just kidding or sorta after. Athletes do 11 races in a year. Athletes do 2 triathlons and a half marathon in 3 months. Just because I don’t have 10% body fat or run 6 minute miles doesn’t mean anything!
And now I sit in the afterglow. I’m already exploring my options for things to do next year. I want to do a 15k or 10 miler since I’ve never raced that distance. I definitely want to do a sprint tri (with Zliten!!!) and an olympic tri. I want to do a destination race (Hawaii? San Diego? Seattle?) somewhere. I want to find a great, fast, flat 5k and 10k I can open up and burn rubber. Exploring what sort of bike races are out there. Maybe even my epic feat next year is that back to back half marathon Saturday/camp overnight/duathalon Sunday.
In the short term though? December is for rest and recovery. Sane workouts. Lots of short, HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio sessions. The return of yoga. Showing Zliten the ropes of (and getting back into) strength training and weights. No serious race training until spring. Getting outside to run and bike on nice days because it sounds like fun.
This week started the next chapter of my adventure, which I will discuss at length, to your dismay I’m sure, in my next post. Stay tuned.