Monday, February 15, 2010

Austin 1/2 Marathon: Eat your Spinach & Take your Ice Baths...

What a great weekend for running in Austin! As the saying went for the race (appropriately suited for a Valentine's Day event), "Run Austin, Love Austin". This was actually a pretty big weekend for Derick and I, as it was his first full marathon; likewise this was this MY first full marathon back in 2008. The weather was spectacular, albeit a bit chilly at the start (probably low 40s). I am guessing that the many volunteers had their hands full of clothing that was stripped off of runners those first 5 miles. Soon after the gun, the sun came out and it made for an awesome day to run; be it 13 miles or even 26.

As for my race, I did not know what to expect, but as with any race, I intended to give it everything I had and go into it shooting for a best time. That is kind of how I approach any race I do; always an opportunity to PR. While I had been battling a bit of a cold the past week, it is hard to say that it did me any disservice, as I ended up feeling almost entirely normal on race morning and physically my body felt strong and responsive. In all honesty, the rest probably did me good and allowed me to run on fresh legs. The downside to this was, 13.1 miles of hard running on up and down terrain left me completely trashed post-race. I took out miles 1-3 strong but not too hard and cruised down 1st street (a 3-mile downhill stretch) in a few 5:45 miles. I was joined here by Jack & Adams own Adam Reiser, who was running the full marathon! Though we did not chat, it was nice to have Adam by my side for a few miles. As I approached mile 7 or 8, my hands got warm and luckily Jamie Cleveland was nice enough to pick up my gloves as I saw him cheering and left him a little gift when I went by (thanks Jamie!). It was about here where I realized my body was going to start to hurt. We hit Lake Austin Blvd, a long flat stretch and I decided that PowerGel I haphazardly tossed in my pocket would come in handy. I slurped this down and prepared for the hardest part, miles 11-13. I was still under 6-min pace, which would put me in at around a low 1:18, which would be a best time (I have done a 1:18.30 three times!). But, I knew the hardest part was yet to come. And that it did. The hills on Enfield and then 15th street on this course are just as bad as they say! But, I tried to welcome the pain, enjoy the ability to be out there competing and of course keep the mantra going "You can do anything for 2 miles... you can do anything for 20 minutes..." Positive mental talk can be invaluable; even if you do not fully believe it, it helps immensely. I could see Desiree (lead woman) a little ways up, and I knew I would not catch her, but I sure as hell would try! I finally saw the Capitol, which means less than .5 miles to go. That was a welcome sight! Finishing along Congress is an awesome feeling, the streets lined with spectators, and the energy of downtown Austin. While I was pretty pleased with today's effort (a 1:18.57 and 2nd woman), I was more interested in what Derick was doing back on the course when I finished.

SO...I proceeded to run back to Jack & Adams (about a 1.5 mile painful jog) to get his backpack (post-race clothing) and then jog (waddle?) back to the finish. I got back about 2:20 into the marathon, right as the men's winner was finishing (in a phenomenal time) and anxiously awaited Derick. I saw Gilbert Tuhabonye come around the Capitol, on his way to a 2:34 finish and an incredibly tough spirit at the end, and then waited a few more minutes, when I then saw Derick. It was SO GOOD to see him! I knew it was not the marathon debut he had hoped for, but I was so proud of him for sticking it out, despite battling some cramping and the inability to take in his gels. I think he realized too once he finished how hard it really is, and likewise, how proud he was to have pushed through a pretty tough day (that being said, his 'falling apart' still resulted in a 2:41 and 10th overall for the men).

It seemed for some reason, friends and others out there either felt great yesterday or felt rough but most all endured and finished. I just want to send out a huge congrats to all of our many friends who took part; and of course the selfless volunteers and spectators who cheered us on. Every time we get up to compete, we never know what to expect. It is not so much about the time we can post or the place we can finish, but how we deal with what our bodies give us on race day (or in turn, do not give us!). A big shout out to Desiree and Dave Fuentes, who both took the wins for the half marathon. OH, and how could I forget. The title of this blog. When you finish a race and feel completely sore, trashed, cramped up and useless at the finish line, I highly advise going home and taking an ice bath. Speaking from experience. I know that is is much more pleasant to go home, take a hot shower and watch the Olympics on TV :), but your body will THANK YOU the next day if take an ice bath; and, you can take a nice warm shower afterwards. I was walking very funny for a good 4 days, even that first run back (5 days post-race) was pretty painful. So, do not be like me and take that ice bath post-race! It takes some time to do, but is well worth it the next day and week. Trust me!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Do as I say, not as I do...

It's the BIG WEEKEND in Austin! Probably in the running and even triathlon world, the biggest event of the year; the Austin Marathon. It's pretty cool how much the entire town gets into this event. The fan support is incredible, it starts and ends downtown, and it is a tough, honest marathon course. That of course coming from someone who has done it a whopping once, but it sure put me in my place as my first marathon back in 2008. I'd say that it 'ate me up and spit me out' starting at about mile 20. I am hoping it does not do that to my husband, Derick, who is tackling it on Sunday (also as his first marathon!). I will hopefully do the half, though seeing that he so kindly passed on a head cold to me a few days ago which he had the week prior, I am crossing my fingers that a few days of rest here will allow me to run on Sunday. I LOVE to race, especially hometown races, however I am also fairly realistic and smart when knowing not to make oneself more sick. We'll see, for now I think it's a go but I'll make the final call on Saturday night. I did however hit a sneezing record for myself last night, at 9x. Just like Bueller.

