Monday, April 28, 2014

Country Music Half Marathon & Lots of Veggies

Some days call for the real stuff...

Saturday was the Country Music Half Marathon, and I ran it as a pacer. I had to carry that sign you see in the picture above for the time on it, with the goal of crossing the finish line at that time. Although carrying the sign was part of the job, the main part was motivating and pacing anyone with me (or seeing me) to finish in their goal time. I had really been looking forward to this for the last couple months. I'd been training for this time and, if I succeeded, not only would I be able to help other achieve their goals, I'd achieve mine also. My half marathon PR before Saturday was (officially) 1:49:19 (Tom King Half, March 14, 2009) or (unofficially) 1:48:30 (training run, September 25, 2010). Any my most recent Half Marathon race was

All the Nashville Striders pacers

My goal for Saturday's race was, obviously, 1:45:00. That breaks out to 8-minute miles, so that's what I trained for. It would also be a 3.5-minute PR, so that's what I was aiming for. I ran two training runs on the course over the last couple weeks, and I studied the couple miles I didn't run so that I would feel comfortable with the turns, hills, etc. In addition, I (unknowingly) trained with a crowd: The first time I ran the first 9 miles, I started downtown while all the fans for the NCAA Women's final-four or final game were downtown. Talk about crowds! Then I missed a turn and didn't quite get miles 9-10 quite right.

It's obvious who took this photo, right?

The second time I ran the first 10.5 miles, I started downtown while a Bruce Springsteen concert was happening and the pre-show fans were all around. The crowds weren't as bad, but people just were not paying attention and all over the sidewalks. On the plus side, I got all of those miles correct.

Neither run was at race pace, but I was still pretty confident I could perform when it mattered. For Saturday, I kept 9 of the first 10 miles just at or just below 8-minute miles. I wanted to leave time for slowing at aid stations, and I wanted to finish on time. That odd mile out (Mile 7, 8:19), was completely uphill and I purposely slowed there as well. The other miles were anywhere between 7:30 and 8:04). Miles 11 and 12 where a whole other story. My pace faded quite a bit, and I knew that I was falling off the pace given the location of the mile markers. Those miles were 8:47 and 8:52. At this point, I had a few people asking me whether I was still on pace (because I was holding a sign that said 1:45). I said I was close but a little slow. But, there was another 1:45 pacer who was about a minute up the road; to everyone who asked me whether I was on pace, I recommended that they not let me hold them back, noting the other pacer up the road and encouraging them to catch (or at least work to catch) her.

I was using my Garmin to pace (plus I had a bracelet telling me what all the mile splits should be), and according to my Garmin, I hit 13.1 at 1:45:02...however, the course according to my Garmin was 13.35 miles -- a quarter mile long. When I crossed the line at 1:47:02, I knew I hadn't reached my goal but was still thrilled. My overall pace according to my Garmin was 8:01 minutes per mile. I stood in the finish area for a few minutes looking for faces of people who had been around me during the race or with me before, but I didn't see many. That encouraged me, and I figured they'd finished just before me and at their goal time.


A few people came up to me afterward asking about my pace and finish time and saying thank you, so evidently more people were with me (or using me) than I'd noticed. In fact, one guy (Drew) had been running right next to me for nearly 10K and I didn't notice that until I tried to move to the opposite side of the road and moved right in to him. We exchanged words a few times, but I was so focused on maintaining the pace that I couldn't really have a real conversation.

If I had to do it again (or volunteered; I'd do it again), I'd either pace a 2-hour crew or I'd know I could run a 1:30 and still pace the 1:45 crew. The only thing I felt was lacking was my ability to compensate for the long course. I was able to pace the pace I'd trained at, but I wasn't able to run (or maintain) a pace slightly faster.

Overall, though, it was a blast. Post-race, I changed, iced my shoulder (turns out holding a sign is hard work!), and sat around with the other pacers for a while, chatting and listening to the live music and then race-winner announcements. Then it was home to put my feet up!

Official results are here (hopefully they stay at this link, but I never know).
Half Marathon: 1:47:02 (10K: 48:59; 10mi: 1:19:24; pace: 8:10/mile)
Age Group: 70/2,124; Gender: 313/12,509; Overall: 1,099/19,149

And of course, a grocery trip this weekend. Because
everyone needs to eat!
There are a lot of veggies (fresh and frozen) on sale this week. I took advantage of the sales paired with Qs today and will probably go back once more before this sale cycle ends.

