Author: Stacey

I'm an age-group triathlete and runner based in Northern Virginia.

Race Recap: Maine 70.3

On August 29th finished my first half Ironman, Maine 70.3. It was truly an experience I’ll remember forever.

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Since it’s taken me almost three months to write this, let’s get right into it!

I started the race with two very specific goals:
Goal #1—finish between 7-7:30
Goal #2—make all the cutoffs-(most worried about the swim)

Swim
I’ll just say it: 58 degree water is fucking cold, thank goodness for wetsuits and earplugs. The swim start was to be a rolling start and you were supposed to line up based on pace, faster in the front, slower in the back, letting 2-3 swimmers go in the water every few seconds. I don’t think it worked out the way the race directors expected it to because it seemed like everyone just lined up on a first come first serve basis.
I planned to start in the back and ended up waiting 20+ minutes to get into the water. To be fair, I didn’t know what to expect since I had never done a triathlon of this size, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Then, with about a quarter of the field to go they just started letting everyone run into the water at the same time which made for a pretty rough start at least to the first turn buoy then the crowd thinned out.  I had three swim goals: 1. make it out before the cutoff and 2. don’t hang onto any buoys or kayaks unless I 100% knew I had to. 3. Don’t swim too far off course. Check, check and kind of check (I swam an extra 300 yards per my Garmin).  I made it out of the water, feeling alive and ready for what’s next, I knew I was going to become a half Ironman that day.

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all smiles after the swim

T1
The great thing about a super long walk/run to from the swim finish to transition is that it gives you time to reorient yourself, get your legs moving and in my case warm up after a 58 degree swim! Because I wasn’t rushing, I was able to go through my T1 actions in my head before getting there, meaning I wasn’t a nervous mess trying to get ready for the bike portion of the race. Once I got to my transition area, I rinsed my mouth out with water, rinsed off/dried my face and feet, put on my bike gear and off I went…

Bike
I’ll be honest, the first 22 miles of the bike went by so slow for me. In hindsight, I know I was looking at my Garmin a bit too much and worrying about not being able to warm up, as the air temperature was much cooler than I had expected it to be. I was also decided to be a bit conservative with effort as I still had a half marathon to run after 56 miles on the bike. Feeling good about midway through, I gradually picked up the pace and started catching people who finished the swim before me at the same time the roads got a bit rough. There were SO MANY athletes riding way to the center of the road, making it unsafe to pass on the left, so I did it: I did an illegal pass on the right (but not before making sure there was no one behind me). Asshole move on my part? Of course and I totally deserve time in the penalty tent but at the same time, so do all the other riders who were blocking people trying to pass. I get it, I really do, the road to the right was bumpy, so the blocking was likely totally unintentional. I wasn’t going to risk going to the left of someone into oncoming traffic to pass. That was my only problem with the bike portion, otherwise it was lovely. I finished over 20 minutes faster than my goal bike split time. At that point, knew I was going to hit my overall goal time.

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T2
T2 was uneventful. I hopped off my bike, put on my Hokas, bib and hat and hit up the porta pot to pee. OMG I had actually hydrated well on the bike! I never have to pee during a race, but then again, I had never raced this distance.

Run
Admittedly, I should have read the course description a little better–most of the run was on a dirt/gravel multipurpose path and I trained on all pavement. My feet and calves were working harder than they were used to but it wasn’t too bad.
I ran the first six miles at a slower than normal pace before I started to walk-run. Doing a walk-run at some point was always part of the plan, it was just a matter of when.  I was also STARVING by mile three, so I had pretzels…then I was super thirsty. This went on..and on…and on at each aid station. The run course was relatively flat with the exception of a couple of hills toward the end. Halfway through the run, I knew I was going to BEAT my goal time, but by how much? I kept up the walk-run thing until the last mile then ran the rest of the way in across the finish line.

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That finish line. Turning onto 1st street and hearing the sounds of the finish line, I knew I was there. I had done it. I tried to hold back the tears but they just streamed down my face as soon as I saw that red carpet and Tyler.

I crossed the finish line in 6:48:40, with my signature “looking at/stopping my Garmin” pose.

