Friday, July 3, 2015

Peachtree ready with workouts and carbs

Hey everyone, happy 3rd of July!  I hope that you're having a great time starting off your holiday weekend and have lots of BBQs and fun things planned.  I wanted to catch up on my week before I got into my weekend, although technically it has already started since we had the 3rd of July as a holiday in our office.  Three cheers for long weekends!

On Sunday, after the sprint triathlon and feast, I relaxed for a bit before heading out in the evening to go out and join my running group for a very special run.  I mentioned a few times that the leader, founder, and some of the most positive spirit behind Movers and Pacers,  the running group that I have become a part of, was moving out of Atlanta.  He recently got a great promotion and moved to Portland, Oregon.  For the running crew, it will continue on with a team of captains in place, for which I am very grateful.  He's built something that will live on beyond him, but it is still very sad as he is a good friend to many, a great energy, and somewhat of a staple to the music, hip hop, running, and overall community in Atlanta.  For his final Sunday Flagship run, we planned to all wear his favorite color, orange, pace behind him, and have surprise runners jump out all along the route.  It was a very memorable and symbolic run to say farewell to Kaos.

I originally was just planning on going to cheer and support, since I had done a race that morning.  But I ended up somehow starting the run course.  I immediately knew it was not the best idea and ran/walked a very moderately paced 2 miles, stopping to take lots of pictures.

The sky was really working its magic for us that night too.

It was a really sad final run for me, because Kaos has really been a major influence on my life here and I'm really thankful for that.  His friendship, openness, warm heart, and fun energy really encouraged me to come out to the group over and over before I even knew anyone else.  And now, I have a group that is like a family to me.

And after there were drinks, of course, and a few other surprises that we'd pulled together for him.  I could have stayed out all night, I was having such a good time, despite my tired legs and body.  I forced myself to go home at a reasonable hour, giving Kaos a few big hugs and hoping to see him soon!

The week I had a number of really good workouts starting with a much needed yoga class on Monday night.  On Tuesday, I got up early and did 5 miles with a few friends, running part of the hill of the Peachtree Road Race course one final time.  I was only supposed to run 3 miles per my training plan but was somehow suckered into doing 5, although I really didn't mind it with such fun running partners.

I'm really thankful I've found/convinced people to run in the mornings with me in Atlanta.  I love getting my miles in before work and it makes the rest of my day so much happier.  I don't have a necessarily regular group, but there are starting to be a number of people I can count on to join me in the mornings.  Wednesday and Thursday I both had running partners, doing an easy 4 on Wednesday and another easy 3 on Thursday, running part the END of the Peachtree Road Race route on Thursday.

I also got back on track (for the most part) with eating this week, tracking my Weight Watchers points as of Tuesday.  I went back to weight training as well getting in a couple really good workouts this week.  It feels nice to be back on track and I am hoping that I can stick with it through the weekend.  Last night was a challenge, although I did have lots of extra points built up.

I hosted a party at my place last night inviting friends from the running group over who are all participating in the Peachtree Road Race for a pre-race pasta dinner.  It's only a 10K but pasta is delicious and this race is a BIG DEAL so it is fun to be a part of the celebrations.  The Peachtree is the LARGEST ROAD RACE IN THE WORLD.  Yes, you read that right.  The largest race in the WORLD.  There will be about 60,000 people running 6.2 miles tomorrow morning from the Lenox Mall to Piedmont Park and it is going to be bananas.

Dinner was great last night and I made a lot of pasta sauce out of the delicious sauces sent to me by Tuttorosso.  In December, the lovely people at Tuttorosso sent me a package with a few different sauces and recipes and I was really honored when they asked me if I wanted some additional product.  This time I received a number of different cans of crushed tomatoes, some with chilis, some tomato sauce and some tomato paste.  I used a whole bunch of the cans as a base for a sauce in which I just added ingredients I had around my kitchen... garlic, onions, seasoning, olive oil, etc.  I even threw in a little cinnamon because I have heard that can be good in tomato sauces.  I was pretty happy with how it all came out and to go along with the sauce I made some pasta, some sauteed veggies, and cooked up some ground beef to make a meat sauce.

Everyone thought that the food was delicious and it made me really happy that the night went so well.  We barely took any pictures because we were too busy eating, playing games, and having a good time!  That's what it is all about after all.

