Sunday, July 26, 2015

TriAggieland 2015

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a Texas A&M graduate. My daughter is currently attending A&M. And I bleed maroon. When I went to school there, we didn’t have a fancy rec center. Sure, there was a pool, but no one really used it. Besides, the only use I had for a pool in college was to lay beside it or on a float in it.

Fast forward to my daughter’s high school years when she played volleyball. One of her tournaments was at the rec center on campus and I was well into triathlons at that point. When we walked in for the volleyball tournament and I saw the natatorium, I was in awe. I just stood at the window looking in and wishing I could swim there.

When my daughter and I attended her new student conference, I secretly packed my swim gear. I thought we could get in on a guest pass during the conference and I hoped there might be time for me to get in at least a short swim. That didn’t happen for two reasons. The first reason was there just wasn’t time. The new student conference was jammed packed with sessions to attend. But even if there had been time it wouldn’t have happened due to reason number 2. The pool was under construction. Bummer. I vowed that someday I would swim there. I just didn’t know when.

And then I saw a post about the Tri Aggieland. And guess what? It’s a pool swim. In the natatorium in the rec center. There was no question now that my daughter is a student there that I would do the race. I was excited, but also a little curious. Out of all of the triathlons I’ve done the past 10 years, they’ve all been open water swims. I’ve never done a pool swim in a triathlon, so I wasn’t sure how it would all work.

When I registered, they asked for my estimated swim time for the 400 meter swim. I track all my workouts, so I knew pretty spot on what my swim times should be. I didn’t want to be one of those people who estimate faster than they really are and get passed by everyone, but I also hoped that by being honest, I wouldn’t be the one passing people.

The race was Sunday, but I headed to College Station on Friday to spend some time with my daughter. After she got off work, we headed to dinner and I could tell we were in a college town in the middle of Summer. We got some nice entertainment in Chick-fil-a when a drunken frat boy decided to teach all the kids all the foul language that’s not in the dictionary. I was just glad I had parked far away from him, because neither he nor his friend should have been driving.

After dinner, we drove the bike course. I wanted to see what it looked like, but also see if it would be safe to ride Saturday morning. Then we went back to her apartment where I got to meet one of her friends I hadn’t met yet. Later that evening we went with her friend and her friend’s mom for some frozen ice. Yum!

Saturday morning, I rode the bike course. There was one area that I was concerned about crossing, but as I approached the intersection, there wasn’t a car in sight. I crossed the road and made the loop. The roads heading back into campus were pretty torn up and once back on campus, there were several turns to make, so I knew it would be interesting on race day. A two-loop course of only 6 miles meant it might get crowded.

After a shower, we went and grabbed some lunch and then I headed off on my own to pick up my packet and meet a friend of mine from college. She lives in Bryan and was racing as well, so we had agreed to meet at packet pick-up. I think we chatted over an hour, but it was great to catch up with her.

Then it was time to head to dinner. The local chapter of Team RWB was hosting a pasta dinner at one of the local restaurants, so it was nice to finally put a face to the many names I’ve seen on Facebook.

After dinner, it was time to get my stuff ready for the race and get in bed.

Sunday morning I woke up early. No matter what race I do, I like to get there as soon as transition opens and know that I have everything the way I want it. I ate breakfast, headed out to load my car and got ready to leave. I turned the key and nothing happened. This was not good. I tried again but nothing happened. I knew I couldn’t deal with it before the race, so now what. I also knew a friend of mine was in town for the race, so I called and asked them to come pick me up. Whew!

We got to the race site and as we were unloading, one of the RWB folks from tri camp in April pulled up next to us. It was good to see him. I also ran into my friend from college. That’s what I love about triathlons. Pretty much anywhere you race, you are going to run into someone you know.

When transition opened up we headed in and found that this race did bike racking by number. I got VERY lucky and was actually on the end near where I would rack if I had the choice. Score!

