Thursday, September 27, 2012

There is beauty all around...

I have really had my interest peaked in trail running lately.  I have several friends through my tri group that do it, and with all of the fall colors being at their peak right now, any excuse to get into the mountains will do.  I had a terrible last few days at work, and I decided last minute to take a mental health day from work and finally go and hit the trails to see what all the fuss was about.  I checked the weather forecast and it was a great day to do it...sunny and 70 degrees!

I enjoyed my morning of sleeping in, then took the kids to school.  I had already called a sub the night before and had stuff ready for the little cherubs to stay busy with all day.  I packed what I thought I might need in a bag and then headed right to Salt Lake Running Company for some trail shoes.  I knew I was going to get some nature therapy today, why not retail therapy as well?  HA!  Any excuse to hit the Running Co!

I found some great shoes, and headed right up to Snowbasin where I had looked at some trails on line.  I also talked the night before to a friend of mine that is an avid mountain biker and he recommended the Green Pond Trail Loop.  I easily found it, parked my car, and then headed out.  The trail was full of people hiking, mountain biking, etc, but it wasn't too crowded and most of the time I felt like I had the whole mountain to myself.  It was exactly what I needed today.  I was not out for a time, or anything other than to enjoy nature, get a good work out, and relieve some stress.  Well, I accomplished all of the above.  I made sure to take the time to look around me and enjoy the AMAZING scenery around me.  I stopped to take pictures whenever I felt impressed to do so.

The actual running was awesome.  I fell into a good rhythm and found that it is definitely more challenging than regular running as you have to navigate the ever changing terrain beneath you, but I felt like a rock star as I cleared logs, boulders or creek beds a long the way.  I enjoyed the challenge and it didn't take long for me to be dripping in sweat.  It was a great work out, but I didn't feel like I was getting my trash kicked either.  I kept hearing my watch beep as I hit each new mile.  I did end up veering off the trail and did a pretty decent ascent up to this awesome clearing where I noticed I had gone just over 3 miles from where I had parked.  Knowing that I have my marathon in just over a week, I didn't want to overdo anything, so I decided that was a good half way point then I headed back to the car.

I loved this run.  I can see why so many people love trail running!  Who wouldn't love having the mountain to yourself?  Or running through canopies of changing fall leaves as you kick through them at your feet?  I quite literally came upon a herd of 8-10 deer and I startled them and they ran around me to get away.  Scared the crap out of me as well since I didn't feel them there, but how cool is that?

Now I can see myself looking for any excuse to get up to the mountains.  There is already discussion going on the TriBuddies forums about a possible run Saturday...count me in!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


T minus 11 days until the St. George marathon.  This isn't a race that I REALLY wanted to do, I didn't have my heart set on it at the start of the season and honestly through my name into the lottery thinking I was really good either way with whether or not I got in, and half way hoping I would not.  After all, the training is a beast!  I have gone back and forth since I found out I got in on whether or not I REALLY want to do it, and even considered backing out a couple months ago.  Read about that here.

Well, I have put in the work, the long training runs, and I even feel somewhat more prepared in that I have also cross trained a ton with the triathlon training, and am feeling really good about this race.  I have had some good runs lately, and am just feeling good all over about it!

Who am I kidding?  I am so excited!  I am proud of every race that I have completed, but NOTHING is like 26.2.  There is something in finishing a marathon.  It is such a challenge, such a huge accomplishment, that even though I have completed three others, it is still humbling, and exhilarating all at the same time to think about doing it again.  You have to respect the distance.  If you are not prepared, it can get very ugly.  

And, of the 26.2's that I have done, St. George is my favorite.  They have it down to an art form.  It is like the Holy Grail of Utah races, and I am so fortunate to be able to conquer this beast yet again.  I am in the taper mode at this point in training for it, so I am putting in the work outs knowing that the worse of the training is behind me.  Bring it on!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ogden Valley Sprint Tri

 What a way to end my my tri season!  Ogden Valley Tri is a race I squeezed in last minute, and I am so glad I did!  It was fantastic!  It was a sprint tri, and it was the longest one I have done.  This had a 1000 meter swim, a 16 mile bike, and a 4.1 mile run.


I drove myself up to Pineview Reservoir nice and early. I woke up at 5:45, and left by 6:30, getting up there just after 7:00. I had a bagel and some water for breakfast.  Nothing major, but it is nice to get something in my stomach. Ken and the kids would come later since it didn't start till 10:00.  They only offered same day packet pick up and since I had no idea how many people were doing this race, I wanted to make sure I was there early to avoid lines, etc.  When I got up there, this was the view from the start, as the sun was coming up.  Looking like a great day!

I was the first person to pick up my packet.  They handed me my envelope, and a pretty cool t-shirt and my race numbers.  Then I headed to body marking where I had my embarrassing moment of the day.  They had some young dude, very nice, and pretty cute doing body marking.  Well, guess who forgot to shave last night as I had planned?  Yeah, somewhat embarrassing, but NOTE TO SELF:  SHAVE!.( I usually do for the record, but being a back in school and back to my crazy life, it had been a couple days).  I was very happy to see that my race number was 688.  Not that it REALLY matters, but I do have this thing for even numbers, so I considered this a good luck omen for the day.

