Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Breaking it down in Birmingham! Mercedes Half Marathon Race Report

After my successful 14 mile run at an 8:22 pace I collectively kept thoughts in the back of my mind for the Mercedes Marathon/Half marathon on Feb 15. There were 8 others going down - so there was no doubt it was sure to be a GOOD time. 6 of them planning to do the full and 2 to do the half. So, the plan was -- just in case I decide that I wanted to go to Birmingham and shoot for a half marathon PR, I'd need to run around 10 miles on the Friday before. That's exactly what I did. Starting the week off with a hard core swim class on Monday, a 5 mile run on Tuesday, another run on Wednesday, a trainer ride on Thursday and Friday I met the group at 4:15am and they did 12 miles and I did 10. Somehow I managed to once again crank out an 8:22 pace for the 10 miles in 1:23. It was then that I planned to do Mercedes half. I planned this specifically shooting for a PR, which would mean that I'd need to break my 2006 Memphis half mary time of 1:55. I kept saying I was really going for a 1:50 though. I wanted a 1:50. After doing the math, better than a 1:50 was totally out of reach for me. I knew a 1:50 would be pretty darn painful.... but I wanted it.

So the following week I kinda tapered down a little and did two 5 mile runs, swim class on Monday and Wednesday night, Advanced spin class on Tuesday night and nothing on Friday or Saturday. Saturday the plan was that all of us runners met in town at 12 noon and headed to the 'ham. It was a fun ride down - flew by!! Tim can drive the fastest 72mph that I've ever seen. We got to the expo and I got registered, etc... we shopped around for awhile and then headed back to the hotel where my parents met us! :-) About an hour later we all decided dinner was in order. We headed to Olive Garden for a valentines/pre-race pasta feast. It was fantastic!!

I think I got in bed around 11 that night. Not ideal but about par for my course. Alarm went off at 5:15am... oh my... I'm tired. I got up around 5:45am and got dressed, ate an oats and honey bar, drank 2 cups of water and off to the lobby we go! Everyone converged, chit-chatted, took a few pics & headed to the start line.

The start line was cool. They were playing U2's "Where the Streets have no Name." All nine of us high-fived each other, wished each other luck, said our goodbyes and off we go!!! "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP........BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.........BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP" The chips were ringing - my GOSH that is a beautiful sound!! MUSIC TO MY EARS!!!! :-) Gives me chills just thinking about it. I ran with Tim & Lee for about the first half mile, then Tammie, Holly & Jonathon until about mile 4. Then I was on my own - just me and the asphalt and the other bad asses huffing and puffing all around me trying to beat an 8 min pace. I was feeling great. I saw my parents again and they were cheering loud!!! It was so fun to have them there! My first 3 miles was 23 min & change. I took water at mile 3 water station. Water again at mile 5. Mile 6 I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. My 10K split time was 48:56. 7:54 pace overall. Hmmm... that tells me I have some time in the bank for a 1:50. However - anything can still happen. Mile 7 I took powerade. I was needing it - I could tell. Mile 8 - I felt like sh%t. I was really noticing the intensity of the pace I had been running. I was wondering if I would even make it!!! So I took a GU. Vanilla. I remembered Lana saying you MUST chase them with water or the stomach will reject. So I chased with H20 and thought "If this doesnt work a miracle I am toast. I have pushed too hard" I kept noticing prior to this on my garmin I was hitting several 7:45's. Right around mile 9.5 I suddenly found some life!!! My 10 mile time was exactly 1:20.I believe that is exactly an 8 min pace overall. I knew that the week prior I had run 10 miles in 1:23. It was encouraging to know I still had time in the bank for the 1:50! I felt somewhat decent but then at mile 11 I felt really rough again. But hey - it's mile 11!! You still gotta push. Do not give up now! I felt like I was stomping a few times - the hills were plentiful! The downhills were almost just as hard on me. I passed up the last water stop at mile 12 and went all out for the finish line!! I could hear the crowds, I could hear the announcer & I was PUMPED! I turned it on!!! This was it - right here! Get on your horse... I spotted my dad on the left side of the finish line and found my mom. Total finish time - 1:45:16. Wow! I was so shocked and SOOOO happy! :-) I never thought a 1:45 was in my reach. That is an overall pace of 8:03. Of course I'd like for my overall pace to start with a "7" but I'll take that 8:03 all day long!