I got everything set up, hit the port-a-potty, met the RWB group for a pre-race photo and then headed inside. The natatorium was just as beautiful as I imagined. My only question now was, “do I jump in to get use to the water?” or “do I wait until it’s my time to swim and just deal with it?”. I HATE cold water, and I knew that being the place where the college swim team practices, the water would be cold. Cold to me anyway. I debated back and forth and finally just decided to jump in. It was cold, but not as cold as I thought it would be. I immediately got right back out. And then I shivered from the water.

Finally, it was time to start “lining up”. Our race numbers, in theory, were in order of our swim times that we had indicated on the registration. I was number 275, so I knew it would be a while before I got in the pool. The invitational wave of men would go first, then the invitational wave of women, and then the rest of us. I grabbed a seat next to my friend and some other RWBers. When the invitational swimmers started, I wondered how they had decided who was in that wave. There were some that obviously belonged, but there were a couple that looked like they were struggling.

Then it was time for the rest of us to go. I was watching as people got in and it was quickly evident that some people had way overestimated their swim time. If you are in the first 100 and you can’t even swim a full 400 meters without stopping to rest, you are there because you put a false time on your registration. I decided there was no way I was waiting until 275 to go. I was faster than a lot of the ones already in the pool, so I sneaked my way into the line. The race director had told us we could self-seed ourselves race day, so that’s what I did. I asked several people what their expected swim time was and when I found someone similar to mine, that’s where I stopped.

With people starting every 10 seconds there were a lot of people in the pool. I jumped in when it was my turn, waited for the “go” and took off.

It wasn’t long before I passed the guy in front of me. I was concerned about getting to the walls and turning because we had to swim under the lane line into the next lane to go back. For most of the turns there wasn’t a problem, but there was one turn where there were about 5 of us at the same time. Open water swim tactics served me well and I just plowed on through.

I glanced at my watch when I got out because I didn’t know where the timing mat would be and I wanted to see what my swim time was. It was a little slower than I hoped, but not bad. And I was right about the timing mat. We had to run out the door of the natatorium and to transition before we crossed the mat.

Swim time (including the run out): 9:22

My bike was racked very near where I entered transition from the swim, so it was fairly quick to get the bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet on and get out of transition.

T1: 1:01

I took off on the bike feeling good and feeling like I needed to give it everything I had on the straight and smooth roads. I knew the backside of the course would slow me down. It felt good and I was very glad I had ridden the course the day before. When I got to the backside I noticed they had the potholes marked, so I just kept going and did my best to avoid the holes. I headed back to campus and made the turn for the second loop. I felt really good about the ride, passed a lot of people and barely got passed.

Bike time: 35:19 for a 19.7 mph average

Boom! That’s the fastest bike split I’ve had in a race AND on a two-loop short course. I couldn’t be happier.

T2: 1:02

I headed into transition and quickly changed shoes, grabbed my race belt and was back out on the course. I had been so concerned about how the swim would work and what the bike course was like that I really had no idea what the run course would be like. All I knew was that it went through parts of campus, and from having gone to school there, I knew most of it would be pancake flat. What I didn’t know starting out was whether it would be a one-loop or two-loop course. It was evident pretty quickly it would be two loops.

Being July, in Texas, the temps were starting to climb and I knew humidity would be a factor. I knew I wouldn’t have a fantastic pace, but didn’t want to take it easy either. There was one part of the course where we went under one of the main roads that separates the east and west sides of campus, so there was a little incline, but not bad.

Being two loops, however, my family was not ready for me when I came out of the tunnel to head back toward the start to begin my second loop. Oh well, they knew to watch for me the second time.

Run time: 26:19 (9:12 min/mile pace)

I absolutely loved doing this race and heading through the finish line. I waited for friends and other RWBers to finish before heading back to get my car taken care of. Luckily, it was just a battery and nothing more. I’ll definitely do this one again as long as the schedule allows.

Total Time: 1:13:05 for 6th place in my age group.

By the way, I was 150th overall. I was 169th on the swim – almost 100 spots ahead of where I was seeded based on times sent in.