Publix Trip (4-27)

Item (Quantity)  
Regular Price 
Sale Price  
Final Price  
Eat Smart
veggies (2)
GG Steamers
veggies (10)
5 x $2/2 MQs$2.95
Almond milk (2)3.00
2 x $1/1 PQs$3.00
Bananas (1.89 lb)0.59/lb
Snapea Crisps2.09----$2.09
Stouffers Family
Meals (2)
2 x $1/1 MQs$7.98
Publix shredded
cheese (2)
Publix turkey
3.99--$0.50/1 CQ$3.49
Sargento cheese
slices (2)
$0.60/2 MQ$4.40
Old Wisc. snack
Totals: 24 items$76.43$53.13$12.60 in MQs
$2.00 in PQs
$0.50 in CQ
+3.82 tax
$41.85 total
(saved 34.58,
or 45%)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Team Camp - Sewanee and Chattanooga

Fun times atop Signal Mountain
Last weekend Team Belladium headed south east to Chattanooga for a long weekend of riding.

Team picture! Amanda, Cali, Alicia, Parri, me, Shelly, Kim
Shannon, Catherine, Katherine, Emily, Valerie, and Anna
Friday we stopped in Sewanee to climb Monteagle and ride for a little while. Then we at dinner in Chatty at The Terminal and stayed for the weekend at The Crash Pad. We pretty much took over the kitchen and entire lower level, but it worked out perfectly for us. Friday's ride on Strava is here. The Monteagle climb is about 3.6 miles.

Friday afternoon in Sewanee before the ride

Sometime Saturday...

Saturday morning after a good breakfast (though not enough!), we headed out again, this time to climb Suck Creek Mountain and Signal Mountain. The morning ride on Strava ride is here. The Suck Creek climb is about 5.5 miles, and the Signal Mountain climb is about 6 miles.

Saturday afternoon before the ride
After our 60-mile morning ride, we chilled for a while, ate a lot of food, and then headed back out to play. The afternoon ride was much easier...the roads were all pretty flat and we weren't pushing ourselves very hard, but we did some teamwork drills and sprinted for the state line sign. I got it on the way out and completely forgot out it on the way it (so Todd got it). Stats from the ride on Strava are here.

Climbing Suck Creek Mountain...I was the first
to reach Todd (because I had a 5-min head start!)
Saturday night was pizza dinner and chilling outside during the AMAZING night. Perfect temps, perfect company, great food, all around good!

Enjoying the beautiful night on Saturday
Kim, Kat, Cath, and me
Sunday morning we got up and rode over to Lookout Mountain, climbing up via Scenic Highway. I'd ridden down that way a few times, but I don't think I'd ridden up that way. It was easier than the Ochs Highway climb, but it was in no way easy. Stats from the ride on Strava are here. The climb is about 2.9 miles.
Climbing again...seems like all we did all weekend!

Alicia and I were feeling like triathletes

Riding on Lookout Mountain on Sunday
Heading up Lookout Mountain on Sunday

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cedar Hill Crit 2014

Sunday we raced our favorite local, kind-of-a-big-deal circuit race. It's local, which means we can pre-ride it (and we did a couple times). Getting on a course prior to race day is always good for me. For our Women 1/2/3 race, we had 22 strong ladies on the line--multiple ladies on 6 different teams (Team Belladium, 5; Clarksville Schwinn, 3; Scarlet Fire, 2; Tennessee Women's Cycling Project, 4; Team WE, 3; and Marx and Bedsdorf, 2) and unattached or solo (the remaining 3).

Start line

Team Bd representing at the front of the line

It felt like everything went right during our race. Team Belladium lined up early and in good position, and I maintained my good position throughout (good for me is at the front, I decided). I think I turned around maybe twice or three times (once for sure when the entire Clarksville team came up to the front; I was looking for my teammates to be coming up with them). The rest of the time I was only looking forward--that's the only way to race!

Although there weren't a lot of attacks, there was a lot of action. We had four primes in 11 total laps, and a few different people went for the primes to shake things up a bit. I went with two of the first three but did not make an effort to actually get the prime. I decided to go for the fourth prime and won it; this was about 3 laps from the end. At that point, I had already attacked once (created a small gap but was brought back), so I knew how my legs felt. While I was going for the prime, Jess C and Stephanie C came with me, and we had a small gap that maybe could have stayed away had we committed to it. But I knew what my team's plan was, and I wasn't going to do much work. Jess stayed at the front for too long (because I wouldn't come around and Stephanie didn't), and we got caught after about half a lap (one lap is 1.2 miles). Then it was time for me to sit in.

Stats from Strava

I wanted to get my teammates into the best position possible for the sprint, but with less than half a lap to go, I found myself at the back of the group (my own doing). We'd started to get a lead-out train going, but it was just too early. I did what I could and then backed off and planned my next escape. This was the only time all race I found myself behind the field, and I used that time for a quick recovery before I shot up the hill and around the group on the right. It was too early to start the sprint, but it was the right time to go, so I went. AJ saw me and came along, shouting at me (this was great--I knew she'd seen me and would have a strong sprint to the finish). A few of the other ladies who were on the left side with her picked up the pace then too, and we all sprinted it out for the finish. AJ finished 2nd behind a Cat 1 (so AJ was the first Cat 2!), and I finished 5th. It was about an ideal of a finish as I could have hoped, given how much I felt like I'd done during the race. Kat, Cali, and Shelly were racing with us also, but honestly, because I was toward the front so much, I saw Kat only a couple times (she also did some work and was at the front when I attacked) and Cali (who was next to me in a few places). I knew they were planning their finish (the most important part of the race) and after the race was proud of how well each of them raced and finished.

