Thursday, July 31, 2014

18 mile Run + Paddleboard Weekend

This weekend was really great.

I ran 18 miles by myself!!

Running solo was a huge difference from last week when I ran with 3 friends and had someone with me the entire 17 miles.

We even did the last 10 miles, up City Creek and back, with an average pace of 9:54!

That is amazing for me, especially at the end of 17 miles! It was seriously so much fun too!

 My knee was feeling pretty sore by the end of the run, but it felt better by Tuesday when I wipped out a nice slow 9 miler. No big deal. :)

This Saturday my running friends were too busy to escort me on my long run again so I decided to listen to podcasts to take place of the fun chatting we did last week. This worked pretty well. Obviously it wasn't as fun as having friends with me, but it did help the time pass more quickly. I stuck to the Jordan River Parkway, with the hopes of not having a sore knee again. It worked! My knee didn't hurt at all, but by the last 3 or 4 miles, my legs were just sore in general and the bottoms of my feet were feeling pretty tender. That's pretty normal though, so I was happy that's all the pain I had! I was really sore afterwards so I took an ice bath and then pretty much just laid in bed most of the day. Luckily my awesome dad came and took the kids to a movie so I didn't feel quite so neglectful!

Sunday I felt SO much better! My legs were hardly sore at all, it was pretty much just the bottoms of my feet that still felt kind of raw. My feet seriously need to toughen up already!

I was glad I felt so much better because I needed my mountain fix.

We ended up driving down and meeting some friends at Payson Lakes. It was really cool because this was somewhere we had never been before, and this is also the canyon we'll be running the Nebo Half Marathon down in a few months. It is going to be so beautiful!

The little lake we hung out at was so perfect. It's just a small lake, surrounded by mountains and so peaceful. Our friends brought their stand up paddleboards so we got to use those and I paddled to the other side of the lake and back twice - once with Pete and once with Heidi.

Standing on those really made me realize that I was still a little sore because it really uses your core muscles to ballance and paddle. It was so much fun, we are considering getting some for ourselves!

The kids had a blast too!

On the way home, we stopped and did a little hike farther down the canyon to The Grotto which was really cool!

We got home super late, but it was worth it!

Mondy morning I got up when my alarm went off, but my feet still felt more sore than I would have liked to run on, and I was so tired! So I just went back to bed. Someone even took this picture of me after breakfast...

I figured I'd get to swim during George and Elle's lessons so that would be good. But George refused to go to his class, so I ended up just taking him out and getting us both showered without swimming. Bummer!

Tuesday and Wednesday I ended up taking him to the gym daycare so I could swim while Elle did her lessons, and that was really nice, but today (Thursday) I was able to get him to join his class because it was the last day and they were going to get to play for half the time. Yay!

Tuesday I also ran while Ethan did his bike class so I got to run somewhere I've never ran before so that was kind of fun. I did about 6 miles, and my legs felt pretty sore/tired by the end! Also, the bottom of my heel started to hurt really bad after that. It kind of felt like a bad bruise or a knot, but it also made me really worried becuase that's about where my stress fracture was that I got when I did the St. George Marathon last time.

I told myself not to panic, though. After all, I still have 9 weeks until the marathon so I have time to take a week or so off running (but hopefully it won't be more than that!). It was still really sore yesterday, but I iced it a couple times, and it felt much better this morning! Whew! I'm going to still be careful about it, though, and proabably not run until Monday.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Photo Update

Well! This summer has just flown by, hasn't it? I can't believe it's almost over and I haven't really posted since May! So here's a quick photo update of what we've been doing this summer:

We started the summer off going to a lot of parks! George and I would go swing almost every day! His favorite thing! He would have underdogs all day every day if he had it his way! Then it got hot, hot, hot so we haven't been as much since May.

Here's a hike we did up Rock Canyon that was really cool, but also hot!

This is just after the end of school program. I told George to look happy... :) And I know I'm missing Ethan, but this was the best I got.

Here I am after the program. I am LOVING my new wardrobe options! (especially in this heat... did I mention it's been hot?)

I have also been loving my new running group!! Along with running together in the valley and supporting each other as we train for the half marathon, they have introduced me to trail running!

This is Muler Park in Bountiful and it was my first real experience with trail running. It. Was. Stunning! And so hard! They left me in the dust, and I ended up walking a lot of the way up. But the way down was super fun!

We went camping up above Heber for Memorial Day weekend. Again, so, so beautiful!

We finally got out and explored the Salt Flats one Sunday, which was really COOL!

 The girls performed in A Midsummer Night's Dream for their ballet spring gala. So much fun!

Here's another trail run we did up above City Creek. We started out when it was still dark so we got to see the moon over the city.

 It was SO hard, but SO gorgeous!

We went and played at the beach at the little lake in the Daybreak community with some friends and loved the nice sand there!