Gig ‘em!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

2015 Lake Pflugerville Triathlon

On Father’s Day, I did the same thing I’ve done on Father’s Day since 2007…….I got up early and headed to Lake Pflugerville for the Lake Pflugerville triathlon. As usual, I was one of the first ones there. The only difference this year was that we had seen a lot of rain recently, so our normal parking was not opened. A new subdivision is being built across the street from the lake, so police were directing us into the subdivision to park. I got a fairly decent spot, unloaded my stuff and walk to transition.

Once in transition it seemed something was off. Then I remembered that the city had expanded the parking area, which meant more rows in transition. Once I realized that, I headed to the row I wanted to be on (on an end of course) and started setting up my stuff. The rows began to fill and people started squeezing in. It never ceases to amaze me how some people just move other people’s stuff so they can get a good spot despite arriving so late. Umm, not my stuff. I stay next to my stuff until transition closes.

I had been watching the weather and there was a chance of rain today, but it seemed like it would hold off until after the race. The pre-race announcements seemed to indicate the same every time they would give an update on the weather. I hoped that was true.

When it was time to exit transition, I headed to the swim start. There were several Team RWB members racing, including one who had attending tri camp in April. We talked while waiting for the race to start.

My swim times in the pool have come down lately, so I was hoping that would translate into open water and I would have a good swim today. I lined up near the front like always, but this year it seemed like we started in more shallow water than normal. When the horn blew, we had to walk a little into deeper water before starting to swim. When I came out of the water, I was a little disappointed in the time on my watch, but I just kept plugging away.

Swim time: 11:55

I headed into transition, put my cycling gear on, grabbed my bike and headed off for the ride as fast as I could.

T1: 1:53

I ride the bike course all the time in training, so I was hoping to have a great time today. I felt like things were going well until a couple of miles into it. I turned the corner by the Cele bar-b-que store and started heading up the hill. And that’s when the rain started. I was hoping it would be a quick little shower and be gone, but no such luck. It started pouring. So much that I could feel my socks squishing in my shoes. I had decided before the race that if it rained, I didn’t care what my time would be. Safety first for me. I kept pushing on the straights, but when I came to any curve, I slowed down more than I typically would. The intensity of the rain varied during the bike, but it never really seemed to stop until just before I was done.

There is one point where you ride down the access road of the toll road. As I was reaching the end of that and getting ready to turn, I saw an ambulance go through the intersection. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I made it through the construction zone and started pushing again. When I got closer to the lake I could see where the ambulance had gone. At the last turn to head back to the lake sat the ambulance, a fire truck and a police car. I wasn’t even sure I could get through. As I approached, I slowed down. A lot. I watched the cyclist ahead of me and saw that they were letting us through, so I followed. I made that last turn really slow. I did not want to hit the paint and fall. I was glad to climb the last hill and turn into transition.

Bike time: 45:45 for an 18.4mph

I took off my helmet and changed my cycling shoes for my running shoes and off I went.

T2: 1:12

I knew the run was going to be brutal. After the morning rain, the sun was now trying to make it’s way out and it was humid. I don’t do well in humidity. I just told myself to run the whole way and not worry about it, and that’s exactly what I did. I was very happy to finally see that finish line.

Run time: 27:53 for a 9:18 pace

Total Time: 1:28:41 for 11th in my age group and 298 overall.

It wasn’t my fastest Lake Pflugerville finish, but it wasn’t my slowest. It was, however, the first triathlon I’ve done in the rain. As many as I’ve done, I’ve been lucky. I’ve done cycling events in the rain and definitely running races in the rain, but never a triathlon.

I hung out for a while to watch some of my friends finish, but then the weather seemed like it was going to turn again. With a couple of flashes of lightning, I decided it was time to head home.

Thanks for the fun. I'll be back next year.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Stand Up Paddle Yoga Teacher Training

Last year I saw an advertisement for SUP Yoga Teacher Training. I really wanted to do it last year, but I wasn’t 200-hour certified at the time, and that was one of the requirements. After getting my 200-hour certification in February I started keeping my eyes open and researching if or when this training would be offered this year.