Cat 1/2/3 podium. AJ finished 2nd, I was 5th.
Mary won, Shera was 3rd, and Sierra was 4th.

2014 Cedar Hill Strava stats: 5/22 Cat 1/2/3, 50:31, 17.6 miles, 20.9 mph, avg 259W, avg 177 HR
2013 Cedar Hill stats: 14/20 Cat 1/2/3/4, 44:09, 15.57 miles, 21.2 mph, avg 182 HR
TBRA Results

The Cat 4s (Kim, Emily, and Alicia) raced today as well. Alicia won off the front (like half a lap off the front!), Emily finished 6th in the field, and Kim finished 15th of 20 (her first race!). I am super proud of these ladies too!

Cat 4 podium: Alicia 1st, Jennifer M. 2nd,
Steph H. 3rd, Megan A. 4th, Emily S. 5th

Emily's finish

Kim's group

Friday, March 28, 2014

Walking Path Woes

This is my walking trail from work. Unfortunately, there
is now a pond right in the middle of the trail, so I can't walk
in a loop -- I have to do a lot of turning around.

Easter gifts for my sister's family

We tested at Todd's (Endeavor Performance) this week. It went better for me on Thursday than it had gone in January, so I'll take it! Workouts this week: Monday rest, Tuesday long run (stats), Wednesday fun ride, Thursday test and then dinner with a couple coworkers, Friday walk, Saturday/Sunday races. Hooray for the first bike races of the year!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TTT in March

We tested again today at Todd's, and today's test went much better for me than January's. The results are right around my median for time and watts, plus it was 5-10% better than in January, so I'll take it happily. My main goal for today was to keep it steady -- I wanted to finish as strong as I started and maintain that effort level throughout. I know I dipped below it for a minute or two, but I always got back to where I wanted to me. Maybe if I had pushed it one gear harder I'd have been closer to the 23x I've done in previous years, but then again maybe I would have faltered completely in the middle and fallen way below that mark.

Date Test Number Completion Time Average Watts
March 27, 2014
TT #13
229 watts
January 17, 2014
TT #12b
207 watts
January 14, 2014
TT #12a
215 watts
May 16, 2013
TT #11
244 watts
March 5, 2013
TT #11a
TT #11b
227 watts
246 watts
February 23, 2013
TT #10a
TT #10b
(6 mi: 16:45)
238 watts
239 watts
January 10, 2013
TT #9b
223 watts
January 8, 2013
TT #9a
213 watts
March 29, 2012
TT #8b
220 watts
March 27, 2012
TT #8a
212 watts
January 26, 2012
TT #7
226 watts
January 24, 2012
TT #6
228 watts
May 4, 2011
TT #5
237 watts
March 3, 2011
TT #4b
202 watts
March 1, 2011
TT #4a
229 watts
January 6, 2011
TT #3b
185 watts
January 4, 2011
TT #3a
217 watts
March 25, 2010
TT #2
223 watts
January 28, 2010
TT #1
208 watts

This is never a long workout, but it's always a challenge and it was perfect for the races this weekend!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Links for the Week

I'm especially excited about the first link. These are my favorites for the week.
Sunday: Easy run and weights
Monday: Rest!
Tuesday: Long, long run. Strava stats.
Wednesday: Morning swim, evening long walk and isos interspersed. I love living on the greenway!
Thursday: Morning weights, afternoon ride at Endeavor Performance. This was a great workout.
Friday: Run at PW with Kat. Strava stat.
Saturday: AM ride with the Ride615 guys, lunch ride with Kim, PM walk. Today was a BEAUTIFUL day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Link Review, 3-14-14

Here are the links I think are worthy of a click-through this week.

Saturday's team ride from MFY to Waddell Hollow and back
with Shannon, Wendy, Kat, Emily, Anna, and Parri. Strava stats.

Sunday's ride with Cali, Wendy, Shannon, Alicia, and Shelly
through Shelby Park and to Cedar Hill Park. Strava stats.

Sunday's run off the bike with Alicia and Wendy. Not fast,
but definitely not easy either. Strava stats.

Monday's run: 1-mile warmup, 6.4 miles at 8:20 (should
have been 8:00, but that hill, oh, that hill!), 2.1-mile
cooldown, 9.5 miles total. Strava stats.

Tuesday's ride at Todd's was rough. Thursday's ride was much better, after a rest day on Wednesday. Friday I swam, and now the weekend is for riding!