Thank you so much Tutorosso for helping make the night a success!!!!!

This morning I met back up with the two lovely ladies you see in the pictures above to go to the Peachtree Road Race expo and get our bibs and check out the goodies.  It was a totally chaotic process, as expected with 60,000 people running the race.  However, they did a very good job of having lots of volunteers, adequate signage, and lots of things to look at.  There was just a lot of people! 

We did my usual prerace ritual of wandering around, shopping, getting all the free samples imaginable and taking every photo opportunity available.

Two cool things about this race expo were that A) They were giving out beer samples.  And, yes please!

B)  I got to try out this recovery running thing that is this treadmill contraption where you essentially run as if you have less body weight.  On the treadmill in addition to adjusting the speed, you can also adjust how much of your body weight you would like to run without.  I went down to 25% and it was really bizarre.  Lots of physical therapy places or universities/sports teams are getting them for players who are injured to be able to continue to exercise and run but with less weight impact.  Interesting concept!  I felt like I was running on the moon though.  And the less body weight you let carry you, the bigger the wedgie.  So I wasn't a HUGE fan of that.

I'm super excited for the race tomorrow and looking forward to the whole experience.  I am in wave C, which I am really excited about because it puts me in a good position to really try and run hard and PR.  I'm also conflicted because I hear that the race course is a party with people giving out shots and pizza and beer and I also could totally participate in that!!! I wish that I could run the race twice!!!  I guess we'll just see how things go tomorrow and do whatever feels like the most fun at the time.  Run hard or run (drunk) for fun??  Decisions, decisions!  However, my first Peachtree Road Race is tomorrow and I am READY!!!  Happy 4th of July everyone!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lake Allatoona Sprint Triathlon 2015 Race Recap

One of the reasons I flew back from NY to Atlanta on Saturday rather than staying the full weekend and getting more, much needed, time with friends there was that I had a race I was signed up to run that Sunday.  The race was another sprint triathlon, the Lake Allatoona Sprint Triathlon.  This one was longer in the swim and run portions than the race I did a few weeks ago so I was a bit nervous going into it.

It is strange to me that sprint triathlons are not standard distances, I find it difficult to figure out how to pace myself and plan for it.  The race I did this Sunday started with a 500 meter swim (compared to a 200 meter swim at Sweetwater) followed by a 16 mile bike (compared to a 10 mile bike at Sweetwater) and then a 5K run (same as Sweetwater.)  This varies from races I have done in the past as well, so it is just incredibly hard to judge!  How people compare times for these races is based on their paces during the different segments, so that's what I will use to compare - hopefully that doesn't seem confusing!

Also, before I even did the race, I looked up last year's times online to see the type of athlete/finishing times I would see.  There were SO many people who had run times that were ridiculously fast, as well as really fast bikes and swims so I knew going into this race that were would be some serious athletes at this thing.  It intimidated me and scared me a bit and I pretty much told myself, "There is no chance in hell that you are going to place or be at all competitive in this race."

So, on Sunday morning I got up and packed up my things to head north to Acworth, Georgia for the race.  It was about 35 minutes from my house, so really not a bad distance.  I felt more confident driving with my bike on my car and planned my arrival to be there plenty early to get into the transition area.  I had a little bit of a panic when I arrived and found traffic totally stopped and backed up outside of the swim/transition area as parking was (apparently) full.  I waited for about 25 minutes just trying to park but eventually got in and got into the transition area a few minutes before they were closing it.  I threw all my things down and got set up and head over to the start.  This race was far more organized than the last race, with specific areas assigned for each bib number, which is great.  The race was so much more organized than the last tri, for which I was really thankful.  Except the parking.  That was annoying.

I met up with the friends I knew doing the race, and waited around until the start.  It was actually a pretty chilly morning for Atlanta standards.  The breeze kept me sort of chilly and I was a little nervous getting in the water.  When we got over to the start though, it was actually like bath water!  The lake was SO warm.  Maybe due to the really high heat we've had but I was so surprised to have the lake water be so warm.  It felt gross to be honest, but at least the warm water got me out of the chilly air.