As soon as I found a class being offered, I checked my calendar, saw the all-clear and signed up. The training was the weekend after the RWB tri camp, so two weekends in a row would be really busy, but I knew it was something I wanted to do.

The weather has been pretty rainy this Spring, so our Friday night session got moved to the yoga studio that was hosting the training. We got to meet each other and find out how the class would be conducted. I was excited.

Saturday morning I headed downtown, ready to get out on the water. We went over some basics on land and then headed out for some practice teaching on how to paddle, stand up on the board and look for spaces to practice. We had a short class and it was everything I imagined. Those that know me, know that I LOVE being on or near the water. Doing savasana on a SUP board, floating in the water with the sun shining down – well, it doesn’t get much better than that!

We headed back to the dock and ate some lunch and talked about some more safety basics before heading out for our afternoon session. We got to practice teaching each other and then we learned how to properly fall off our boards and even rescue someone that has fallen off and is injured or unconscious. The balance poses are obviously more challenging on the board, so that’s what most of us did to practice “falling” off the board. I was amazed, however, to find out that I could actually do headstand on the board. Wahoo!

Sunday, we met back downtown. We had a little bit of storming in the morning which kept us off the water for a bit, but we got to cover some of the business side of things. Then we headed out to teach some more and be lead through a little bit more challenging class.

I’m so happy that I took the class and am excited to take some friends out and maybe even teach classes. If only I had enough money to buy my own boards!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Team Red, White and Blue Tri Camp 2015

For the fourth year in a row, I had the privilege of helping to coordinate the Team Red, White and Blue Triathlon Camp. This has been an amazing experience in the past, and this year it was no different. The difference this year for me, however, is that I was also asked to step into an assistant coaching role. I did the normal planning and organizing of a lot of things prior to camp, but we asked another one of our volunteers to coordinate the rest of the volunteers, and once camp started, I was in the role of coach.


Thursday morning I headed over to the hotel where we would do registration and check-in. Luckily, some other volunteers were in town early as well and in no time we were ready for the athletes. And it was a good thing because a large number of then arrived between noon and 2:00 pm. As they arrived, they received their bags with all of their goodies, their nametags, and if they were receiving equipment, they got that as well. Those that were getting bikes got fitted so that they would be ready to go for the skills clinic Friday morning.

One of our awesome volunteers offered to grill hamburgers for us, so when the burgers were ready we ate dinner and the athletes had time to start socializing and getting to know one another. They had already been talking to each other through a private Facebook group set up for the camp, so it was fun to get to see everyone in person.

After dinner we had a more “formal” gathering where everyone introduced themselves and shared a little something. As always, there were some amazing individuals present. Then everyone was off to get settled (or do some more socializing in the lobby) and get ready for Friday.


Friday morning first thing was a leadership session. This is part of all of the athletic camps that Team RWB has, and is a part of what makes RWB such a successful VOLUNTEER organization. Since I have been involved in coordinating the activities of camp in the past, I had never sat in on a session, but this year as an assistant coach, I was asked to be one of the small group facilitators. Because of that, I needed to be at all of the sessions. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it at first, but in the end, I’m glad I did it. I really got to know the athletes in my group and it was interesting to hear the different perspectives on leadership from military veterans vs civilians.

As soon as we finished the first session, we headed out to the lake to begin the bike skills clinic. This is always a fun session. Some people are very comfortable on the bike and have been through some of the drills before, but some are brand knew on the bike and only learned how to clip in and out of the pedals yesterday. Luckily, the skills session is always on grass so that when (notice I didn’t say “if”) people fall, it won’t hurt so bad. Most people fall at some point or another. Trying to pick up bottles from the ground, trying to ride as slow as you can, and other skills challenge your sense of balance and down you go. But it works. More about that later.

After the bike skills clinic, it was time to get in the water. I’m such a weenie in cold water that even with a wetsuit, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get in. But, I suited up just in case anyone in my group needed help. Derick (the head coach) and I were assigned to the beginner group. Most of the people in our group had little or no experience with open water swimming and we were there to help get them comfortable in the water. There were some challenges our group faced, but we worked through them and I’m proud of our group.

