#RnRAZ Race Recap

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” -Napoleon Hill

It was a world wind of a trip and before I knew it tears were in my eyes as my best friend dropped me off at the airport. Let’s rewind though, the few days in AZ were wonderful. The sun was shining, it was warm, I was with my best friend and everything was going according to plan. I felt terrible running when I was supposed, felt good when I needed to and just tried to be in good spirits.

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Mid Flight

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Besides being with Kristin, I was able to meet up with some of my oiselle teammates! We were a little late (my bad on the directions) but it was awesome to meet the other birds 🙂 Plus we went to this little brewery in Tempe and got to see Phoenix in the daytime!

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Oiselle Birds: Myself, Kerry, Sarah, Dana & Ashley!

The following day, we headed to the expo but not before running along the bike path. It was a beautiful day and if you don’t know, I LOVE bike paths. I’m typically that silly girl smiling at everyone I pass because they are outside walking, running or riding. It just makes me smile. It was no different, besides I was with Kristin so it was even better (except we both felt terrible). I was also really excited seeing my first lemon and orange trees (probably overly excited).

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Orange treess!

Then we made it to the Expo to pick up our bibs and swag. The expo was awesome typically for only one reason..

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Lauren Fleshman! 🙂

LAUREN FLESHMAN. I was so excited (shout out to Kristin who basically forced me- thanks love xxoo). After we headed home to relax and make dinner.

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Beautiful Desert Sunset

Eventually it was time to hit the hay, which means Lisa tries to sleep for a normal 8-9 hours and only successfully gets about 5 because of silly race day nerves. However I will say, this was the most relaxed I’ve ever been before a big race. Typically I can be nervous 3 or 4 days out, so for the night before I was ecstatic! 4:40AM rolled around and I got up and did pre-race rituals.. ya know.. made sure the hair was done, did Kristin’s hair, got dressed- the important race day needs. We left the apartment around 5:30 AM to head to Arizona State University! We lucked out and got there early enough to find a great parking spot. Finally the time came.. I really needed to go.. ya know.. really go.. so I headed out to find the lou. Well I walked, walked and walked some more and couldn’t find anything but some nice bushes and some cacti. So that wonderful spot became out personal bathroom 🙂

Of course once we warmed up we found the sea, I mean SEA of potta-potties, but still enjoyed our little personal spot. Warm up and drills were good and finally it was 20 min before we headed to the start. The start was pretty crazy- there were 18 corrals- EIGHTEEN! We were in the first which was relaxing 🙂 Once we made it to Corral 1, we saw my teammate Sarah and chatted with her for a little before they started counting down the minutes. Kristin and I gave hugs, took deep breaths and waited for the gun.

First mile was a little quick as Kristin and I got into the groove. I felt like we were pressing a little but wasn’t sure if it was because my legs  weren’t there yet. After we settled into a nice rhythm, it reminded of running on the IM fields in cross-country practice back when we were at Cortland. Miles 2 and 3 went by fast. I enjoyed the bands, mostly because they were an indictaor of another mile. Around mile 3.5 I decided to make the effort more tempo, which resulted in miles 3.5-5 passing quite slowly. After mile 5 I met a new friend who was looking to run under 1:26. I told her to just stick with me. It was nice to have someone there, the unspoken vow of the running community working together as strangers in large races. It just make me smile. When I got to mile 6, I took a deep breath and started working on my Yetti (salted caramel gel).

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I remember getting to mile 7 and looking up- oh sh*t. It was completely uphill. I took a deep breath, reminded myself I’m from Ithaca and to relax- I had this. Getting to the top I half expected there to be a downhill.. you know what goes up must come down. Apparently so did the guy next to me, he decided to comment on the fact that the entire course seemed uphill. Thanks dude for pointing out the obvious, because the majority of it was uphill. At mile 8 I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, reminded myself to relax and tried to work the cramp out from under my ribs.

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Mile 9 was an uphill out and back (I almost cried) but realized I could see the leaders and got somewhat excited. The newton law was in effect- it was going up and going to come down! At the top of the hill, I couldn’t help but smile as their were large red rocks (how I envision AZ) and a beautiful view of Phoenix. When I came back down I realized I was at mile 10, I tried to shake it out and get ready for the last hard bit. At mile 11, I made a conscious effort to drop the pace.  Another women was ahead of me, encouraging me and pushing me on as I went by. Mile 12 was where I got my second cramp and I could only think about the finish line. The last turn was mile 13 and the finish wasn’t far. I ACTUALLY kicked.. in a half marathon. WHO KICKS! Apparently me. Finish time 1:26.05, new PR, 13th female. Splits 6:20, 6:34, 6:43, 6:38, 6:31, 6:32, 6:32, 6:41, 6:38, 6:36, 6:31, 6:27, 6:33, :42.