After the race I hung around for a few minutes watching others finish, then mom and I went to the hotel room and I took about a 40 minute HOT shower! She fixed me some coffee and had it waiting on me when I got out! It was OH so good because I was FROZEN! I headed back down to the finish line just in time to see my peeps finish the full. They are all so awesome!!! These times are approximate. Jonathan did a 3:31, Holly J did a 3:44, Lee did a 3:46, Tim did a 3:52, Tammie did a 3:54, and Heather did a 4:11. Great races for all of them!!! Amazing! John D and Jay B also did the half with me - John pumped out a 1:54 & Jay brought it home with a 2:01!

When all of our guys got in, Dad and I headed to the free lunch/free beer party, then back to the hotel to pack up and come home! It was such a fun weekend and my 1:45 half mary time made it that much sweeter!

Monday when the final results were posted I saw that I had finished 27th out of 275 in my age group! Jonathan placed 6th in his age group and Tammie actually placed 3rd in her age group!!!! Congratulations everyone!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Good Times, good runs, good spins, decent swims... and more good times!

I have GOT to start blogging more often so that I don't get so far behind! Ok, just where we left off last Tuesday I attended the 6:30pm advanced spin class taught by the famous instructer, Don.\ What a class! Ten minutes into it, I was dripping sweat from my chin and we never let up! The music is just awesome - you can really get the most of out spin with the right music. I did some weights and lunges before and after the class, and enough abs that I am STILL sore from them - a week later. I never workout my abs and boy can I tell! I feel like I've broken a few ribs! Wednesday night I ran 5 miles on the treadmill and then attended the master's swim class again. I really enjoyed the class and felt like I was making some progress. There are still a few moments during each class that I will be swimming along and all of the sudden I will get a real PANIC feeling - like I am smothering under the water and can't hear, can't breathe and just feel like I need to BAIL!!! It's so unnatural. Swimming is for fish - not humans. I just HAPPEN to require oxygen for crying outloud. After swim class it was Winger's Wednesday - and you know what that means. "Triathlets gone Wild." Several of us met at Manchester's finest new establishment for wings and drinks. What better way to wind down for the evening? Thursday I did nothing in anticipation for the group run at 3:45am Friday morning. Everyone who is going to Birmingham had 14 miles to cover. Holly only had 10 - just because I am in my own world and not thinking of Birmingham Mercedes Mary. So, I rise outta bed at 3:15, and meet everyone at 3:45. We covered almost 8 miles before we got back to our original meeting spot where we met Ros. Well, that means I have 2 more to go. Everyone starts telling me I can push on and just do the 14 with them... I'm like "No way guys... 10 is good enough." Somehow, someway I ended up going on for the 14. Am I that easily persuaded, even in pain? What is wrong with me? LOL. And this run happened to be my best run of all times I do believe. 14 miles in 1:57, which was an 8:22 overall pace. Un-freakin-believable for a chik like me. I don't run that fast. I am a 9 min girl. On a good day :-) I gave it just about all I had - not to mention the HILLS!!! I owe it to the great people I was running with to push me!! Thank you, Tim, Holly, Heather, Tammie, Lee, Lana, Jonathon. I was PUMPED all day long about it... and my hip flexor felt broken along with a few blisters on my feet. 14 miles is my longest run since CMM last year. I was so on top of the world!

But after work my world got sleepy..... and I had to come home and crash!! I took a 2.5 hour napper and it was total bliss! I got up and Jamie and I went out and found a little fun to dabble into.

I slept until 1pm on Saturday!!! Well.. my phone was blowing up so I didn't sleep continuously till 1pm, but mostly. Ahhh... can't get enough :-) Got up and headed for the pool. I swam 1500 yds - half of it freestyle and half of it pull with paddles. Then I headed upstairs for about 25 min of weights and lunges. I was surprised my legs would lunge even one time after Friday's unexpected 14 mile run, but they never even really got sore? Weird?

Saturday night rolls around and it's a little bitta shopping for the girls, little bitta Outbacker and martinis for the girls - and little bitta roosta for the girls. But hot diggity-dog... I ran into so many people I went to college with and even some of my running buddies! Hell I even found a long-lost cousin's ex in there! It was fantastic! This was a really late/early morning for us!!! Which brings us to Sunday for mountain biking. Several of us met out at the base and rode. The weather was amazing and we met some new people from Hermitage. This made me want to go back for more!! The trail was in great shape except for one muddy section.