Then it was time for some much needed food and a lecture on training and nutrition. The run clinic was next. Lots of info on form and several skills to put that form into practice.

Finally it was time to head back to the hotel for a quick, and I do mean quick, shower and then head to dinner. Lots of hungry athletes eat lots of pasta and bread!


Saturday morning started with another leadership session. Actually, we combined two sessions because the weather was taunting us and we didn’t want to get caught on our bike ride in the rain. Fortunately, the whole plan worked out and after the leadership session was over, it was time to ride from the hotel to the lake. Yes, on public roads with lots of traffic. Remember me saying that some of the folks had never been clipped into a bike before? Well, that skills clinic gave them the confidence they needed to do the ride. I’m proud to say that everyone made it just fine.

Once we got to the lake, we regrouped and then separated into smaller groups for additional riding. Stronger, faster, more confident riders went out for a longer loop, while the newer riders did a shorter loop.

When everyone made it back to the lake, there was a transition clinic (with an actual transition set up) and then lunch again. Fuel is important for training, right?

We had a special guest come in to go over some functional fitness and show us some exercises that are beneficial to triathletes and then it was time to swim again. After the swim, it was time to shower and head for dinner.

Saturday night’s dinner is a special one. I can’t really get into the details, because if you don’t experience it, you don’t truly understand, but it’s a great time of connection for the athletes and can be very emotional. But let me tell you, this is where the relationships are formed. And despite the fact that it’s a triathlon camp, the relationships are really the important thing. The fact that these veterans learn that they aren’t the only ones going through some of the experiences they go through is comforting and they now have many new friends to talk to. It’s such an amazing transformation to watch.


Sunday is the culmination of the camp. Sunday morning is a race for the athletes where they get to put everything they learned together and complete a triathlon. We set the parking lot up as a transition area, they get body marked and get race numbers, there is an athlete meeting……everything just like on race morning.

The weather was iffy this morning and was really foggy, so the call was made to shorten the swim to keep everyone safe. Since the water was a little rough, Derick and I got our wetsuits on. We wanted to swim with our group. There were multiple people in kayaks and on SUP boards and a couple more volunteers in the water to help ensure everyone stayed safe in the water.

The race got started in waves just like races. It was awesome to see the excitement. Athletes started swimming and in their own time finished the swim. The support of the volunteers on land and of fellow athletes is so wonderful to see.

As the athletes exited the swim, they went into transition and then headed out on the bike. It didn’t take too long before the first one was heading back into transition and out on the run.

We had an official finish line set up and everything. Athletes came through and got high-fives and congrats. For some, this was the first triathlon they had ever done. As in races, some athletes are faster and some are slower, but the difference at this camp, and in general with RWB, is that no athlete is left behind. There was a volunteer/coach in the water until the last athlete was out. There was a volunteer on the bike riding with the last cyclist until they were safely in. And there was more than just one fellow athlete willing to run in with the last runner. Just pure awesomeness.

After the race, there was more food, discussion on the race, etc. We were blessed this year in that one of our volunteers is the owner of a local bike shop. He helped out tremendously with bike issues during the weekend and at this point did a bike maintenance clinic, including how to change a flat tire. It’s something every cyclist needs to know how to do, but unfortunately, most do not learn how until they experience their first flat. After packing bikes to ship back home we transported the athletes to yoga.

This is another one of my favorite parts of camp, since I get to teach yoga to the athletes. I’m a little biased, but it’s a great way to end camp. Stretching them out and giving them some quiet time to relax and unwind.

After showering, it was time for our final dinner. This one can get emotional as well since it’s almost time to say goodbye. Friendships have been made and the bonds have been formed. No one wants to leave. But all good things must come to an end and we know that we will see some of them at next year’s camp – as volunteers!

‘Til next time!!!!

photo credits to Scott Strance at

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2015 Cap 10K

This is a race that I pretty much do every year. I never train for it specifically, because I’m usually training for something else around the same time. After completing the Little Rock Marathon March 1st, I kept some run training going and felt my fitness level was pretty decent. I didn’t think I would PR and didn’t really care if I did or not.