When the swim start I went out hard and then felt a bit tired.  I felt a lot more crowded than I have in other races, swallowed a lot of water, and had a hard time pushing hard.  I eased back a bit and just focused on counting my breathes and sighting the buoys that we had to swim around.  For some reason the whole time I felt like I was swallowing a lot of water and running into people.  Plus, it felt so bizarre to be swimming in BATH WATER.  The lake was so warm, guys.

I swam until I couldn't anymore and then ran up the beach into the transition area.  I saw my friends, which was really fun to have them cheering for me and ran over to my bike to throw on sneakers and head out, and realized that I could not find my race bib.

Generally, you do not need to wear the race bib during the bike since your number is on your bike, but I knew I would need it for the run and I could not find it anywhere!  I had gotten ready in a rush setting up at the transition but I knew I had laid it out by my things and now couldn't find it anywhere!  I started to panic and look all around at the other transitions next to me.  I noticed that some of my stuff was knocked over so thought maybe people had bumped it?  Or it had blown away?  I didn't want to waste any more time on the transition, so I just grabbed my bike and on the way out let an official know.  I told her I couldn't find it anywhere, she asked my number, and told me she would try and figure it out.

I then hopped on the bike and head out for what I felt was the hardest portion of the race.

The bike was a really hilly route!  I felt pretty crappy the whole time on the bike.  While I passed people a lot on the last race and it was a big confidence booster, I was passed over and over on the bike on this route and there was nothing I could do to keep up.  I passed a few people at the beginning and fought hard on some of the uphills, but also had to give myself a little break at sometime. I was scared I would totally stress out my legs at the beginning of the bike.  The 17 mile course is significantly more than the last course, which was 10 miles and I wasn't sure what to expect.  There were some steady up hills and a couple great downhills.  However, for the most part, I felt like we were going uphill a lot.

The bikers were flying by me and I felt totally unprepared to keep up and also scared to push too hard.  I was really good at this race about using my watch so I was tracking the miles on my watch to know how much I had left.  I want to get better experienced and train more on the bike to be able to know how hard to push, how to tactically get up hills, etc.  I tried to use the different handlebars and tried to stand up while going up hills but I still am not that comfortable on the bike to be able to do all that.  I use the same few gears and just WERK.

I remembered back to the first tri I ever did when I was MISERABLE on the bike and for the first time in my life thought, "I wish I was running right now."

When the bike portion finally ended, it ended with a downhill that had a ton of speed bumps at the bottom.  Talk about stupid planning!  I slowed a lot but saw online after that a few people wiped out on the bumps.

When I got into the transition area again, I looked again for my run bib and couldn't find it.  I talked to another official who was less understanding and just told me there was nothing he could do and to just go.  Both times I told the officials, "Okay, I just don't want to get disqualified!" because in USAT  (U.S.A Triathlons - I assume) certified races (which this one was) they are very strict about the rules (as they should be.)  The second transition for me is usually just a few seconds long since I really just have to drop my bike and helmet and not wanting to waste any more time, I head out on the run.

My legs felt like lead, as they usually do when I get off the bike.  Writing this now I am thinking again that I need to practice these transitions more.  The run started off with a few uphills, which was just cruel, however, having in my head that I didn't have a place or position to hold on to, I told myself to just keep moving forward even if it is slow.  I think about walking so much when I am running and when I want to do that, which I did during this race, I just remind myself of the streak I have going of not giving up on a run and tell myself to keep moving.

The run was a bit boring, nothing too exciting, and at one point I saw a friend who was filming and taking pictures and I shouted to her, "This route sucks!" and having done the race a previous year, she replied back "I know!"

I looked at my watch a couple times and then convinced myself to stop looking.  I had an idea of where the finish would be since we had biked through part of the route, so I just kept moving forward.  They had water stations throughout the run, which was nice, and I grabbed water everywhere that I could, in addition to the water I'd had back during the transition - it was good!

The finish line had a big arch and it felt good to finish and walk and have some water.  I wasn't totally out of breathe like I was after the race I did a few weeks ago.  I walked around, loosen up, got a post race massage (one of my favoritest things ever) and then tried to find some of my friends.  Once I did, we caught up about how we did, took some pictures and chatted about the hard course.