Superbowl Sunday, here we come. We went to two different parties. Party 2, we crashed hard. Jay and Tammie were the gracious hosts in their beautiful home and I'm telling ya what - they did it up RIGHT! It was "triathletes gone wild" all over again except it was escalated a bit this time! :-) It was good times for all - and ya know... there's something special about people who you can suffer with on long runs or rides and then turn around and party with. I love it!

This morning the news came out for the Bonnaroo lineup. I have been anxiously waiting - since June 2008. lol. Looks like it's gonna be pretty decent but not Pink Floyd like I hoped. Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Beastie Boys but the best part is -- MERLE HAGGARD! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Turning up the heat again!

I'm ba---aaaack :-) Wow. Where do I start? First, let me say it's good to be back. I hate it when I skip about a month of blogging and then so much has happened that I haven't a clue of what is most important or the most entertaining to blog about. At any rate, I'll try to condense it all down into the quick version or at least the things that I can somewhat remember.

The new year was pretty good. I've had better and I've had worse :-/ I won the Flash's Bowls contest for the college bowl games this year. I have never even placed in the top 10 of this contest and somehow I guess the bowl god's saw it fit to drop that $535 plus the crown right, down into my hands this year. I am greatful! What do I do with the? Hmmm... lots of ideas. Vegas? Time trial bike? XBox plus Rock Band? Save it? I dunno.... it will be used fashionably well regardless :-)

The Masters Swim program kicked off at the rec 2 weeks ago. This is fuuuuun! I am improving quite a bit and learning a lot about form and slowly making some progress. I like it because it is sure to get me in the pool a minimum of twice per week. Now if I can just keep from getting lapped multiple times in the Ironman Lane!!! lol. Another fun aspect of this activity involves going out for dinner and drinks with my fantastic swim buddies on Wed nights. The people who I train with are so awesome. They are not only training partners, but they are friends and almost feel like family to me. They encourage me so much and I appreciate that so much! It's like they have never given up on me.... thanks guys :-) The encouraging emails, text messages, & phone calls have meant the world to me. Dylana & Jamie - thank you for all that you know you have done. All the late nights and early mornings! ha! And last but not least, Bethany has been there. She has SOOO been there.

I have not done as little as you might think. Overall, I have stayed pretty consistent. Not neccesarily gaining, but not losing either. I think there was about 1 week right around Christmas when I didn't do a thing, but other than that I have tried to get in 2-4 runs per week, a swim or two here and there and 1 or 2 trainer rides per week. I have GOT to get on my mountain bike. I am starting to crave it and Leslie is going to help me get there :-) This past week was one of my best week's so far. Sunday was a 6.5 mile run with my peeps. Most of them are training for the Birmingham marathon and did 20-22, but Leslie and I are not - so we opted for a 6.5 mile out and back. Good run! I needed it!!!! Then I went in to the rec and swam for about 40 minutes. Monday I did a 40 minute trainer ride, then onto Masters swim for the evening. Tuesday - nothing but rest. I needed that too! Wednesday I ran 4.5 miles, then onto master's swim, then onto dinner and drinks with the group. Good times!!! Thursday I did a 4 mile run at lunch and Friday morning I broke my record. The earliest I have ever met this hard core group of friends for a run is 4am. Well I met them at 3:30am Friday morning. They did 16, and dropped me off at the rec at 8.33 miles at an 8:50 pace. Wow - they really push me! I am always close to 9 min miles give or take 10-20 seconds if I run solo. I pushed hard to stay with them! This was my longest run in probably 2-3 months. I even went into the rec and busted out 2/3 of a lap of lunges around the track and a very very few arm weights. I gotta get goin on that - before you know it, April will be here and my sleeveless shirts will be begging me to lift weights with my arms!

So, what is my plan??? Well... it's hard to say. Until I can get a good reading of how my swim is going to turn out it's just difficult to predict or even plan. I am wanting to follow a half ironman training program for the bike and run portions.... and hopefully the swim will follow suit - but obviously I have a LOT of improving to do before I can even fathom the idea of doing an open water swim - much less in the ocean. So, my plans for 2009 just aren't in stone yet. I know I have some goals - and that is good enough for now. I would like to pick my swim up to be able to do a couple of triathlons this year. And the MS 150 Jack and Back.