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Kristin and I post Race

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I am content with how this race turned out. I was relaxed, hit my nutrition, drank water at every aid station (I never take liquids in 13.1s), was beyond positive the entire time, felt like I raced the entire time, and even made an effort to pick it up with 2 miles to go. I can’t lie though, everything went right and my time wasn’t where I wanted it. It’s semi disappointing, however it’s my own fault. I couldn’t find the elevation profile prior to the race. Thus, I’m happy I pr’d on the hardest half marathon course I’ve run on. In the grand scheme of racing, I’m headed in the right direction. This is the first year I’ve been healthy for a complete year. I also improved all year long. I am excited for what the future brings for me on the running scene, I can’t wait for the next goal 13.1. After the race, Kristin and I cooled down a little (basically to the car) and went in search of coffee. Then it was time to head to the airport to head back home 😦

The plane was a little funny in Phoenix. I was still in shorts and a Tshirt, therefore everyone was kind enough (kind of) to remind me we were going to Cleveland. Yes people, I know I was headed to Syracuse. I was quite warm. I just raced. It is much warmer in AZ than in Ithaca, NY. However, while waiting in line I happened to look up and there was NATE BRANNEN standing in line to get on the same plane to Cleveland! Eventually I introduced myself to him and this happened:

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It was too. It was warm from the flight attendant 🙂

All in all it was a great weekend. Since Sunday I’ve only done one yoga class and its been wonderful. The avg temp here in Ithaca has been 5 degrees with it mostly being negatives, I’ve been enjoying this little time off. I’ve been looking forward to the next big chapter of my life: Ironman Lake Placid. Although, with the combined sadness of my 13.1, my run season ending and being pretty tired, it was only a matter of time but it’s official – I’ve had breakdown #1 of my first Ironman. I just panicked. Thoughts included: Can I really do this? Am I going to be ok? I’ve never really trained for a triathlon etc etc. After some encouragement (thank you) I’m feeling much better and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things 🙂

Not to mention, Coeur Sports, had a conference call with Meredith Kessler last night. Let me tell you, it was awesome. It was so inspiring to hear Meredith’s journey into and through her Triathlon Career. I can’t wait to get started and it begins tomorrow to meet with a potential coach! 🙂

Cheers to new experiences, ups and downs!

Kicking off 2014

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau

As my ‘true’ run season is coming to an end [and tri season starts ramping up]. I’ve come to realize how fast the last 5 months have gone by. The tempo workouts, the pickup workouts, the stead state runs, and the spicy long runs -all have come and gone and here I am 10 days out from my ‘A’ or end of season race – Rock n Roll Arizona 13.1    (& my best friend!)

Since I’ve left you last, I’ve had about the hardest training weeks this season. They were tough, they tested me, tested my courage, my faith, my confidence and my sanity. Holidays can by hard for all of us, but I feel they can be especially for athletes. It’s hard to fit everything we want (family, friends, relaxing, cuddling with puppies) in such a short period of time, especially when its the crucial time in the training cycle. So here’s my self pity moment. I spent some of the hardest days while on holiday with my family. It sucked- at my parents I have no where to run but on the roads (Thanks Upstate CNY). Most of the time I’m totally pumped about that.. typically I feel like a total bada**. However this week, I had two of my hardest running workouts of the season and the roads were terrible. My first workout was probably the best workout of the season which may asks how was the week that bad? We’ll my quads were so sore they stayed sore for the entire week and then throughout the week I had slippery snowy streets for every run. At points I felt good about it, conquering the diverse conditions, getting the work in but finally as the end of the week neared it finally all got to me and I broke down in the middle of the workout (yep. even in the middle of the road). I couldn’t get any sort of traction (yes-even with yak trax) and couldn’t get the paces I needed. My legs were shot from slipping the entire week in the snow. I just wanted to stop and throw in the towel then and there.

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Some snuggle time 🙂

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Best Friend for 10 years ❤

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My Nephew! ❤

Once I got talked back off the ledge, I started being more positive again. Then flew to Chicago for New Years. Again-  TERRIBLE week of training. It was -3 the first run, I remember my ears being numb under my hat because my earrings. Then my treadmill workout on NYE went HORRIBLY WRONG. I got lightheaded, felt terrible, dead legs, couldn’t move, and had to pull the plug (breakdown #2). Day 3 was fun, the snowstorm in Chicago made everyone stay inside so on New Year’s Day, I got to run all around downtown Chicago in the middle of the streets. I saw all the fun Artwork and the “Bean,” it was awesome. However, the next day I was headed towards breakdown #3 and that’s when I brought up how terrible I was feeling to my coach. I was promised I was going to start feeling better in the middle of the next week. So I kept trucking along, running on the slow, snowy, slippery, cold hard streets of Chicago (hehe, get it?).

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Blue Man Group: Happy New Year!!

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Finally I made it back to Ithaca, when I realized I only had TWO, count them TWO long runs left before the race. I was so excited to get back to running at home. I struggled however though, I was so tired still and not up to par. Plus, I never thought I’d be SORE from a semi-hilly long run, but that’s what I get for leaving for 10 days. This Monday, I finally started to feel a little better, but Mother Nature won again. Started with blue skies and sunshine (RARE for Ithaca in winter) but quickly turned to getting pelted with hail (it really hurts if it gets your ears!). In the end I was happy with that run. Today is Wednesday and TODAY I finally felt like I had ‘pep’ in my step! WOOT WOOT!

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Through this ‘hard’ time, I couldn’t help but feel semi depressed, but not because I felt like crap everyday and auto pilot was engaged:  out the door, one foot in front of the other.. It was because, I have set the last 5 months all around running this race and here it is, 10 days away. It’s almost sad. The goal is near. Do others feel this way? It’s the first time I’ve encountered this low before a race.. It’s not like I have HUGE goals.

Speaking of goals here they are:

1) SMILE: without smiling I’m not really relaxed

2) HAVE FUN: well that speaks for itself. If you’re not having fun why do it?

3) ONE STEP AT A TIME: again speaks for itself

4) Break 1:25.. I haven’t focused on time, a lot of my workouts have been effort based, but all have been relatively fast. Hence why time is #4. If the other 3 are going well then the time will come 🙂

On the other hand, the low won’t last long because then I start training for my first Ironman, IM Lake Placid. Sorry for the rant, but with all highs come lows and the lows and hard times in training often make the good days and highs worth while.

How do you cope with the low associated with a end of season race?