I then texted one of my TriBuddies, Jordan to see if he had arrived yet, he had and I went over and met with him and Josh.  They are in my group, but I had never met them, just knew that they were doing this race.  It was nice to have people that I know, and we visited, joked around, checked out the lay of the transition area.  I made sure I knew where all the important areas were and walked myself through them, the swim in/out, bike in/out and run start and the finish.  I got somewhat disoriented at the Brawl a few weeks ago, so I wanted to make sure I knew where I was going.  I had my banana, and a half hour before the swim start I had my 5 Hour Energy. I don't usually use the stuff, but a friend I know uses them before races and says that they give an extra boost, so I did.  It seemed to help!

I then put on my wetsuit, and headed down to the beach for the swim start.


I was really looking forward to the swim.  Any of you that have been reading this blog this season know that it is my strongest of the three sports, and I love it.  And I was excited since this is the exact beach that my weekly Pineview swim with the Buddies has been all summer, so I was comfortable knowing the beach, and the water.  It was a gorgeous morning for a swim.  I could tell that this was going to be a good start to the race.  Here was view from the start:

Walking down to the beach I wanted to check my watch to make sure it was good to go.  I have recently acquired the use of a Timex Global Trainer.  I was excited to use it for this race, though not totally familiar with it yet, I wanted to make sure it was good to go.  I set it up and it seemed to be.  Boy, is that thing huge! But, my Garmin died a long time ago, but I know it was equally big and bulky.  Small price to pay for technology!

Before I knew it, the men were in the water.  They started promptly at 10:00.  They waited until the fastest male had rounded the second buoy, then they started the women.  I made sure to be out in front, and I hit the start button on my watch as the gun went off.  I immediately realized that this was the craziest swim start I have ever done.  It was more of the stereotypical "washing machine" start you hear about with triathlons.  I guess that I have been lucky till now in having a pool swim, some time trial starts, or more easy going starts than this one was.  It was NUTS!  I just wanted out of the chaos so I booked it (probably too fast) to get through the women in front of me.  I was relieved to find some clear water for once and I started feeling like I had started off to fast.  My heart was through the roof, and I reminded myself to breathe and try to calm down, but not slow down, if that is all possible at the same time.  I rounded the first buoy and was feeling good.  I then had a hard time seeing the second buoy due to sun glare, so I just did my best to follow the swim caps ahead.  This worked well, but as we rounded that buoy, I started to feel disoriented.  We were supposed to do two laps around the buoys, and I didn't remember seeing there being such a big space between the two that were closest to shore.  I just kept following swim caps and figured that many people couldn't be wrong.

As I started my second lap, I hit more washing machine chaos.  I had just caught the stragglers from earlier heats, the men, and I had to fight my way through them.  I loved the ego boost of passing some men, even if they were the slow ones :P.  This time I felt like I had calmed myself enough from the first round of craziness and I was ready for this.  I got through them, and before I knew it I was passing the third buoy and heading to the swim exit.  I knew that my heart rate was pretty elevated, I just wanted land and air.  I was dizzy, and had swallowed a ton of water.  But it turns out, I kicked some butt on that swim.

FINAL SWIM TIME:  22:57...third in my age group on the swim.  I'll take it :)


I headed up the beach and up a little hill into T1.  I was pretty tired, so I took this time to try and catch my breath, let out the belches that come from swallowing that much water, and get the top half of my wetsuit undone.  I thought that this time would suck, as I didn't feel that I was going that fast.  I also struggled to get the dang suit off, so I wasn't thinking I was doing that great.  However, with the final results it showed I did quite well.  FINAL T1 time: 3:15...also third fastest T1 time in my group.  Yeah buddy!  Off to a GREAT start!


As I was leaving T1, I was excited to be on the bike.  After having that shoulder issue from Pedalfest and then having it aggravated again at the Brawl, I haven't been on my bike in almost three weeks. I knew that this might not bode well for me, but I was excited to jump on my chariot again.  I got clipped in fairly fast, and was off.  I then noticed as I was on the main road that my bike computer wasn't working.  What the?  I fumbled with the buttons, and though it was on, it wasn't getting any read on the distance, or speed.  Dangit!  How was I going to know how fast I was going?  I knew that data would be on my watch, but that is on my wrist in smaller print, not right in front of me like the bike computer.  I decided that I would just have to suck it up on and go on my perceived effort and how I was feeling.