Race morning I got up, went through my routine and headed downtown. If the weather cooperates, this race is nice because it doesn’t start until 8:00am, so you can kind of sleep in on race morning. (This can be a really bad thing if the weather has already started heating up for the year, though.) This year, there was a chance of rain race morning, so I went into the race just wanting to get it done and get home.

Because of my predicted time, I was in coral B, which was the second coral to go off. Even then, once the race starts, the streets are crowded. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it thins out at all and that was the case this year. Despite having something going on in my right hamstring/piriformis, once I get running I’m usually ok. I get sucked into the excitement of the race, my adrenaline kicks in and I’m off. I was pleasantly surprised by how I felt during the race.

When I checked my split at mile 1 and noticed 9:00 I was kind of surprised. The first hill is a little uphill. The second mile has some downhill, so I expected to be a little faster here, and I was with a 8:46. The next two miles have some hills before it levels off again.

Mile 3: 9:02

Mile 4: 9:07 (my garmin showed longer than a mile even though I hit the split at the mile markers)

Luckily, it didn’t ever rain hard on me during the race and it only lightly rained around mile 5, which actually felt kind of nice. When I checked my splits at this point I realized I was close to getting a PR, but couldn’t remember exactly what my 10k PR was. Since I knew I was close, I decided to push as hard as I could until the end.

Mile 5: 7:56 (my garmin showed short for this mile, which is probably true)

Obviously, I couldn’t keep that pace and slowed down the last mile some.

Mile 6: 9:45

Last .2: 1:43

But, in the end, it paid off. Finish time: 55:19 for a pace of 8:51 per mile. And a new PR. I’m beginning to think I just need to go into every race and “not care” what the outcome will be. Sometimes taking the pressure off allows the body to do amazing things.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Little Rock Marathon 2015

My quest to run a marathon in all 50 states has slowed in recent years due to Ironman races in 2010 and 2012 and a layoff from my job in 2013. However, one of my athletes lives in Little Rock and wanted to do his first half marathon this year. What better excuse than to jump back on the bandwagon and head to Little Rock to add Arkansas to my list of states completed. And besides, who could complain about that jumbo medal?

I began training in the Fall and was doing great. I was hitting all of my workouts and, miraculously, able to get them in all outside. And then Winter hit. I don’t mind cold and I don’t mind wind, but I don’t do well with the two combined. We had several days of 30 degrees and 25 mph winds. To the treadmill I went.

There were a couple of long runs where I struggled – a weird pain in my foot that didn’t allow me to finish the run, just not feeling it, or not having time. I did get in several longer runs, but didn’t feel like anything over 18 was great or productive.

As race day drew near, weather got worse. My athlete sent me a picture of the race course the week before the race – covered in snow. Ugghh. I hoped for better weather on race day. As we got closer, it looked like no snow as the temps would warm to just above freezing, but it did look like rain. I knew it would not be fun and went into the race not expecting a PR, but just wanting to finish, get my medal and be done with Arkansas.

And then we learned that we wouldn’t be getting our medals. There was some strike on the West coast that affected shipments coming in and our medals were stuck on a cargo ship just off the coast. They would not make it in time for race day.

On Friday evening, I headed to the airport. My connecting flight went through Dallas, which had seen an unusual amount of snow and ice during the week. Several flights to or through Dallas before mine had been cancelled and it looked like one after mine had been cancelled, but mine was still ok for now. And then it got delayed. I was concerned about missing the connecting flight in Dallas as it was the last one to Little Rock that night. Luckily, the flight from Dallas to Little Rock was delayed as well. There were several other runners on the flight and we all talked about different races while waiting for the flight.

Finally, we were off. When we landed, it was snowing. Light snow and just small flakes, but it was snowing. I headed off to get settled in and get some sleep.

I slept in Saturday morning, ate breakfast and then headed to the expo to pick up my stuff and see what they had. I bought a visor due to the impending rain. I don’t normally run in one, but if it’s raining I will. I was hoping to find a red one to match my Team RWB shirt, but had no luck. Since I couldn’t find a matching one, I went with one with skulls on it. Might as well have fun, right?