I then checked my race results on the preliminary results board and saw that I was placed as 4th in my age group!  Granted, there weren't a ton of people in my age group, but that was still pretty cool.  Not too many 25-29 year olds I think do endurance events.  I think the most competitive age group is 30-35 and I also realized at this race, it would be my last one competing in that age group!!!  USAT races have you compete in the age that you will be at the end of the year.  I am currently 28 but on the last day of the year I will be 29 so I ran as a 29 year old on Sunday.  I thought to myself, "Next summer I will be competing as a 30 year old."  AHHHH, craziness!!

I was excited about the AG place and also getting tired so I decided to head back to my car.  It was about a mile walk from the finish of the race to the transition area/parking.  I decided to just walk back, which I did, and also attempted to run a bit of it, which didn't get me far.  My knees were not having it!

I packed up my things, returned to my car, got everything all situated and then went out and met some friends to eat all the food in the world at a brunch buffet at a restaurant called Copeland's.  It was glorious.  There is also nothing I love more than putting on dry clothing after a triathlon.  Sweaty or not, it always feels so good!

When the results of the race were posted online, I started analyzing them like I never have before in other races.  First off, it was posted online that I had a 2:00 minute penalty posted to my name!  I was so annoyed and frustrated, thinking it was because of my missing bib, and I had spent so much additional time looking for it and talking to officials, hoping to not get a penalty!  It bumped from 4th to 5th in my AG with the penalty.  However, the frustrated was unneeded.  I e-mailed the race director to find out what the penalty was for and after sharing pictures of myself in my race day outfit and of my bike, they confirmed that the penalty had been incorrectly assigned and would be removed!

I also started looking up my pace times and became really upset at what my pace was for the swim.  According to the results, I swam at a 2:09 pace for a 100 meter swim, which is really a slow time for me.  And when I looked up my results from past year races, realized that it was actually my slowest swim pace ever!  I knew I didn't push AS hard as I should, but I also would have thought my time would be much better since I have been practicing and swimming regularly, which I NEVER have in past years!  How was my 2013 Fronhofer time so fast when my swim split was a 1:35??

Luckily, when comparing the times for the bike and the run, they both are faster.  My runs are pretty consistent, but the impact that having a road bike vs. a hybrid bike is clearly visible!!!  The Crystal Lake race has an incredibly hard bike course, which is why the pace is SO low there.  And Duanesburg was a mostly downhill course, which is why it is a little faster.  I'm proud of the improvements on the bike and run, but the swim doesn't make any sense to me!

I felt really annoyed all evening about this and actually had gone to write this blog entry last night but stopped because I got really frustrated when I saw these time comparisons.  However, today, I asked a friend of mine who is a triathlon expert (she has done many, many sprints, Olympics, and 1/2 Irons) how her swim time compared to past times.  She said it was actually WAY slower and that she had done this race before and her pace was about 3 minutes slower.  She said a number of people she talked to said the same.

That provided me some comfort because I was really disappointed seeing that decline in the swim pace year after year - especially since this is the first year I am specifically training for the swim!

I was really proud of myself after the triathlon I did a couple weeks ago, not because I got first place in my age group and 3rd place female finisher (although that was awesome enough for me to repeat again here) but because I pushed myself so hard in every sport of the tri.  I felt like I could have pushed harder in this race.  I got scared about pacing, about saving some energy, about the hills, and I also mentally psyched myself out before I even started the race telling myself there was no way I was going to do well.  I realized how much wanting to fight for a finish place meant to me in the last race and when I did finish and realized that if I had pushed a little bit harder, I could have placed for my age group!?  Well, that was a tough pill to swallow.  I'm still swallowing it, actually.

I want to leave races feeling like I left everything I could on the race course.  I felt that way after the Braves 5K and the Sweetwater Triathlon and the Publix Half Marathon and I like that feeling.  I want to train more and get better at how I feel during the swim and the bikes to be able to do the same with the triathlons.  I really am enjoying participating in these this summer and want to sign up for a few more before the season ends.  I also am thinking really seriously about my goals for next year and whether a main race goal for 2016 should be a Half Ironman.

Yup, I said it.  It's in my mind, everyone!!!!