I loved this bike course in that I am familiar with most of it.  The first third of the course was part of the Ogden Marathon course, and then parts of it were in the Ragnar relay.  I enjoyed the scenery of the changing colors in the mountains with fall, and loved the fact that this was a course with some light rolling hills, but nothing too major.  I passed some people, and had a hand full pass me, but nothing major.  I loved the entire ride and felt great and comfortable the whole time.  I was excited to round the final bend on the dam, but also sad to have the bike portion done.  I never know how the run is going to go, so I hoped this wasn't going to be the end of a great race so far.  I had done well on staying hydrated on the bike, even though I didn't feel that I needed it, I just wanted to prepare for the run.  Worked quite well actually!

FINAL BIKE TIME: 55:16 for an average of 17.8 mph...and 9th in my age group for this part.


Pretty uneventful transition. I thought it went fast, but apparently not as fast as I thought. My time for T2 was 1:36...11th in my age group.  Something to work on!


I left T2 feeling good.  I didn't have the lead leg feeling and I was happy to be in the final leg of this race. I felt that I had a great day so far, and I was ready to go hard on the run and hopefully show improvement from past races.  I had a Gu right as I left transition, and washed it down with a quick water.  The run portion started  on the road and was there for about 3/4 of a mile, then threw something at me I wasn't expecting.  It veered off onto a trail, where it would stay the remainder of the 4 miles.  It wasn't just a dirt sidewalk kind of trail, but like a hiking kind of trail that runs along the shoreline on the east part of the lake.  I am not a trail runner.  This is something that has interested me in the past, but nothing I have done.  The trail was pretty, and it was narrow, but there was lots of ups and downs and it was rocky in many places.  One bonus of this trail was it was also largely shaded.  I found myself doing well, feeling great and LOVING this run!  I decided then and there that trail running is definitely in my future.  I glanced at my Timex several times to get my pace and noticed that I was averaging 10:30 a mile, which is great under any conditions for me lately, but on a rocky trail, this was awesome!  I loved every part of this run and was sad to see it end.  I felt great, and knew that I had done well, for me anyhow.  I made sure to enjoy the final mile of the run, enjoying the view, listening to the finish line in the distance, and getting excited to finish.  When I got to where the trial hit pavement and the final part of the race, I did a suicide sprint to the end.  It felt awesome to finish like that.  FINAL RUN TIME was 44:11...this was #9 in my age group.  For 4.1 miles of trails, I am VERY happy with this time.


After the race, I was happy to see the kids and Ken at the finish.  Ken is a rock star for coming to all my races and entertaining the kids that get easily bored.  He has only missed one or two of my 17 races so far, and I love him for it. I couldn't to this with out his support.  As much as my kids DON"T like coming to races, I enjoy having them there.

I was excited to see that as I crossed the finish line, they handed me a finisher's medal, pictured right.  I was thrilled for this because as this the fourth tri I have done, but the FIRST to give me a medal.  Coming from my running back ground, I am used to getting one at most races that I do.  I couldn't be more proud of my first tri medal ever!  Yeah TriUtah for doing medals!  Stupid thing to care about, but I am all about the race bling!

I went and gave my family a hug, showed them my medal, and grabbed the good food they had at the finish.  They had tons of water bottles,  fruit, cookies, and anything you would want.  I snuck a few for my hungry and impatient children.  I went to see if they had the results posted, but only for the top 3 in every age group.  Dangit, I would have to wait until I got home to see the final results online.  I ran into a few people I had met before the race (people are always SO friendly at these things).  I could tell that Ken and the kids were ready to go, so I didn't visit for too long and then I grabbed my stuff from transition and we left.


My final time for this sprint was 2:07:17.  I placed #7 overall for my age group.  I was only 7 and half minutes behind #3, so if I had been that much faster I would have podiumed. I have been like this for every tri I have done this year, and although I love that I am doing well, I hate being so close but not quite there yet.  I am determined to change this next season :)

LESSONS LEARNED:  I think that what I took away from this race is that I am reminded once again that I need to work on speed.  I have always trained for distance, and not speed.  I am going to focus on these short distances in the future and work on getting really fast at them.  With my new watch, I am hoping to really work on the run.  I am going to practice transitions in my drive way to shave off any time that I can in the areas that should be easy.  I am glad to see improvement though overall

This was a great race.  The venue was spectacular.  I loved that it was kinda like a home town race in that I was familiar with the area and most of that course.  TriUtah does a wicked good job of putting on a race.  The best organized tri I have done yet.  Everything went smoothly, the course was well marked and they remembered little details like cowbells handed out for the spectators.  My kids LOVED that.  I will definitely do this race again.

What's next?  T-minus 21 days till the St. George Marathon.  I can't wait for that!  Though I am sad that it is my season ender :(

Happy Training all!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Man vs Mud Run Report

This really a race report best done by pictures.  I know this is two weeks overdue, but with being back to school and class, it is what it is.  Anyhow, any write up I did any way wouldn't do it justice to just SEEING what it was like.  It was unlike any race I have ever done, and it was purely for fun.  I did it with some great girls, and it was a blast!  Some parts were just plain nasty, but I have to admit, it does feel pretty rock star like to army crawl through mud :)  I would do it again, and plan on it next year!