The past few weeks, along with the help of Chris McCrary at Katalyst Multisport, we have nailed down a few relationships for the 2010 season. I'll be working again with Zoot, which I am very excited about, as their clothing and race shoes are second to none. I will also be partnering with Quintana Roo for my bikes this year. This is very cool, as QR was the first real 'brand' that I can remember back in my day of starting out with triathlon. They have been around awhile and they know the industry. The new QR CD 0.1 TT bike was recently called "The most innovative from any brand in the last decade" by Triathlete Magazine. I will also be working with PowerBar, which is the perfect fit for me, as PowerGels are what get me through the long, scorching hot rides here in Austin for 8 months of the year (did you know that their gels have 200 mg of sodium as compared to the typical gel of ~50 mg?). It has been nice to nail down these relationships, as well as get back into a routine of training. I finally started swimming with UT Masters last week, and I now see why it has the incredible reputation it has. Whitney Hedgepeth is an awesome, laid-back coach who writes these very unique workouts that fly by; and every one challenges you in a different way. Either in that the interval is touch-and-go, or it is a fast day and we are going off the blocks and throwing down times I have not seen in years. For me, it is fun to be around 'swimmers' again. Many of these guys are straight up badasses in the water; and the mentality and vibe of the workout is just 'different' than that of being around triathletes. Not better or worse, just different, in a refreshing way. It is also fun to connect with some other fellow triathletes in town who I do not normally see, as I train solo most of the time. Honestly I think it just gets me back to my swimming roots a bit. Now I just hope this translates to some more speed in the races.

Unfortunately, this past week has been a small bit of a setback in that I have been feeling a bit under the weather, but it happens and rather than try with all my might to fight it off, I have backed off on training, tried to get tons of sleep, upped the Vitamin C and let it run its course. I think that we 'have' to get sick every so often, because it builds up our immune systems; and, if we try to beat down every cold that wants to enter our bodies, I fear it will hit us even bigger later in the year. Best to get it out of the way! So I have tried to dial things back a bit and not let it get to me, which it does, but it could be worse. I plan to race on Sunday, toe the line and give it whatever I've got; hopefully the spirit of competition will overtake and I'll feel great.

That is about it for now. I am pushing forward with my Abnormal Psychology class through Texas State, and I have to say taking a correspondence class when it is 100% up to you when to study, not to study and do your homework, it is a little harder than I had imagined. I often find myself cleaning the house or painting my toes instead of 'studying'. Or I'll take the 'studying' to the TV and sit there watching some quality TV like the Real Housewives of Orange County, or Millionaire Matchmaker (have you seen Patty? she's a riot!). Guess I need to buckle down a bit more here in the next few weeks...

Thanks for stopping by. In the tone of 'do as I say and not as I do', be sure to take it easy at this time of year and listen to your body. Remember, it's ONLY February and the season is long...keep it all in perspective.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Music Review #2: Todd Snider

Derick and I are quite the social butterflies right now in Austin! Saturday night, despite he being at a bike race all day long (spectating) and me doing my first bike/run session in about 4 months, we ignored our slight fatigue and ventured out again for some live music. Since he was not hungry for dinner as he had eaten at Rudys BBQ (one of Austin's finest), I took the chance to have dinner at my favorite place, Polvos, and catch up with an old friend. That is putting it mildly; Lisa and I knew eachother in 2nd grade. She moved away, and she was (to me) lost and gone forever. I went to my 10-year high school reunion and ran into a friend who had kept in touch with Lisa. Long story short, she was now living in Austin (as was I) and we got back in touch. She had also lived in Colorado for a few years (while I had lived in Colorado Springs for about 5 years). To top it off AGAIN, she is now living about 1/2 mile from us in a house she bought, as did we. I could say Lisa is my long-lost best friend-meant-to-be, but it is really just a pretty crazy story. Best part is, Lisa loves margaritas about as much as I do! She is an architect and it is always refreshing to catch up with her and talk non-triathlon talk for an evening.

SO... back to the music... we had dinner, and Derick and I then ventured on to the Cactus Cafe, a great place to see music. It is also the Texas Union Ballroom; so it really feels like a 'show' vs. being at a bar. Our first (and only next to this one) show there was Brandi Carlile, who absolutely blew our socks (or my boots!) off. This time, we kind of splurged on Todd Snider tickets. Neither Derick nor I really knew any of his songs, but we both loved his sound. Oh, how to explain him... kind of Bob Dylan-meets-Bob Schneider (hear me out here; he raps a bit)-meets Tom Waits, but a bit more bluegrassy and less raspy; with even a bit of just good old country. To top it off, he is a great story-teller (many of which involve prison) and just plain entertaining. Maybe we have gotten more 'refined' in our music tastes, thanks to living in this kickass city, but it seems that both Derick and I can go to a show that we don't really know much about and enjoy it from start to finish. I'll keep my ramblings succinct this time; but if you do check out Todd Snider, give a listen to the following songs:

  • Enjoy Yourself
  • Tillamook County Jail (I told ya...)
  • Conservative, Christian, Right-Wing Republican, Straight, White, American Males
I am sure we may have different taste in music, but I bet that if you listen to these, you'll find yourself smiling. And if this isn't the point of good music, what is?