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Now that I got my “just finish” 70.3 done, it’s time to get back to work and improve…. because the next one will be here before I know it!

HUGE thank you to my husband, Tyler, for putting up with my crazies during training and the days leading up to race day and being the best sherpa on race day. Thank you to Jill, my Oiselle teammate, who found me on the run–you calmed my nerves more than you know–also, way to go out there, rockstar! And finally, thank you to my 2017 Coeur teammates-it was nice to meet up with you ladies in Maine.

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Fall Running Favorites

While this post may be a bit late for those of you to the north, it’s finally starting to feel like fall here in Virginia so I’m sharing a few of my favorites for fall running.

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#fromwhereirun

Oiselle Mile One Pullover

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This thing is amazing. I slip it on over a tank during cooler morning runs. It’s super-light, the blue color is beautiful and absorbs all the sweat. I’m not a big arm sleeves fan, so this is the perfect way to keep the chill off my arms. If I get too warm, I just take it off and either carry it or tuck it into my shorts or tights.

Wattie Ink Tights

These babies don’t budge-at all. I pre-ordered the Rachel McBride Super Kitty print back in the summer and now that it’s cool enough to wear them I’m in love. They have so many other prints to love too (including the Ice Cat-a sweet lime green and white leopard print).

Oiselle Lightening Layer

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Less daylight calls for some stylish visibility.  The Lightening Layer is essentially a tank top with super reflective details, a zipper pocket and a drawcord on the bottom to tighten or loosen depending on your preferences. I’ve never liked a piece of reflective gear better than this–it’s soft enough to just wear as a loose tank top just over a sports bra in warm weather and to layer over thicker gear during those cold runs. Oh, and PS….it’s on sale right now at Oiselle! 

Have a great weekend!

 

Back At It

After Maine I took eight weeks off from any sort of swim-bike-run training. Physically, I felt fine. Mentally, not so much. I was in a tough place, right between needing a break from any sort of structure but felt a bit lost not really knowing what to do but wanting to do something. Thank goodness for daily yoga because it helped fill a part of that training void. Toward the end of this break I was really itching to get back to a structured plan but had no idea where to begin since I had nothing to train for.

Enter: Coach Robbie!

I first “met” Robbie when I started listening to the Crushing Iron podcast early last year. Week after week, every Monday and Thursday, I listened to some of the best (and most entertaining, IMO) triathlon advice out there. Eventually decided I wanted to be coached by him for my 2018 season not only for his knowledge/love of the sport but also because he believes in balance of life and sport.

Fast forward to last week: I had my initial coaching call, got my training plan for the next two weeks and feel that all is right in my little triathlon world.

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some run love yesterday.

I officially started training this week and one thing I’ll say is that I never want to take that much time off again. It feels good to be back at it, but I’ve definitely lost some fitness. Instead of just giving up and half-assing it (and eating all the holiday cookies) until January, I’m actually wanting to put in the work now so come January/February I’ll be fitter and ready to put in the reeeeally hard work.

And with that, here’s to a strong off/pre-season!

 

 

Friday Thoughts

So, where did I leave off? Ah yes, not training for the Richmond 8K and writing my half Ironman recap (still working on it, btw)….and I’m still not training for the Richmond 8K.  Currently, my favorite thing is cycling. I can’t get enough of it.

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To catch up a bit, I’m posting some random thoughts this morning.

Thought #1
To do or not to do the Richmond 8K?

I don’t have to make the decision right away, but I’m definitely leaning toward the side of not doing it. Will I have Oiselle team meetup FOMO? Of course, but I sometimes you gotta look at the big picture versus one piece of the puzzle. I compiled a brief list of pros and cons to help me decide.

Pros?
1. Meeting up with so many Oiselle teammates.
2. I love the city of Richmond.