So, with that, I will finish this post sharing that my final race time for the Lake Allatoona Sprint Triathlon was 1:41:38 and I was 4th in my age group.  As always, I am proud of myself for finishing, but also feel like I could have pushed harder during this race.  The race was super well organized, which was great.  You should get there early for parking.  And plan a way to get back to the start from the finish if you aren't into walking a mile.  And also, it is a challenging bike course!  I am really excited to do more triathlons and love the atmosphere at these well organized races and am also enjoying all the strategy that I am realizing goes into them!  I am just learning!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Return to Arizona, New York, and friends who are like family

My summer weekend in Atlanta was followed up by a hop on a plane and a trip away for the week that brought me back to two places that I love.  Two places that I love for very different reasons though.

On Monday evening I head out from work to the airport for an 8:00 p.m. flight to Phoenix, Arizona.  Right after I decided to go there on vacation at the end of May I learned that I was going to be returning there for work in June, so it was sort of a funny coincidence.  I was looking forward to going back to the area since I had enjoyed it so much when I was there on vacation.  However, what a difference a month makes, because the heat in the area skyrocketed over the past few weeks and temps while I was there were in the 110s!  I have never been anywhere with that sort of temperature!

We stayed in a beautiful hotel, that was also ridiculously cheap.  Since it was work travel, I wasn't paying for it personally, but as a cheapskate, I was totally blown away seeing the $79/night price tag for a beautiful hotel!!  This was the view from my little hotel room outdoor seating area.

I spent Monday evening until Wednesday evening in Phoenix for work and had a fun time with colleagues and a successful business trip.  My original intention was to start over Weight Watchers on Tuesday AM since that's my weekly "reset" day.  Since I knew I was "starting over" on Tuesday, I did what any logical person would do on Monday, and ate like shit.  Including a package of Milky Way Minis that didn't even taste good.

And then when Tuesday came around, I did fairly well throughout the day... until we went to dinner and it was a delicious and Spanish tapas place.  I just went nuts.  I ate so much, including both of the churros that were served to me for dessert.  They were insanely good and my quick jump to shovel that both into my face even caused my male coworkers to comment, "Uhhh Katelyn... do you want mine too?"

Good work, Katelyn.

I know I not too long ago wrote about loving myself the way that I am and I certainly am not forgetting that.  It's mostly that I just feel like crap when I am eating this way and know that what I am doing is just not good for my health.  I have had junk food and processed foods nonstop for the past week since I ordered that bowl of cheese dip last Friday night.  Nothing is fueling my workouts and nothing is what my body needs to move forward.  Cookies, beer, churros, fried food, white bread, ice cream, candy, and all this crap is just taking away from my exercise goals beyond just impacting my waist line.  I am doing my best to always smile and be happy with who I am though, no matter if I am feeling my best or my worst.  I am me and I am human!

I was able to get my workouts in, even though the temperatures jumped way over 100 each day, which I was proud of as well.  In Phoenix, for the first time ever I ran on the treadmill thinking it was too hot outdoors.  I did 3 miles on the treadmill on Tuesday AM followed by some weights, and then on Wednesday I pushed myself to run outside, which was great and actually really not too bad either.  I did 4 miles on Wednesday, again followed by a short weight workout.

Wednesday evening I broke free of the heat, jumping on a red eye flight to my old stomping ground of Albany, NY!  I was so excited to go back to Albany and the red eye I took was a bit silly since it barely even should be called a red eye.  I had a 3.5 hour flight from Phoenix to Detroit then a 1 hour flight from Detroit to Albany - so neither is ideal for really getting a good amount of sleep!

I landed in Albany and went straight to some meetings I had scheduled, and then spent the afternoon with work colleagues enjoying the beautiful sunshine on Lake George.  I am really grateful that I work with some wonderful people who I call friends as well as colleagues.  I have known many of these guys and girls for years now (I've been at my company 7 years and am now an old timer!) and you may also recognize my friend Allie who I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon with this past March.

I purposefully wore a strapless dress for this outing, even though it's not something that is usually my style, in an attempt to try and even out my tan line.  I think it is going to need a lot of work since I have had a "Speedo tan" every summer since I was 6 years old.  When I was younger it was due to the racer back Speedo swimsuits I used to wear nonstop through the summers.  And now it is due to the running tops I have and the majority of my outdoor time being in a sports bra and running top.  I will have to post a pic of my tan line at some point from the back, but you can tell even from the front that I need some work.