Other mischellaneous items: I went to the Titans playoffs game. Lana and I have had some "fun girls" nights :-) I think I've gained about 3 lbs :-( I've read a really awesome book called "Bounce Back" and have picked back up on the Total Immersion - Triathlon Swimming book. I have considered med school.... and had a lot of other crazy but true ideas. I am learning a lot about myself!! Scary stuff, man :-) Attended the 2009 Mach Tenn/Highland Rimmers Winter party.. And I am having fun! The pictures are worth a thousand words.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Compassion is the basis of all morality." Arthur Schopenhauer

Each & everyone of us makes mistakes daily. We all mess up. We don't always have good intentions. We say things to hurt. We even do things to hurt. We have feelings and those feelings get stepped on. Therefore, we are vengeful. We get our hearts broken. We are a self-seeking society. We make poor decisions. We don't always learn from mistakes & we add to those poor decisions. How do we get off-track? What gets us in these situations? We are human. We are SO imperfect. We are SO undeserving. We walk this earth with our hands and our hearts extended out. We always want more. Our hearts long to be loved by people who are never capable of loving. While all of these things seem disheartening, it's dropping to another level below any kind of general mistakes or bad attitudes.

This world is changing, my friends. Anything goes. Literally - anything. I am having a hard time adjusting to this. Commitments & promises have lost all value. Standards & morals are practically non-existent. Devilish offers & invitations are gladly accepted among those whom you would never imagine. Those who are closest to you. It is gut-wrenching. People you love turn against you and scrape below the surface of the earth. Betrayal & rejection are two emotions that way too many good people here in this world are getting double-doses of. Does anyone have any self-value?

It seems as if everything is changing all around us. Perhaps it seems abundantly clear to me because of some of the circumstances I have (unfortunately) been exposed to. But as Jake & I were just discussing last night, "What ever happened to morality?" Could you guys help me out and explain what EVER happened to morality? Why are the most immoral acts to mankind suddenly acceptable & popular? When did people simply become objects? What happened to respect & compassion? What makes us think we can abuse what God has so graciously blessed us with? If you can't find any self-respect, where is your pride? There is absolutely no shame. Discouraging, to say the least.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The more I'm around people, the more I like dogs!

Well... today is a special day! It's Hattie's 3rd birthday. I have had such a great 3 years with her and this sounds silly, but I can't imagine not having her. She continues to be such a blessing in my life & I am very thankful to be her owner!! She has been an angel to me in a lot of different little ways. After the loss of Wrigley, I have been even MORE aware of how much I enjoy her. Even when it's annoying to make sure she's gone out enough, make sure she has food & water, etc.... it's still fun. It's fun because I love her. And isn't that what life is REALLY all about? I enjoy loving. It's just me. It gets me in trouble sometimes because it isn't always reciprocated back..... and that's when another life lesson is learned. At the end of each day/week/month/year I think the pro's of this "hang-up" of mine should probably outweigh the cons. So, I'm just gonna keep on loving. Cause that's who I am. Right or wrong, different or indifferent, painful or easy, strong or weak - I can't change who I am. How's that? :-)
So, I'm starting to notice a difference in the lifeguards when I walk into the pool area. They don't seem so stressed and worried anymore. Today is the first day that the lifeguard did not put on his/her whistle, grab the enlarged hotdog looking float & climb up in his chair. He actually sat in a regular office chair in front of the office & didn't seem to be in the "ready" position! LOL. That means somebody must be makin progress!!!!!!!!!!!! Woot! Woot!! Why can't I have this lifeguard? I bet I'd never get any better because I'd be so distracted. LOL.

Monday I ran 4 miles on the treadmill, then swam for 25 minutes. This was my best swim so far. Not that any of them are worth saying I am actually continuously swimming, but as far as me surviving - my survival rate was highest on this day. Tuesday I slept a little later and got my workout in at lunch. I ran 6 miles in 51:48 at an 8:38 pace. This morning I got up at 4:50, got on my trainer and did a tough 1 hour ride, then threw on my swimsuit, packed my work clothes & headed to the pool for a 30 minute swim. I only swam 700 yards, BUT I am getting more comfortable each time. I am not scared to death anymore & I am actually anxious to see improvement. Still..... stopping between each lap. :-( I've got to figure out a way to swim the RIGHT way to where I am not smoked after 50 yds. To the best of my knowledge, there is no triathlon with just a 50 yard swim!