My athlete took me driving around Little Rock to see parts of the course and to see where he does his training and then we headed to the Team RWB dinner meet-up. The meet-up itself was nice, but the restaurant was not prepared. Someone had called ahead and told them a large group was coming. They had the tables set up to accommodate us, but ONE waiter for thirty-something people. Not good. He would take some orders and put them in and then come back for more. Not really a problem except that some people who ordered later got their food before those who ordered first. The whole experience took forever. We were one of the first to arrive and sadly, the last to get our checks and leave. Oh well, like I said before, I wasn’t expecting a PR.

After laying everything out and making sure I had adequate layers, I went to bed. I didn’t sleep really well, but that is usually the case the night before a race.

Since the race didn’t start until 8:00 (most start at 7:00), I did get to sleep in a bit. I ate my pre-race meal and got dressed, layering up as much as possible without over doing it.

We met a few other RWB folks for a quick picture before heading to the start. I checked my gear bag and we walked to the corals. Since it was raining, I had my trash bag over me and planned to run in it as long as I felt like I needed to.

The race started and I was off. I hit the first mile and hit my split button, but due to the fact I was still in my garbage bag, I didn’t really look at the split time. Somehow, I missed mile 2. At mile 3, I noticed that the mileage on my garmin was about .2 ahead of the “official” mile markers. I just hit my splits at the mile marker signs. Somewhere around here, I got warm and decided to ditch the trash bag.

I was doing pretty well at the beginning of the race and felt that if I kept that up, I might actually have a decent time.

Mile 1: 10:30

Miles 2 and 3: 10:48

Mile 4: 9:55

Mile 5: 8:56

Mile 6: 9:09

Mile 7: 9:16

Mile 8: 9:33

Mile 9: 9:34

Up to this point, I had been sticking with my race nutrition of two shot blocks every 3 miles, but started to feel like something wasn’t right with my stomach. I also started to feel like I needed to use the restroom. Sometimes when I get that feeling and keep running, it goes away. Not this time. I managed to make it 3 more miles before telling myself that I really needed to stop.

Mile 10: 9:41

Mile 11: 9:51

Mile 12: 9:49

Mile 13: 12:15

Can you tell where I stopped? Ha!

Out of the porta-potty and back to running. The first mile back wasn’t bad but then it felt like my legs were saying, “Wait a minute, we just stopped. Why are we running again.” I decided to just slow it down a bit and see what happened.

Mile 14: 9:46

Mile 15: 10:51

Mile 16: 10:47

Mile 17: 10:48

Mile 18: 10:58

Not bad, but then I felt like I needed to walk some. And when that happens, it’s not good.

Mile 19: 12:10

Mile 20: 11:53

Mile 21: 12:15

Mile 22: 11:33

Mile 23: 12:44

Mile 24: 13:17

I knew I was getting close to the finish and I was excited to be done with the race. I could tell I have not done a stand-alone marathon in a few years. Plus, it had been raining off and on all race. Not a hard downpour, but a steady drizzle. And it was cold. I don’t know for sure, but it probably never got out of the 30s.

Mile 25: 12:48

Mile 26: 12:51

The last .1: 5:30

And then I was done. Since the real medals had not made it in time, they did have some plastic medals made so that we could actually receive one at the finish line, which was nice. Afterall, it wasn’t their fault that the medals got hung up because of some strike.

I grabbed my gear bag and headed into a warm place to put on some more layers and change shoes. Then it was time to do something I have never done before – shower, change and head back to the airport to head home. Usually, I stay until Monday for an out of town race to give my body time to recover. But now that I am an independent contractor and teach fitness classes, if I don’t teach, I don’t get paid. I needed to get back so I could work Monday.

Flights were delayed heading home as well, but I made it. I got home and went straight to bed.

While it wasn’t my best race ever, I’m glad I did it. They have told us that our medals will be shipped to us in the next month or so, so I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival. And now I have one more state knocked off my list.