Speaking of running, of course being in New York meant that I got to run with my old running besties!!!

I've missed my regular rhythm of morning miles with these ladies so much over the past few months.  I owe so much to the two of them for getting me hooked on running with friends and the importance of being on a schedule and having someone to hold you accountable for.  Plus, how fun and therapeutic it is to chat away your problems while on a sunrise run.  The crew I run with in Atlanta has been wonderful, but Coach B and Aubs are the original crew (along with Dani too!)

We did 3 miles on Friday morning in Saratoga State Park and then Jess and I did 5 miles on Saturday morning in Galway, per my marathon training plan.  On Friday after our run, we went to Uncommon Grounds and enjoyed bagel sandwiches and coffee.  So much has happened in the past year and there is such exciting and fun stuff ahead for everyone too.  It was great to laugh and catch up and run with the girls over (a delicious) (and not the best for you) breakfast.

In between the Friday and Saturday runs, I spent all my time hanging out with my good friends Heidi and Dave, who I haven't always called out by name, but have been two of my best friends over the past years.  They have been there for every birthday, major event, holiday, and so many nights out.  Before I moved to Atlanta, a typical weekend night for me would be hanging out with the two of them at their house, drinking wine and watching movies.  That's how I spent New Year's Eve this past year and that's one of my favorite things to do.  Words cannot express how much the two of their friendship has meant to me over the years.  I stayed with them for a number of weeks before I moved to Atlanta and it is incredible when you have friends who just welcome you into your home as if you are a part of the family.  I love these two and NOW, also am so in love with their little baby!!!!!!!

It's an incredible thing to see your friends turn in to parents.  They are doing an amazing job and to see them in this new role in their lives meant so much to me.  It's been one of the hardest things about moving - to not be able to be there for so many key things for my friends.

"Being there" is one thing I was always good at.  If you've been reading for a while you know how much I was on the move, and that's because it has always been important to me to be there for my friends.  However, with moving somewhere that is a plane ride away, I simply cannot be at things as easily as I have been able to in the past.  As much as I truly am loving Atlanta, it kills me to be away.

I have missed engagement parties, wedding showers, and baby showers and smaller things - like being there to see my niece and nephew more -- or even just be able to help two of my best friends during the first few months of their baby's life.  Of course, my friends laugh at me, and are far more understanding than I am to myself.  Heidi recently laughed at me via Facetime when I told her, "I just really wish I could be there more to help cook dinner or do your laundry for you!!"

She said to me, "Katelyn, haha.  You want to do my laundry?  That's sort of creepy."

Anyways, it meant so much to me to be able to spend the day and night with Heidi and Dave and their baby, Finn.  They are adjusting so beautifully to being parents and it was so nice to see these two who I have known so well and spent so much time with as their 3rd wheel over the past few years, now as parents.  That little baby is so blessed!!!!

Heidi also had him dressed wearing the onesie that I gave him last fall, before anyone at all knew that Heidi was pregnant and was his first gift he'd received :)  And we ate some delicious food, including one of my favorite BLTs in existence, some INSANELY good ice cream sandwiches, and an insanely delicious meal that Heidi and Dave put together and we enjoyed outside.  So yay!

After my visit, I headed to the airport midday on Saturday to catch a flight back to Atlanta.  I spent the evening getting caught up on life here (exciting Saturday indeed!) and am going to be heading to bed quite shortly.  I had a great week.  I ate delicious food.  I got my exercise in.  I saw dear, dear friends and I miss them so much already that it hurts inside.  There is just something so wonderful about the friends who you have known for so long, grown up with, and are just so comfortable with.  Every time I am with Heidi and Dave at their home, I am overwhelmed all over again with how welcoming they are to me and how much I love and feel at home with them.  I am so thankful for the week and am already looking forward to when I will get to see them all again.

Happy weekend everyone!

P.S.  Cannot not say a thing about this... AMAZING decision and step forward for this nation.  Tears of joy and happiness all around.  For so many, two men or two women being able to legally marry across the United States means nothing.  Which is why it boggles my mind that people were opposed to it.  But for so many others, this means EVERYTHING.  I have been waiting so long for this day and am so thankful it is here sooner rather than later.  Love wins.