Me and Mindy.

 Our friends brought Stand Up Paddle Boards so we got to try that out. I am in love!

Mindy danced at the Utah Art's Festival!

 We 3 girls became obsessed with Henna tattoos at the festival! So fun! I was sad when my mermaid faded...

I have been riding my bike a little bit too! Here's a shot from one of my rides just outside the city where the sky decided to be really cool for me.

 Mindy has been working hard in ballet all summer long! She's been going 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, 9am to 2pm every day. I'm so impressed with her hard work and dedication! This was during an adagio at her class showing after the first 2 weeks.

We spent the 4th of July at Deer Creek Reservoir with my sister, Katie, and her friends. They were nice enough to pull us around behind their boat and give the girls the time of their lives! George just liked playing in the sand...

More running! Drinking a lot of water and sweating a lot! This has been one hot summer!

We've gone to Seven Peaks water park several times to keep cool.

Another way we're keeping cool is by heading to the mountains (at least) once a week. We found this lake at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon called Silver Lake that has a really easy hike (mostly a board walk) surrounding it so it was perfect for all the kids. And just beautiful!

(Note to self: next time we're shopping for beds, just look at rocks)

 The family at Silver Lake.

We had a 4 day family reunion in Heber so Pete and I took the opportunity to ride together up a freaking mountain while we were there! It was so awesome. We saw a lot of lizards sunning themselves on the hot, hot road, and some muddy moose tracks wandering from a puddle into the road. This road was a cyclists dream come true - nicely paved and wide, but with very little traffic.

And a beautiful view! ( It was a little too scary for me coming back down, though. I need to practice more.)

I also got to run in the Red Ledges golf course while we were in Heber, and it was so beautiful! (Do I sound like a broken record? Seriously, I can't get enough of Utah lately!) The stark contrast between the desert and the greens was really cool. (I think I counted 8 bunnies while out there, there are some sitting on the green in this picture, if you can see them)

The cement path through this new golf course was pristine and wide with some steep rolling hills to give me a nice challenge.

And of course more running! Last week was really fun because I split my 17 mile in two and ran with one friend and a dog for the first 7, then these two for the last 10.  Friends help the miles go by SO much faster!

 They helped me run really fast too!

I am going to work on posting more (once a week maybe?), but if you're dying for more you can always go check out my instagram feed which I am much better about posting to on a regular basis.

You will find a lot of these photos there, but not all of them, and many more! :)

Echo Olympic Triathlon 2014

I can not believe how nervous I was for this race!

It had been almost 2 years since my last tri.

I felt sick with nerves for like 2 days leading up to this race and I was even to the point where I was mad at myself for signing up and having it disrupt my life so much!

But race morning came and I got up right when my alarm went off at 4am, got ready and got out of the house pretty much on schedule. I got to the little town of Coalville at a little after 5:30, which is when they opened transition. For this race, you park at the high school in town, then ride your bike a few miles to the lake where the finish line and transition area are set up. I had to go get my number, timing chip and body marked before I could set up in transition because we were assigned spots according to our numbers. I was number 71 which I thought was a cool number. The lady who was right next to me, number 70, was really nice and this was going to be her first Olympic distance tri so it was fun to talk to and be excited for her.

I was feeling pretty good, telling everyone that I've been doing tris for 10 years (It's actually only been 9!) and handing out advice and encouragement to anyone who seemed like they needed it. I had a lot of time to set up my transition area and get my wetsuit on. Then we found out that we would be starting 15 minutes late and I was a little annoyed because that meant it would just be that much later (and hotter) when we finished. But that is to be expected at pretty much any tri.

I met a few more people who were doing their first tri when I went down to the water. I acted all calm and gave them some pointers, the number one being to stay calm when you start the swim. To just stick your face in and focus on your breathing. I didn't realize how much I would need to follow my own advice!

We watched the people from Push To The Finish come out of their water with the people they were pulling and we all cheered so loud! I realized that this was why our start had been pushed back, and I was not annoyed  any more. It was so inspiring! I remember seeing one little kid in a raft waving to everyone as they came in, looking so happy. It was so great! It was fun to see them out there on the rest of the course as well.

I got in the water for a short warm up, then suddenly it was time for the first wave to get into position. The first wave included a good portion of the Olympic distance age groupers, and also the elite athletes.

The gun went off and I started swimming, then everything changed. My confidence totally disappeared. I felt so disoriented and claustrophobic. The sun was shining in my eyes on the right, it was pitch black when I put my face in the water, and I could only see a short distance in front of me. I tried just to follow all the other swim caps and keep swimming, but a voice in my head started saying, "I don't want to do this! Why am I doing this? What am I doing? I don't even care about finishing, I just want to get out of this water!" I was so scared, and started looking around for the nearest kayak or boat, and there weren't really any nearby. I rolled onto my back for a few seconds and tried to just breath.