Cons?
1. I’m driving down the morning of the race and driving back after a long day of cowbelling so I can be back to work on Sunday. (~5-ish hours of driving)
2. My husband is going to be home. For those of you who don’t know he lives/works in California and comes home about every six weeks or so for a long weekend. So doing the race festivities would limit how much time I get to spend with him. He says it’s okay, but it just doesn’t seem right to only get to spend so little time with him.
3. I haven’t been training. Don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of run fitness from training all summer and I’m confident I can run five miles but it won’t be my best performance and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to do a race to just do it, I wan to race

Thought #2:

One thing I have continued and have been meaning to talk about is my #hitreset365 daily yoga practice. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my lack of posts since early September, and here’s why:

I didn’t take a picture after doing a 5-minute reset one day and felt different. Like, good different, but couldn’t put a finger on exactly what it was. So I decided to go a week without taking a post-yoga Insta-photo to figure out exactly what that feeling was. It hit me on day four or five, I think: the setting up a photo after the practice completely takes away from what I just did! Trust me, the “if you didn’t take a photo and post it on Instagram it didn’t happen” thought crossed my mind, but based on the mental clarity and really getting feeling like I actually “hit reset” made me not give a f*ck about the daily posting.

Thought #3

All of the sudden it’s cold outside and I’m not ready for it! Don’t get me wrong, this time of year is gorgeous and is perfect for doing all things outside but I really miss the heat and humidity. It certainly made it easier to get out of bed early and get my workouts in before the sunrise. But of course, with all things we adapt to change and I’m sure in a couple of weeks I’ll be in love with the cooler weather and faster paces 😉

Thought #4

After taking several weeks off post-Maine, I’m super-pumped to start training again. I had a call with my coach to discuss the upcoming season and have some really good feelings about 2018 when it comes to triathlon. More on this in greater detail another time, because this should probably have its own post.

Thought #5

I missed blogging and want to make time to fit it into my week. One thing I’ve learned this year is that I’m pretty horrible at weekly recaps, so you won’t see anymore weekly workout recaps here. Why? I think they are boring and it’s more fun posting my workouts on Instagram rather than doing a long post about how the week went. I’m brainstorming some new post topics for the coming months, stay tuned!

Have a great weekend!

 

 

RVA 8K: The Not Training Edition

Well…I may have jumped the gun on my fall race goals.

Confession: I may have–may have–done a bit too much, too soon during week one.  No, I’m not injured, I just think I’m not mentally ready to start structured training again. Maybe soon, maybe not but for now I feel like just running, not training.

During week one, I ran five times. I’m definitely not a five-day-a-week runner–this has only resulted in injury and burnout. Usually four days of running is my max (as my current plan prescribes) and three days seems to be optimal especially if I am swimming or cycling aka triathlon training.

All of this resulted in ALL THE REST DAYS. Yikes. But I had made a rule to listen to my body this year and the body wanted rest, so rest is what I gave it.

I took a weekend trip out to southern Utah to hike at Zion National Park with my husband it was the best. No training, no Garmin, just walking in the wilderness amongst some huge red rocks. More on that later this week.

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This is what happy looks like.

Here’s a look at my week–aka ALL THE RECOVERY.

Monday rest/Jasyoga-full body reset
Tuesday rest/Jasyoga-recovery meditation
Wednesday rest/Jasyoga-recovery boost for runners
Thursday 30 minutes of running-no Garmin, slowish/heavy legs pace-maybe 3-ish miles?/Pre-run warm up w/ Alysia Montaño (Jasyoga)
Friday Hip reset w/ Alysia Montaño (Jasyoga)
Saturday hiking at Zion National Park, roughly 10 miles. Legs up the wall.
Sunday hiking at Zion National Park, roughly 5 miles. Legs up the wall.

Gear of the week: Darn Tough Good Witch Crew socks. I wore them on both Saturday and Sunday’s hikes, they didn’t (and still don’t) stink and my feet are blister free.

So, you may (or may not be) be wondering-what’s my plan? I’m still running the Richmond 8K, but I’m not going to follow any sort of training plan. I was a bit ambitious with my race goal of a PR, but who knows it can happen, just won’t be expecting it.

How did your training go last week?
How did you know when to start jumping back into training after a big goal race?

 

 

Richmond 8K Training: Week 1

For some reason, the first week of training for anything is always so exciting. You get to set new goals and have a fresh start. Pair that with feeling with fall weather and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for some serious run love.

