Friday, February 25, 2011

End of Feb

Not too much has happened since Red Top Rumble..we spent the majority of the month stressing out over whether or not we'd ever be able to close on the new house since our lender couldn't seem to file paperwork over the course of almost two months, and every two day extension of the contract created an extra three days of paperwork. We are FINALLY supposed to close on this coming Monday.

I have (hopefully) my final obligation as a civil engineer this weekend at a Technical Conference that I helped plan. Such a let down to see that it will be 73 degrees on Sunday and I'll be stuck inside. The Conference is at Winshape Retreat in Rome, which I hear is beautiful so maybe I'll sneak out early for some runs..

Speaking of which, my body seems to have a hard time with being a "runner". My knee is a bit aggravated, and seems to feel better after I do a long ride, but then I'm tired for the next run and it is a viscious cycle. My first bike "race" this year is the Cohutta 65 and my training is going to consist of one long SS ride each week. We'll see how far that takes me, as I'm too eager to get started on new house projects than ride my bike at the moment. I figure if I go into the event with the "I don't give a damn" attitude, then I'll probably actually do much better.

Next weekend there is a local 5k that I figured I'd do as part of my tempo run workout for the was not well publicized, so it will probably be me against the Cherokee High Cross Country Team..probably not the best odds. After that is Frogtown backwards and then a break until the Cohutta 65.

The Dirty Duathlon race is filling up nicely and we'll have some other events this fall that we will be excited to announce in the coming weeks!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Red Top Rumble 11.5 Mile Trail Run

I was one of the lucky 300 racers who got into the Red Top Rumble before the race filled up in 24 hours, so that is where I spent Sunday morning. I didn't really have a strategy...go hard, go fast, maybe win?? I've been working on my running, though I have been following a 5k training plan, so I figured I might have a case of early race speed that fades at the end.

The start was surprisingly pleasnant. We started off at about 6:15 pace, though it was downhill so it felt pretty easy. The first 3.5 miles were on the gently rolling Iron Hill trail, which I know well and knew I could pretty easily run 6:45 pace. By the end of that section I only had 3 guys in front of me, which I totally did not expect (figured there would be way more in front of me), and I averaged 6:30 pace..right on target, though I could see a couple of ladies behind me in the switchbacks.

Once off the Iron Hill trail, the climbs started...lots of them as we went around the Homestead Trail. At about the 5 mile mark, I entered the Homestead Loop and still saw two women about 20 seconds back. I tried to push up the hills and hammer the downhills. At about 8 miles, the gap was still about the same, but now there was only one woman chasing me. I'll admit, I wasn't super confident since my longest run is 7-8 miles and I knew it would take a really good day for me to not slow down to some degree over the last three miles.

And I did..the climbs started to take their toll and over the next two miles, my chaser was able to close the gap. She passed me with about a mile to go. I chased on the downhill, but just couldn't stay with her on the final long climbs. Eating some Gels during the race may have helped..if I could have just maintained the gap, I might have been able to hang on to the end. I was tired though, and just couldn't turn my legs over fast enough. The race was one mile too long and I had to settle for second.

On the upside, I beat the fastest previous winning times by almost 2 minutes and I ran faster than I thought I would. My average pace was faster than my goal and I believe I was 7th overall, which is quite a feat considering this was a road runners course (meaning non-technical).

I think I may stick with running and might up my mileage a bit so I don't fade quite as much at longer events. I'm still debating running the Frogtown course backwards in March, but I haven't convinced myself that I want to run through a mile-long, likely near freezing creek section.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

December/January Recap

I've had several folks wondering when I'm going to update my blog, so here goes. We spent the second half of December up in Chicago visiting family and believe it or not, the weather was actually better up there than it was in Atlanta when we returned.

Before we headed up there, I was out riding around and saw that my "dream home" in the area was up for sale again...and this time it was a foreclosure, so it was actually within the realm of possibility. So after much hmming and hawing and lots of hours with lenders, inspectors, and realtors, we have a contract on this house.

This home is on 3.2 acres and most importantly, it is the same distance to the trails as our current home. It is also about a 3-4 minute walk from the front door to this waterfall.

Needless to say, with an impending move, I've been pretty busy with cleaning up our current house and countless trips to Goodwill and incessant Craigslist posting in an attempt to get rid of at least 50% of the 15 years worth of crap that is taking up the majority of our current basement.

At the beginning of January, I officially quit my engineering job to stay home with Jayden. Everyone is right...they grow up way too fast and I'd never forgive myself if I didn't spend these first few years with her as much as possible.

Training has been few and far between because I haven't really been motivated, mostly due to the weather (an entire week of snowy and icy roads) and the fact that I've been busy with the Dirty Duathlon planning, Jayden, and lots of cleaning and little tasks to get our current home ready for sale.

I did two cyclocross races in January, against my better judgement. The first was after the week of snow, mostly because I was feeling guilty that I didn't do any sort of moderately strenuous activity that week (does lifting boxes count???). The course was a mess and so was I. After not riding any bikes for a while, I don't know why I thought I'd be able to handle my cross bike in the mud. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.

After falling down and countless foot dab saves, I told myself I would get out and ride my cross bike before the State Championship race the following weekend. Never happened, shame on me.

