Monday, July 25, 2016

Rock and Roll Chicago Half Race Report

Had a great time at RnR half this year.  I have done this race on/off while I have been running and most years it is ridiculously hot as it is in July .. in Chicago. Originally my sister in law was supposed to run it but she became with child so she couldn't make it.

Packet pickup for these races are always a process.  Thankfully, Scott took me to get my packet and I didn't have to pay for parking and he dropped me off and picked me up at the front door (Score 1 for me being lazy and saving $25 for parking).  Hit up the expo for a bit, got a shirt, visited the Powerbar trailer and cked out the vendors.  I haven't really expo shopped this year so it was nice to ck it out.  Tons of my shoes that i wear but none my size :(

Race morning is always an early morning for RnR.  With a 6:30 start, I picked up Jen and were parking by 5:40am.  I have joked, we don't stay out late to have fun, we get up at the butt crack of dawn for fun. 

Prepurchased parking on Spothero but sadly had to let it go b/c congestion made it kindof impossible to get there.. we ended up at Congress for $30.  After parking here for many years, it really is one of the most convenient and most of the time, you park outside and not in a structure which makes the out easy after the race.

Before I began, i wasn't super in the mood to run a half.  Been doing a ton of yardwork and house stuff so between running and that, I have had tired legs.  Compression boots definitely have helped but I wasn't feeling it so early in the morning.  I am still not an early person after working a job that starts early and racing..
We met up with Tia briefly before the gun went off and then we were off. 



With the adrenaline and energy got off to a quick start.  Thanks to running in lower wacker in the beginning, had no idea what my pace way.  Normally, it can figure it out once I come out the other end but it was glitching and for 2 miles, it said i was under 8 minutes.. UM NO... while i knew it was wrong I did want to have a general idea of what my time was.  So i started paying attention to the mile clocks until it figured it out again and then i just focused on my pace and not the distance on my watch.

With RnR courses, they normally have a lot of action on the course.  Organized cheer stations lined the course along with tributes to chicago.  Specifically, a Cubs station, bears station (With Ditka) and a Blues Brother station.  It was cute and definitely kept the miles ticking along with the bands and DJ's. 

While Chicago normally is disgustingly hot in mid July, the temperature Gods smiled on us and gave us overcast conditions with cool breezes... it simply was perfect for running.  

I kept chugging along and based on my wacky Garmin numbers and timeclocks, it appeared I was averaged close to 11/min per mile which was perfect for me.  I felt good and I was pretty sure I was going to break my usual time of 2:30.  Around mile 10, I actually thought I would PR.  (2:24:xx was previous PR) and i figured, i can do this... so I kept forcing myself to keep going, not walk and actually just run.   I still managed to snag over 30 course pics but I felt good and not overly tired which was a huge plus! 

Kept plugging away although i realized my pace was waning a bit.  The finish line was visible with about 1/2 mile to go.. way to long to have to chip away at it. But I did just that.. kept pushing.  By this point I thought I would break 2:20 and was pushing hard and crossed and saw the :07 on my garmin and for whatever reason thought it was 2:20:07 and was a bit bummed out.  PR .. Yes but i really wanted to crack that 2:20 mark and with 7 measly seconds, I know i could of if i pushed a bit more. 

Realized it was going to downpour really bad after we crossed so high tailed it back to the car after grabbing some post race goodies.  I even ran part of the way.   Got to my car when the sprinkles just started and not more than a minute later, it was pouring.  Felt so bad for those still out on the course but also grateful i was in my car!  Got home before 10 am and looked up my time to see i did in fact beat the 2:20 mark!  Was pumped and proud that i pushed myself to finish strong.


Took a shower and a quick nap and then off to 1pm church.  Thanks to compression socks, i managed to sit through the 3 hours with little issue!


Monday, July 18, 2016

Lake In The Hills Tri

Decided on a whim to participate in the Lake in the Hills Tri.  It was inexpensive had same day packet pick up and my friend Tony was participating... so why not. The race went fine.  Nothing stellar but I was coming off of a lot of racing over the past two weeks so went with my usual "chill" approach.  Have fun, don't kill yourself and give high fives.  And i did just that.  Enjoyed the morning even with the heat and hills and met a few cool people on the course. 