Tomorrow I plan to do a 5 mile run & then on Friday I want to do nothing but a 1 hour swim before work. This may be where I see great improvement! Well - that's what I'm hoping for!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving '08 - Food, Poker, Shopping & Swimming

The Sain family seems to be recovering from their loss of Wrigley. It has not been easy though. Wrigley will always live in our hearts. I will continue to pray for them.

Overall, this has been a lighter week for me. Now for the play-by-play...

Monday morning I got up and did a 1 hour trainer ride before work. Afterwards, I tried to mix in some squats instead of lunges to see if I could work some different muscles. I did 40 squats, but felt no soreness at all the next day :-/ I finished out the day at work & Hattie & I headed out to my parents' and spent the night! I don't think we have ever done that before!! I was so exhausted I passed out into one of the deepest sleeps ever by 10pm!! Early for me!

Tuesday morning I got up & headed for the rec. I bundled up in my cold gear & fleece & did a very very very frigid & stiff 5 mile run through town. Geez - it was frigggggin cold!!!! I was hating it, to be honest. Then the hard part was next. Convincing my frozen body to move towards the door of the rec center & jump in the pool. Thank God the water was warmer than normal!! I didn't have a lot of time, but I managed to get in 25 minutes, and that is 25 minutes of much needed time in the water. Better than zero minutes. This time I only did 2 laps of 1-arm drills & the rest I swam. It went pretty darn well considering how terrible I am! I am not as afraid anymore. This is the girl who (3 weeks ago) would not swim past the shallow end. At this point - Holly Jane is surviving in the pool! :-))) It is nothing short of a miracle. I promise! Ask Lana! I am the one who is too embarrased of signing up even for a beginner class. My idea of swimming has always been floating around in shoulder deep water with a float in one hand & a frosty beverage in the other. Freestyle has never been in my future. But today is a new day :-) I still do not claim to be an actual "swimmer," so you guys don't get your hopes up. I'm just in the water!! lol. Lana & I went to Jack's for lunch & had a good hearty vegetable lunch! Yummm... That night momma came over & we cooked green bean casseroles & chess pies for Thanksgiving. It was fun for both of us!!!

Wednesday morning I went into work early so that I wouldn't be there all evening on Thanksgiving Eve. At lunchtime Lana joined me for a 6 mile run. I had planned to do lunges & remembered at 3:00 that afternoon while sitting at work. Darn. Oh well - it's technically Thanksgiving. Skip them.

On Turkey day I slept until about 9am, & we all gathered at my parents' for good times & good food!! I felt as if I could eat, and eat, and eat.... and never stop. This was my official rest day. I soaked it up & by taking a nap & then playing poker that night. Fun!

Friday afternoon I got up at like.... 12 noon. LOL. And I got on my trainer & rode for 1:15 - I guess I added the extra 15 minutes to burn off that extra 1500 calories I took in. :-/ Then I did 4 sets of 10 pushups. And I can still feel those 4 sets in my back, shoulders & around my armpits! That means I need to do them much more often. That evening I met Bethany at O'Charley's for beverages. Then to Lana's for more poker!

So, Saturday afternoon (yep I did it again) Hattie actually beat me out of bed! Now that is bad. Finally at 1:00pm she came and sat on the couch. That's embarrasing!!! Even the dog couldn't stand it any longer. lol. So, I managed to throw on some workout clothes, pack a swimsuit & towel & literally forced myself to the rec. This was one of those days where I tried 100 different ways to convince myself I didn't need to workout. KNOWING in my brain - that I needed it in a million different ways. Bethany messaged me the following: "4 miles in 48 minutes!" Way to ROCK it girl! Ok, Holly get your boo-tay UP & stop feeling sorry for yourself! A million beats a hundred & so I found myself on a treadmill running 5 miles in 47:20. I did about 15 minutes of upper body weights & scooted on down to the locker room where I changed into my swimsuit. I swam for 30 minutes. I saw a slight improvement again. That is my 9th trip to the pool. After taking a shower, I headed to the boro and somehow managed to spend $580 at the Avenue. Geez....... dangerous shopping trip!!!!

Lana gave me the book "Total Immersion - Triathlon Swimming Made Easy." I read 5 chapters the first day. That is unheard of for me!!! I get bored reading. It is really good & it's discussing how important balance is. And how you must become "ONE" with the water & swim "slippery." LOL. I'm heading to the rec bright & early in the morning to run & then try this swimming thing again!

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving!