Monday, June 24, 2013

Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic triathlon: race recap

I'm currently in the USO lounge at BWI waiting for a space-a flight, for a whole other adventure, but I'll try to get in a quick recap of my race yesterday. I completed the Olympic distance at Rev3 in Williamsburg, VA.

My friend D and I drove up to Williamsburg on Saturday morning, and got in around 3:30. We headed straight to the expo, and picked up my packet. It included my bib, bike stickers, stickers for the dry clothes bag and swim to bike bag, race number tattoos, swim cap, wrist band, timing chip and strap, and a blue Rev3 visor. We attended the race brief, with all the usual rules and course information, found my spot in the bike to run transition area, then headed down to the swim to bike area to check in my bike.

The drive to the first transition area was crowded and took about 15 minutes. I dropped my bike in my numbered spot, then walked down to the beach to look at the water. It really didnt look that bad.

After a team dinner with Team RWB, D and I crashed by 9pm at the super sketchy Super 8motel. The only good thing about this was how close it was to the start/finish area. We woke up at 4:30 and headed over by 5. Of course we got lost on the way and ended up walking an ended up going an extra half mile, in the rain, but got there in plenty of time to set up for transition 2. And then stand in line for 20 minutes for the buses to T1. By tghe time we got to the front of the line, they started front loading everyone who was doing tghe half, since their swim start was abiut 20 minutes away. We finally got down there though, checked my wet bike, set up T1, and headed to the beach to pull on my wetsuit.

My swim wave started right on time, and I was so busy walking around watching the first few waves and petting dogs that I almost missed the announcement for my wave. No time cor nerves! If I had known how the swim would go, I would have been considerably more scared.

The swim start was pretty good. It was so shallow we were able to walk almost 200 meters if you wanted to. After that, though, it got rough. It was raining at the beginning of the day, and the currents were sporadic. The first couple hundred meters were mostly me trying to get a rhythm, but after the first turn, I felt like I was swimming in one of those endless pools. No matter what I did, crawl, backstroke, breast stroke, the next buoy never got closer. To make matters worse, my calf cramped up something terrible, leaving me to crawl with my foot flexed trying to stretch it out without going backwards. At one point I did catch a current for maybe 75 meters, and took advantage to backstroke and calm down. The lifeguards were pretty far between, and I usually try not to grab on to them, but this time I had to just to stretch out. I got to the final turn, and just focused on the finish. I walked the last 100 meters or so, and I just knew the hard part was over. I wasn't dead last, there was someone in my wave right behind me, and obviously I didn't meet my goal of a 30 minute swim, but oh well.

The rest did seem pretty easy. The bike was rolling with great momentum. What goes down must go up seemed to be a theme. I took two gels, and, Except for a short moment, felt great.

The run course was also pretty great. There was one big hill, and very narrow, But not bad at all. My stomach did a good imitation of the water earlier, though, and I had to stop a few times to keep from throwing up. I finally finished though, And it felt great!

This post will definitely be updated later, with pictures, But for now, I have to run!

Monday, June 17, 2013

New shorts and packing

So, once again, I'm packing up everything I own and getting ready to move. This time, essentials are going with me to Baltimore, while everything else stays in storage in Georgia until my husband gets back from Afghanistan sometime next year. All the extra stress and work has definitely affected my training, but I have been more flexible with my schedule. Last week looked like this :

Monday: run with company. Pushed it a little since it was short
Tuesday: swim 1000m/core
Wednesday: bike ride 35 minutes
Friday: 3 mile post run

I added the nifty little dailymile widget so you can see more detail, when I remember to add them.

Friday was actually a little rough, and I think my electrolytes were off. Even though the run was short and an easy pace (after an hour of standing around), my abs started cramping up pretty fiercely by mile 2. I made sure to drink some powerade during the day but didn't feel much better. Unfortunately this happens when I drink too much water and not enough flavor or salt in my diet. When the weather gets hot and humid or I adjust my training load, I know I need to balance my electrolytes, but usually forget. Maybe this summer will be smoother.

In other news, I ordered a new pair of shorts! The new redemption shorts from Skirt Sports come in their oasis print, and were on sale!
I have been wearing them everyday since they arrived, and love them. The cut is great, the print goes with just about every tank top I own, and the material is nice enough to be comfy without looking too sporty. They have a drawstring at the waist, a pocket on the butt, and a mesh liner. I definitely plan on getting a lot of wear out of these this summer!

I also got the gym girl skirt in this print. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weather: Never assume!

Typically, I like to be very prepared for race day. I read previous race reviews, check the course and elevation, plan for nutrition and hydration, pack my race day bag, load up my ipod, lay out my gear......and check the weather. Since I do travel for big races, I try to pack light, and that means I'm usually not prepared for the local weather.

Never assume!

When I made my costume for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I bought an Underarmour coldgear top, and wondered if my skirt would be warm enough. The skirt also happened to be a tennis skirt rather than a running skirt, so the pockets were sideways! When I got to Florida, it was actually about 80 degrees the afternoon before, and very humid the morning of the race. By the end of the race, I was dying in my coldgear top, and my camera had dropped out of my pocket several times.

 Lesson learned: If you're going to Florida, even in February, have a hot and cold option.

Opposite situation in San Diego. Even though I was planning on perfect weather in San Diego, and brought a tank top and t shirt options, with a running skirt, race day was cloudy and a little chilly. I didn't bring a jacket in my checked bag, so after the race, I was freezing! Even wearing the technical t shirt, I wasn't overly warm during the race. Perfect running weather, but cold after!

Lesson learned: Bring a jacket, even if it you expect perfect weather.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Planning ahead for 2014

Even though it's only June, I've already started working on my race schedule for next year! Planning and looking forward to exciting races is a big part of my life, so the earlier I start planning, the most I can get out of my race calendar. In addition, registration for some races opens up soon, and the cheapest prices are the earliest prices!

Since my plan for this past year went through September, I've kind of stuck with my fiscal year/Hannah year concept of time. I'm still debating which triathlon I will be doing this year, due to the change of plans with law school, moving to Baltimore, husband deploying, and such. My goal for 2014 is to stay local (in the DC/Baltimore area), rather than travel so much. I'm sure there will be a few notable exceptions, though.

My first event for HY 2014 will be the Army Ten Miler on October 20, 2013. I will also be volunteering for the Marine Corps Marathon expo on October 26, 2013. After that, I'll keep my late fall/winter calendar pretty open and focus on school. For 2014, I plan on registering for the Glass Slipper Challenge, the 10k and Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. That will be a travel race, of course, but I think it's worth it! In March 2014 is the Rock n Roll USA in Washington, DC; this might be a full marathon for me. Also in the spring will be the Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon and the Nike DC Women's Half Marathon.

I'm still doing some research, and looking up fun races in my new home, so hopefully this will flesh out as time goes on. No matter what, though, I will hopefully be taking full advantage of my new region! (and perhaps investing in some real winter clothes)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy National Running Day!

It's National Running Day!

I suppose today is a time to celebrate why we run. For me, I run because I can. Because I feel so lucky that I am capable of running. I hope i never take it for granted, and never get too lazy.

And, to celebrate, I registered for the Rock 'N' Roll USA Marathon next March! It might be a little ambitious to plan on running a marathon in March during my first year of law school, and will probably require a lot of new wardrobe additions to adapt to running in Baltimore and not Georgia, but I'm up for the challenge! It's only about 3 weeks after the Disney Princess Half, so that will be a tight month. Plus, it was $20 off!

Meanwhile, I got my official orders to report to the University of Baltimore in August! Time to start packing up and getting everything ready to go, finding a new apartment, a new gym, and some new workout buddies. Think I can commit to the Baltimore Running Festival in October?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

San Diego Rock 'N' Roll: Race Recap

Race morning came so early! We woke up around 4:30, and were headed downtown by 5. For some reason, Kevin's mom offered to drop us off, even after we showed her the map with all the road closures. After a little confusion, we ended up right where we wanted to be. Since Kevin was doing Leg 2 of the relay, he took one of our bags and headed to the relay shuttles that were headed to the mile 6 area to wait.

Relay runners were allowed in any corral they wanted, so Katherine and I found corral 9, then dropped my bag off at gear check. Officially, the drawstring swag bag was supposed to be the checked bag, and a zip tie was provided so you could attach race number gear check tag to the bag. People were bringing all kinds of duffel bags and plastic bags and such, though, so I guess it wasn't really enforced. Gear check was organized by last name rather than bib number, which was odd.

The full marathon started at 6:15, then we stood around for a bit waiting for the half start, which ended up being 6:50. Katherine didn't seem to be too excited, so I tried to pump her up while we waited for the corrals ahead of us to go. They released the corrals maybe two minutes apart, so our start was right after 7. I took off up the first (rather shallow) hill, and realized Katherine was already employing her run-walk strategy. Oops. I tried to look for her, but ended up waiting for her at the first water station. After that, I just stayed with her all the way to mile 6. After she switched out with Kevin, we went off at a little under a 10 minute pace. After reaching the 10k point at 1:19, Kevin and I finished right around 2:30.

The course was really nice, being in San Diego and all, but not as scenic as I would've liked. Obviously the full marathon course covered more of San Diego, and the half was mostly through residential area, with some areas like North Park thrown in. There really weren't any major hills, except for one uphill and a downhill after the 10 mile mark. The weather was actually pretty great for a race; it averaged about 66 and was pretty overcast, but didn't rain. I was pretty cold after finishing, but of course it all cleared up by lunchtime and warmed up quite a bit.

Course support was really great. There were bands every couple miles, groups in costumes all along cheering everyone on, and great water stations. They had water and lemon-lime gatorade, which was pretty strong, but fine if you mixed them together. There was also a GU station around mile 8 or so, with lots of flavors available. Groups were manning the water stations, and the most memorable for me was the Big 10 Club of San Diego at mile 10 (I think?). They had a HUGE Michigan tent put up and had a ton of people passing out water and gatorade. I had to run almost the entire station before I found someone in an Ohio State t-shirt; I wasn't going to risk taking water from some Michigan fan. I didn't see a mile marker until mile 4; I think they were on the right side of the road while I was running on the left, six lanes over, but after that I looked for them and the clock.

The finish line this year was right next to Petco park downtown. San Diego is one of those odd towns that doesn't really feel like down town, so, even though I saw the 13 mile marker, I didn't feel like the park was close enough! It was though, and Kevin and I sprinted down the final stretch and across the crowded finish line.

At the end of the race, runners go into the "secure zone" for all their goodies, then go out to the family reunion area. The secure zone was crowded with people handing out medals (full marathon, half, and relay medals were all a little different), giving out water, cold towels, gatorade, Jamba Juice, powerbars, bananas, oranges, and everything else. On top of that, there were several medical tents with a ton of volunteers handing out ice and vaseline. After loading up with a towel, water, powerbars in my pocket, and a banana stuck down my skirt, Kevin stopped to take a quick finishers picture. These are always so flattering.

Kevin went in search of some biofreeze at the main medical tent while I headed to the H to find Katherine. She showed up eventually, and after Kevin came back, we headed over to pick up my checked bag. There was no line at my truck, so I grabbed it, chugged some water, and we explored the booths set up around the area. The merchandise tent was set up, with all the normal finisher's swag, and a huge line of people turning in their medals for engraving. There was also a booth from the Women's Running series, with a refresh station! They had face wipes, hair spray, spray deodorant, a ton of body sprays, lip balm, sunblock, and vanity mirrors.

I definitely took several of those sunblock samples. Since I usually pack face wipes in my checked bag, this booth was a great idea! We also got reusable grocery bags from the Von's booth, an ice mold and coupons form the Bacardi booth, and then headed over to the after party at Petco Park. 

Inside the park a bunch of vendors were open selling more food, people were milling around trying to stay out of the wind that was very strong through parts of the park, and a lot of people were taking seats to watch the awards, followed by the headliner concert with the Psychedelic Furs. No, I have no idea who the Psychedelic Furs are. Seeing all the elite winners was pretty cool, though; they had some crusher times! The big screen also showed live shots of the finish line area. 

Overall, this race was a lot of fun! It's definitely fun to do with a group, and if you want to do it just for time, the weather is perfect and the course is awesome! I didn't register for next year's but hopefully I can come back and do this again! 

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego: Expo

Finally! Saturday afternoon, Kevin, Katherine, and I headed downtown for the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego race expo at the San Diego Convention Center. We cruised around for a little bit looking for parking, rather than just pay the $10 at the convention center, and ended up walking maybe three or four blocks. The SDCC is absolutely HUGE (though it doesn't seem that big when filled with people at Comic Con), and this expo took up two of the halls.

Walking in, the first section that was enclosed was runner check in. Waivers with your bib number were sent out prior to, and I printed ours off and brought them with us. Check in was broken down by bib number, with about 1,000 numbers per table, and 30+ tables. You just had to turn in your waiver with photo ID, and they gave you your bib with timing chip attached, an envelope with pins and a zip tie in it, and, for the relay runners, their "baton," or drum stick. It went fast, and we met back up to head in.

The next area was t-shirt pickup and swag bags. The shirts were Brooks technical running shirts in either women's cut or unisex. You could only pick up the size listed on your registration, but exchanges would be available on race day if you wanted. Before heading into the main expo area, volunteers were handing out the swag bags. I should have checked the contents of the bag, but since it was a drawstring bag, I just threw it on and headed in. Oddly enough, our bags did not include the Event Guide, so I didn't pick one up during the expo. Again, should have checked!

 The first stop in the expo was, of course, the Rock n Roll Gear Shop. Kevin of course wanted a shot glass, so we got one of those. They also had little magnets that looked like the finishers medals, which was pretty cool.

My favourite bit of swag, though, was the charm! After leaving the RnR/Brooks/Moving Comfort store area, there was a little display case with all the new Rock N Roll Jewelry! There were two charm options, a race bib or tour stop, but the tour stop charms for San Diego were already sold out. I of course am a sucker for charms, and got the San Diego race bib. Now I can't wait to run RnR Virginia Beach!!!

Other highlights of the expo: Meb was signing autographs at the Powerbar booth! They were also handing out free samples of the powerbar babyfood, er, performance energy blends. I guess they're good on the go? Jamba Juice also had a huge booth, with samples! They also were giving out pace tattoos, which are great! I picked up several for both full and half marathon training. Having a little Jamba Juice logo on my arm will definitely help keep me on pace. They also had a spinning wheel, and I won a Jamba Juice water bottle! And they had 13.1 and 26.2 stickers! I stopped at the Divas series booth to see if they had discount codes, but they were only discounting if you registered the day of. Boo. I did sign up for a discount code from Run Disney, so hopefully they'll have a good deal for the Glass Slipper Challenge, since registration opens NEXT WEEK! I got some more sweatybands, since the one I know I packed somehow got lost between Atlanta and San Diego.

I wish I could have stayed at the expo longer, just browsing, but alas, I was stingy and didn't have enough quarters for the parking meter downtown. We had some errands to run and a birthday party to get to, though, so we were off!

With a 6:45am start time, I was hoping to be in bed by midnight, but after the birthday party turning into birthday drinks at Polite Provisions, followed by frantic deciding what we should wear and who should check a bag and did you put the right timing tag on your shoe and are we decorating the relay baton, all three of us ended up going to bed closer to 2:30, with our alarms set for 4:30. Great.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Race news: 1 June 2013

So, what's the latest news that I find interesting? Here's a quick roundup:
Apparently, Westin is hiring a RunWestin Concierge just for runners staying at the Westin for Rock n Roll events! If I didn't have a real job, I'd probably apply for this.

I have stayed in probably 3 Westins in the past couple of months, and I always make a point of stopping by the concierge desk to pick up a running map, whether I actually run or not. They're generally very accommodating about race schedules; when I stayed at the Westin Alexandria for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, they gave me a later checkout, recommended when I should leave for the metro, and had the shuttle to the metro station out front at 4:30am. Thumbs up!
National Running Day is June 5th. In grand tradition, any good celebration includes RACE DISCOUNTS! Here's my watch list so far; if I find any more, I will definitely post them!

US Road Sports & Entertainment 

  • Disney Princess Half Marathon registration opens June 11! Get an email reminder on their site. This one is expensive, so any discount helps. Also, traveling takes some planning!