I realized that even if I wanted to get into a boat and drop out of the race, I'd have to swim over to one. I started reminding myself that I was a good swimmer, that I have done this many times, and that I would be OK. I decided to wipe my goggles off and that actually helped a lot! Now I could at least see where I was going! I just needed to start sticking my face back into that dark water, blowing bubbles, and counting. "1, 2, 3, breathe, 1, 2, 3, site..." So that's what I started doing. And the panic went away almost immediately. I was going to be ok!

I was reminded of a Mormon Expression Voices podcast that I had just recently listened to with a guy who had really bad panic attacks that would affect his every day life. He explained that he had to start letting the panic just wash over him, feel the fear, embrace it, and then it would go away. That was kind of what I experienced out there. I got into my groove and finished the first lap, then headed out on for another go around. As I got to the first buoy of the second lap, it started to get crowded, and I started to feel that fear again. This time I looked at that fear and said, "Bring it on!" I reminded myself that THIS is why I do triathlons. I don't do it because it's easy. I do it because it is freaking scary out there! And IT IS AWESOME! Overcoming that fear and doing hard things is why I do triathlons. And, oh yeah, I love swimming! I just had fun the rest of the swim. I actually found myself feeling sad that the swim was over when I got to the end.

I had gone into this race with the goal of coming out of the water less than 4th in my age group because that's where I ended up last time I did Echo, and my times in the pool have improved a lot this year. Turns out I was 4th in my age group out of the water again! I was still pretty happy with my time, considering it included a small panic attack, and it was almost 4 minutes faster than last time. It really makes me want to do another one without the panic attack! How fast could I be then?

SWIM TIME (1.5k) - 29:50

I didn't really rush through transition. It took me forever to get my wetsuit off and shoes on, but I was ok with that. Seriously, I hadn't even practiced that for almost 2 years so I was not planning on being fast in transition.

T1 TIME: 3:37

The bike was just really fun. I got passed by a LOT of people! But, with everyone who passed me I was able to think, "I beat them in the swim!" Of course, that's not completely true because some of those people would have been in different waves than me, but still, I didn't let it get to me. Besides, I had really not gotten out on my bike as much as I would have liked anyway so I just tried to enjoy it. There's a pretty long, sustained but not too steep uphill leading to the turn around so it's really fun to come back down!  Towards the end, though, you have to go up a pretty steep hill. I got a side ache, which never happens to me on the bike so that was weird, and a ton of people passed me at this point. I was worried about how my run would be after biking because I hadn't practiced that at all either so I didn't push it on the bike as much as I could have, and I took some time trying to get that side ache to go away.

BIKE TIME (40k) - 1:22:06

Again, I had a pretty slow transition, making sure to apply a lot of sunscreen before heading out on the run. I also stopped at the port-o-potties just outside of transition so that time was added onto my run. Grrr. But you gotta do what you gotta do! For some reason my T2 time didn't show up in my results, and I'm not willing to do the math to figure out what it was...

I started my garmin after I left the port-o-pottie which I knew wasn't going to reflect my finish time on the run, but it would show me more what I actually ran. I felt pretty tired, but I just got back into counting. I said, "1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3..." really quickly over and over in my head to get my legs moving fast, and that actually worked really well! I was pretty much always happy with my pace when I'd look down at my garmin.

After the mile 4 aid station, where I stopped to dump water on my head and drink the sports drink (which I did at every mile), I passed the guy in front of me and told him my goal was to just get to the next aid station. Then I heard his footsteps right behind me. It was like he was chasing me, and it really pushed me to keep my pace up! After about half a mile, he passed me and told me to get right behind him and draft off of him, and that that's what he had been doing with me. I got right in behind him and just focused on stepping when he stepped and staying right with him. That helped me so much! We got to the next aid station and we both stopped to drink and dump water on our heads. I wondered if he'd go on without me, but he looked at me and said, "Come on, keep up!" So I got right behind him again and he totally pulled me in! Just before the finish, I moved up next to him and he asked me if I was going to pass him at the end and I told him "No, this is already faster than I'm used to running!" So we crossed the finish line together, and I gave him a high five and told him thank you for helping me do the fastest run I've ever done at a tri. I don't know if that's true now looking at the results, but I really felt like I was pushing harder for the whole time like I've never done before. But with all the stopping at aid stations and the bathroom break, it still ended up being 10 minute miles. Oh well.

RUN TIME (10k) - 1:02:42

FINISH TIME - 2:58:17

My finish time was tied with the 2 fastest Olympic times I've had so I was happy with that even though it wasn't quite a PR. The race shirt we got is really nice and soft, and the cutest one I've ever gotten! It's nice to get a shirt that I'll actually wear.

When I got home, Pete asked me if it felt good to be a triathlete again and I said, "YES!"