Logistically with 2 transitions, it was a bit of process on the front and back end race day.  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't horrible but T1 and T2 were probably a mile from each other and it added a bit of stress to the morning and then afterwards, i wasnt super excited getting back on my bike and riding back to T1 with a wet bag that i could'nt quite get situated well to not hit my front wheel.  This is where better bike handling skills would have come in handy :)

Happy i participated and as always, great to see friends out on the course!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

One Step at a Time- Cove School 5K

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in The Cove School 5K Run/Walk One Step at a Time.  The Race Director at Carpe Diem Racing is a friend of mine and always puts on quality North Shore events and was excited to join Cove School along with my family.  What made this event even more special was I was able to hand out Cove Kids (students and alumni) medals from Medals4Mettle.  This charity has been dear to my heart for many years after giving my first marathon medal to my cousin (who past away a little over a year ago).  She inspired me even though we didn't live near each other and really showed true mettle and courage throughout her life.  Ever since giving that medal, M4M has been part of my life and i would like to believe i am better for it. 

The Cove School "serves children with complex learning disabilities from Kindergarten through 12th grade" and it located in the North burbs of Chicago.  Children are bused from the entire Chicagoland area to attend the school because of their specialized programs.  Students and former students along with their families ran the course on a beautiful June morning in Winnetka.  There were so many volunteers on the course to assist runners along with an enthusiastic aid station.  It really was a unifying race.  After we finished, we handed out medals to the Cove Kids after they finished their 5K.  Josh helped and it was fun to see them get excited about picking them out and some coming back b/c they wanted a different one.  I hope they enjoyed the experience as much as we did.  We handed out 45medals in total and hope the students know they earned them!


Personally, I decided to run the race with Scott and our goal was to not walk but feel good at the finish.  Considering I am still learning how to really run with Scott, I didn't have a ton of expectations except to not get elbowed in the face.  Ended with a 31:12 which ended up being 1st in my AG.  Let's remember that the majority of the people were walking or jogging with their families but I will take it!  There were about 3 other people running from what i could tell and 4 walking in my AG. 


Monday, June 20, 2016

Esprit De She Naperville Race Report

As a member of Lifetime, got a good offer on this race early in the season. I had some LTBucks so couldn't pass up on the opportunity.  All Women's sprint at the Naperville reservoir with good swag.. sure!  Got there early race morning to grab packet and set up transition.  With almost 2000+ participants, transition was huge.  Saw some friends before we all started lining up in our corrals.  

Swim:
Since i broke my other wetsuit, i used my backup (old) suit for the swim.  After swimming this race, i ended up giving it away on a FB site b/c i forgot how much it gave me the suffocating feeling.  I couldn't get into a groove for the entire swim and honestly felt like there were a few bricks on my chest.  But, i kept plugging along while plotting how i would get rid of that suit!  Exited the swim to get this attractive pic snapped of me. 

T1 - it is a decent run to the transition and

Bike- No hills but definite wind on the bike. Enough to be annoying.  The one issue is the lack of order on the bike.  Newbies all over the place not aware of their surroundings and then occasionally speedys biking in packs drafting off each other.  Both are not cool and more importantly create risk for other bikers.  Definitely requires you to proceed with caution. 

T2- No issues.. time to run

Run- the run is a mix of roads and paved shaded trail.  Talked with some ladies while out on the course and cheered on a friend who started later than me who zoomed by on her way to a top 15 overall finish.  I felt good and pushed along.  Nothing remarkable except I kept finding myself by 2 ladies that played music with their phones.. with no headphones.  I swear, these type of issues grind my gears.  Phones or music is not allowed per USAT sanctioned events.. let alone music playing out loud to throw of others.  GRRRR.   One of these days I am going to be grumpy and say something. Till then, i will complain on my blog to leave it at that. 

Total:
2016  01:49:48
2015 01:52:40
Nothing amazing but I felt strong after the race and made it through 3 hours of church afterwards!































































































Friday, June 17, 2016

Leon's Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Originally thought i would do the Oly but after a bad week of stomach issues, major heartburn and a fever, i decided the sprint was enough after considering bagging the entire thing for a few days.

Saturday, I went to grab my packet and do a quick practice swim.  I didn't need anything long just enough to get the water (for the first time in a while.. oops) and make sure i wont freak out.  The water was warm but opted for a wetsuit and was happy with my 200 meter practice.  Saw Lauren and Denise and we were ready to go for Sunday!



New Bar tape, me likey
Race day, got up nice and early and  made my way down to Hammond again. 