I woke up with a headache and upset stomach, debated skipping the State Champs, but figured I'd regret it if I didn't go. After an extra hour of rolling around in bed, I finally got everything packed up (minus my spiked bike shoes which would have come in handy...) and we headed to Rome.

So again, by the time we race, we get another slick course that I just couldn't seem to get in the groove on. I got tangled up with a rider in front of me early in the race, had a slow recovery, and it just went downhill from there. There was even a great run up that I couldn't take advantage of since my shoes were sliding all around. Super poop. I somehow managed to hang onto 3rd place, but it was not pretty. I think the jersey I wore is cursed!

So that is the only exciting news thus far in 2011. I've been going to the pool with Jayden, so I think that is what I'm going to keep doing until the sun starts shining again, the temps get above 50 and all the mud goes away.

Chris and I are running in the Red Top Rumble in two weeks. I can't say I'm in as good of running shape as I'd hoped, but I am in better running shape than I've ever been in the past, so I guess that is a positive. We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recovery Week Here I Come!

Well, I made it through three weeks of running specific training and am still vertical. I only have to run three days a week, but they are hard runs, especially the track workout. I'm seeing huge gains right now, which will unfortunately start getting smaller and smaller as I get faster. I'm in the low 19's for 5k, but really would like to be around 18:30. I seem to be retarded when it comes to running really fast, so I'm not sure I could ever consistently run BELOW a 6 minute mile pace for any great distance. I guess time will tell...

Chris and I were lucky enough to get a spot in the already sold out Red Top Rumble, so at least I have a running race to look forward to in February. My goal is 1:25 or better for the 11.5 mile course. That equates to a 7:23 pace, which over a short distance is easy, but add in some large hills and the extra distance and it becomes quite a challenge. I do my long tempo runs at Red Top Mtn anyways, so I may start doing them on the race course to see what average pace I can maintain.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Running in Progress

So I bit the bullet and bought my first pair of racing flats the other day. I figured they would be better on the track than my knobby Inov-8 X-Talon shoes. I'm following an actual running training plan (gasp!) and it is awesome because it tells me how far, what pace, etc. So I really feel like I'm training with a purpose. The paces are pretty high, as it is the "Run Less, Run Faster" plan, but I can already see a huge improvement. I started a couple of weeks ago with enough running fitness to do a 20 minute 5K. After just 3 weeks, at that same perceived exertion level, I can take about 30 seconds off of that, maybe more. The best part is that I can COMFORTABLY run 6:30 pace, which before was pushing me pretty hard. It is amazing how much easier running is becoming, so I'm anxious to see where I'm at at the end of the 16 week training plan.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Marietta Cyclocross

Whew, fun day at Jim Miller Park. If last week wasn't bad enough with a three way battle for 2nd place, this week was a four way battle between Kim S., Amanda, Rebecca G. and I.

I got a good start and tried to mount an early attack through the chicane of ditches, but I took it too agressively and clipped my pedal in the grass - ok, yes I had it leaned a bit too much. I recovered, but was off my line and had to slow down so that attack failed. For the next 2.5 laps, I led my 3 chasers around the course which was both good and bad. I could ease up when I wanted, speed up when I wanted, but they were also drafting off me. I tried to keep the pace steady and hoped at least one of them would pop. I didn't want to mount an attack against a group that large as I figured there were too many of them to launch counter attacks while I was tired. Plus I just didn't have much more horsepower than what my legs were producing. I tried to push it up the run up, but never seemed to be able to shake my chasers for very long. The flattish nature of the course made it hard to get away and I'm not very good at launching attacks anywhere that isn't uphill or technical...and there wasn't a whole lot of that today. I need some lessons in being a roadie!

On the final lap, I sat up on the flat paved section, hoping someone would take the lead so I could draft. Rebecca and Kim went and I hopped on their wheel. I think this was a mistake because Rebecca led through the ditch chicane, which really slowed Kim and I down, but we couldn't pass. I passed Kim after the barriers, then passed Rebecca before the hill climb. I kept the pace high enough so that it would have been really tough for the others to pass up the climb. I figured the run up was my best bet to gain a small gap.

When I hit the run up, I ran as hard as I could, which worked well to put a bit of distance between myself and two of the chasing pack, but I could not shake Rebecca. She was right on me down into the field. I tried to hold her off but she was able to power by on the final finishing straight and cross the line first by a couple of seconds. Argh! So close! So I had to settle for 3rd for the day, but could have easily been 5th considering how strong everyone was riding.

I'm now taking a little break from cross until the season finale and State Championship in January. It has been so hard to train while racing every weekend, and I'd like to ride my bike more than 3 hours a week. I've also been doing some running specific training which I've been slowly easing into. The nice part about the running training is that the total running time is 3 hours or less a week, but the runs are hard enough to make you get faster...and fast. I've already seen an improvement from doing just a couple of runs on the track.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to increase male attendance at CX races...

This photo was taken by Todd Kaminski at the Life College Halloween CX Race. Thankfully I did not have any wardrobe malfunctions while wearing this outfit, and the skirt did not get caught on my saddle on the dismounts...

I CAN say that I've seen more photos taken of me in this race than any other...perhaps we need to rethink the OutSpokin' team kits for next year! I know us ladies could rock the school girl skirt!