Finish time: 4:45:27

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Yoga Teacher Journey

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I begin my journey to be a yoga teacher back in 2013. I started with YogaFit because it was the best for my schedule at the time. I worked through a lot of the levels and other classes needed for the 200-hour designation. And then I got laid off. When I got laid off, I still needed two levels of training (one of those being a four day training and neither offered in my state, so $$$ for registration, travel and lodging) and at least one other course. I began to add up how much it was going to cost to finish and didn’t see a way to make it happen in the time frame I wanted.

About this same time, I was getting emails from one of the largest studios in town. One of the emails was about the upcoming teacher-training program. I went to the information meeting to find out more. This program was a 10-month program meeting once a week for 4 hours and two weekends during the 10-months. The cost, however, was a lot less than finishing through YogaFit. So, I made the decision to switch. Plus, it couldn’t hurt to go over knowledge I had already learned.

I started the training in April of 2014 under a wonderful teacher whose background is a Masters in Kinesiology. This was great for me as I have a desire to learn more about the muscles and structure of the body. Every week, we met and learned more – about the body, about philosophy, about breathing, about meditation, about all things yoga related.

As we neared the end of training, we had to teach a 20-minute class to our peers and then we had a test to make sure we had learned what we needed to know. In February, we graduated. I had completed the 200-hours of training and could now register with Yoga Alliance.

I’m excited, but my learning is not over yet. I’ve got a couple of more courses already lined up to specialize and develop my knowledge and an idea of where I want to take my yoga teaching. I’m already working in Corporate Wellness, but there is more to come. Stay tuned…….

Thursday, February 12, 2015

3M Half Marathon - 2015

Just like every year for the past several years, I was signed up to run the 3M Half Marathon this year. I am also signed up for the Little Rock Marathon on March 1, so the 3M date was pretty much in my high mileage time frame of training. Lucky for me, it just happened to be a recovery week with only 15 miles scheduled for that day. I figured racing 13 was about the same as a 15 mile long slow run, so it would all workout. I headed into race day with no taper and no expectations.

Race morning was a little cold, but other than a bit of wind, really ideal race conditions. Like I said, I had no time goals or expectations, but even without set-in-stone goals, there is ALWAYS a goal in the back of my mind. I would be happy just breaking two hours this year, so I lined up just in front of the 2-hour pacers. I had met another Team RWBer at the start line and figured he would probably leave me in the dust, so when the race started, I reminded myself to start slow and go at my pace.

When I hit mile one, I hit the split button on my garmin. 9:09. Perfect. Not too fast and not too slow. I told myself if I stayed close to that pace the rest of the race, I'd be ok. So I just kept going. It's always fun to watch the runners ahead of and beside me and listen to their conversations. Sometimes you can tell it's someone's first half and the friend they are with is pacing them. Some you know are just out there to have fun. And others you know went out way too fast. I was just enjoying the day.

Mile 2: 8:43

Mile 3: 8:39

Mile 3 seemed to come up on me really quickly. And mile 5 seemed to take FOREVER to find. A mile is a mile, so it's funny how some fly by and some are brutal. And sometimes it has nothing to do with hills or wind.

Mile 4:8:54

Mile 5: 8:48

Mile 6: 8:56

Mile 7: 8:47

Mile 8: 8:54

It was somewhere between mile 7 and 8 that I finally got hot enough to ditch my outer layer. I'd get hot earlier where I was in the sun and think about it and then I'd turn the corner and be in the shade with the wind hitting me and change my mind. This time, I knew it was time.

Mile 9: 8:56

Mile 10: 9:08 - bummer, I had hoped to keep all but the first under 9:00

Mile 11: 8:59

Mile 12: 8:47

Mile 13: 9:05 - yeah, because it's so awesome to finish a half marathon up a hill into the wind! last .1: 1:00

Checking my garmin at the end, I knew it wasn't a PR, but it wasn't far off.

Total time: 1:56:48 for a pace of 8:55 per mile

I was 141 out of 558 in my age group, 723 out of 3210 females, and 1888 out of 5450 overall. I'm ok with that.