The Olys went off first and saw Tia off and then started getting myself ready.  Sadly, as i was pulling up my wetsuit and doing the "get it over my butt move" it totally ripped.. Unsure exactly how it happened but the seam busted.  So, no wetsuit for the swim i guess!   Was a little nervous about that as the wetsuit is a nice security blanket esp when you haven't been swimming a lot but the water was good (72 degrees) and it was only .5 mile.  So, i went without the wetsuit and was ready to race...

SWIM:
.5 around one major bouy and then back toward the swim exit.  Had no freakouts and was happy to feel good in the water and get in a groove relatively fast.

BIKE:
Averaged 17.25 MPH and feel like i can go with the adamo for shorter races.  Forces me in aero and is comfortable if i am in the Exact position it wants me to be in.  One of these days i will fork over a few hundred bucks for a full retul bike fit but for now, am happy with my $20 FB tri yard sale purchase.  Liked the new bike course as the roads were in great condition and provided a good balance of wind and flats.

RUN:
Averaged 10:22/mile which i was happy with straight of the bike and limited (to no) brick workouts minus my other races.  I felt good the entire way and fun to see so many friends along the course.

Finished to find my results with a #2 ranking in my AG... Awesome!   oh wait.. only 2 people were in my age group.   2nd AG, first loser, only loser, last.   A lot of distinctions at the same time. Since I was waiting for Tia, I accepted my AG award and then saw Tia finish!  All and all, it was a great morning, perfect weather and still made it in time for part of church.  Also, beat my time for 2 years ago by 5+ minutes.





As always, mucho thanks to: Rev3, Wattie Ink, Powerbar, SBRSports, Base Performance, Boco Headwear.  I would be a hot mess without you. 

My recap on Chicago Athlete

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Soldier Field 10 Miler

Have done this race on/off for the past 7 years.  I remember this being a huge milestone in 2009 after my back surgery.  Surgery was December 2008, but coming back from the surgery felt long and humbling.. and Soldier Field in 2009 was a big deal in my recovery.

This year, we hit another milestone... running with Scott.  He did a half with me a few years back (as my mother's day gift) but this year.. he has committed to the Chicago Marathon and this was his kickoff! Scott hasn't been running a ton and with the humidity in full force, our plan was to take it easy.. try to keep steady and not totally give up at the end.

We got downtown easily and were in our corral with 10 minutes to start.  Scott joked we were early for me b/c i normally cut it really close to the gun going off.  However, it gave us time to stretch and really take in the opening ceremonies.  Touched to hear the tribute to soldiers and reading of those who had fallen this past year.  Had a few tears during the ceremonies and was given a good reminder of what I should be thankful for. 
It was hot and humid out there so we took it slow and steady starting.  The miles ticked off and we were able to do a decent run/walk.  I kindof led at couch managing the schedule and motivating Scott.  We plan to start running once a week at minimum for the month of June and then pick it up in July.  Slowly but surely we will get there.  After the finish, Scott wanted to get out there so we didn't hang around post race festivities but got back home in decent time.  Proud of him for his commitment to the marathon... now we just need to run!



















Finish9:16:33AM02:08:38



Read my Chicago Athlete Race Recap

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Leaning Tower Tri Sprint Race Review




First tri of the season is under my belt... Could have been prettier but pretty happy with the results.  This is a race 10 minutes from my house and never have participated.  Unsure why but was excited to represent Chicago Athlete this year and race in the Niles event.  The event consists of a pool swim that goes in waves, 5 loop 12 mile course and an out and back 5K run.   The pool swim was easy and thankful to be in the first wave so I didn't need to sit around waiting for my turn.  It was freezing that morning so the run to T1 was cold and my feet were frozen.  Bundled up with a fleecy jacket for the bike and off I went.  I tried a new saddle out for the race... and b/c I love to plan.. my first ride was race day.  12 miles... I could manage.  Ended up liking the saddle if I was in one specific position.. anything else hurt but I have decided I am never comfortable on the bike.. more on that another time.. back to the race. (avg 15.5.. slow but I was ok with that

Bike went fine and happy I bundled up with a jacket and winter gloves.  T2 was quick and the run felt good to get the blood flowing.  Averaged 10:15 min/miles which I was happy about it considering it was cold and I haven't done a lot of brick work. All and all a great first tri of the season.  Cheers (with some coke!) to that!