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feeling that #runlove

Ah, run love. It went missing sometime during RnR DC half training. I don’t know, I just got so bored during training. Note to self, if I do a stand alone half marathon again find some friends to run with! Luckily, run love was found again during half Ironman training (thank you swimming and cycling aka boredom destroyers) and never really lost it again. The original plan was to take two full weeks off after Maine but after a full week I was itching to run. I made it to 10 days of rest (except doing yoga and a lot of dog walking) before deciding it was time to lace up my Hokas and hit the pavement again.

My first run back was 20 minutes long, more of a “just get the legs moving again” than anything else. I wore my Garmin but kept my long sleeve covering it (yes! I ran in long sleeves!! YAY for FALL), so really I just ran by feel and had I known my pace was below 9 minute miles I would have definitely slowed down. It was nice to feel my running legs again, not my bike followed by run legs.

Most of my runs were at more of a controlled pace. I didn’t want to do too much/go out too hard too fast so I just kept it between a 9-10 minute/mile pace.

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quiet morning on the W&OD

I did my first speed workout in months. It was intervals of 2 minutes hard, 4 minutes easy and it was definitely challenging. I kind of forgot what it felt like to do something besides a “steady pace” so this run was a reminder that I have a long road ahead of me to get some speed back., but I’m ready to work.

I plan to add in one day of cycling because 1. why not? and 2. it’s great cross-training for runners and for me, it’ prevents boredom. It’s just an easy ride on my gravel bike or mountain bike and I’m only going out for a set amount of time (not done this week due to heavy rain). I kept up with my #hitreset365 challenge and added in two days of running specific strength training  and finally core work every other day.

Here’s a quick rundown of the week:
Monday 30 min easy (3.39)
Tuesday 50 min easy (5.34)
Wednesday scheduled bike ride–not done due to weather
Thursday 51 min speedwork, 5 min warm up walk, 10 min slow run followed by 2 min hard, 4 min easy intervals (5.41)
Friday 51:16 (5.25) Humidity returned, it was a tough run.
Saturday 27:12 (3.14) Ran with some fast women around Capitol Hill before my Coeur event at Summit to Soul. I have a feeling this was their easy pace, but it was a great feeling to be able to keep up!
Sunday rest

Gear of the week: Oiselle Rogas. After a summer of wearing spandex all the time, it was nice to regularly run in some looser fitting shorts.

First post 70.3 run mileage (two runs): 5.68
First full week mileage: 22.5
Total Richmond 8K training mileage: 28.18

What are you currently training for? Who is running the Richmond Marathon/Half/8k?

What’s Next? My Fall Running Plan

It’s been a little less than weeks since I crossed the finish line of my first 70.3, so what’s next?

Running season! 

Tomorrow marks the start of Richmond 8K training with a 20 minute “get my legs moving again” run around my neighborhood. I plan to go by feel, of course the Garmin will be on (for shoe mileage tracking) but turned around so I can’t see the time or pace.

I’m excited to go back to Richmond to run, I did the half there in 2012 and it’s a beautiful course with the best crowd support. This year it’s a Oiselle meet-up race, meaning there are going to be so many teammates in town racing and spectating. It’ll be a long day as I’m driving down the morning of the race and driving back after spectating the half and marathon, but so worth it to race (and cowbell corner!!) with some amazing women.

Goals for the race? Of course! An 8K PR (sub-43:14) will be the top goal, but I want to get a bit more into training before setting specific time goals. I also want to get some speed back after a summer of longer distance running and of course, as always, remain uninjured. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot more Jasyoga running-specific resets which will be a nice change from mostly cycling resets.

In case you’re curious, this time around I’m using the Jenny Hadfield Free Intermediate 8K training plan, found here. I like this plan because it goes by timed workouts versus run XX miles and that seems to suite me much better.

Just a reminder, if you are in the DMV area and are interested in triathlon I’m hosting a Coeur Sports x Summit To Soul Triathlon 101 Clinic on September 16th. Details below!

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What races are on your fall calendar?