Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mercedes Marathon Relay Recap

Back in November, Brick and I were hanging out one day and tried to think of new states we could go run in. Locally, a big race not too far from here that we knew of people running every year was the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama (about 2 hours from Atlanta.)

The race weekend includes a 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon and a Marathon Relay.  We threw a few ideas around and ended up on Thanksgiving Day, pulling in our friends India and Janet, and decided to do the Marathon Relay. Not long afterwards, our 5th runner was identified in our friend Robyn, and our marathon relay team and girls weekend group was set! None of us had spent any time in Birmingham before (I had never even been to Alabama) so we decided to go out early on Saturday morning, spend the day, and then do the race on Sunday morning.

Long story short was that we had an awesome time. Our group meshed together perfectly, we had great conversation on every topic from politics, race relations, career, music, TV, and of course running. We laughed, acted silly, danced in places where nobody else was dancing, and everyone was just agreeable to do whatever. On the way out we stopped at the Georgia/Alabama border to take pictures because this was a new state for me to enter and I wanted to document. And as I do, these ladies appreciate a good photo op (second photo styled by Brickney.)

When we first arrived, we checked into the hotel and went over to the race expo. I booked a hotel last minute and was able to get one still at a good price right a few blocks from the start/finish of the race and the race expo, which worked out perfectly. However, the race expo left a little to be desired so we didn’t stay there long. They had beer samples and some photo ops, which was my favorite part, but not a ton of vendors or things to really do there. We'd also heard rumors of BBQ at the expo but none was spotted by me. Lines to get bibs and everything else went very smoothly though and they also offered the ability to try on and swap T-shirt sizes, which is always appreciated and I have seen that more and more at races I have done lately (NYC Marathon and Hot Chocolate 15K both allowed for this.)

We walked from the race expo to a place for lunch that had been recommended by my cousin’s girlfriend and we had a delicious, although somewhat random meal at Purple Onion. It was probably the longest 1.5 mile walk we’ve ever done and left us wondering what more Birmingham had to offer. The food was delicious though!

After lunch at the Purple Onion, we decided to Uber back and ended up with an awesomely fun Uber driver to pulled over at a moment’s notice to provide us with another opportunity for a fun photo op. Usually in my life I am getting teased all the time by my friends by my need to document things and take a lot of pictures so I love when my friends are just as crazy about not letting a good photo opportunity go to waste as I am. Again, photo was styled by Brickney :)

Our next stop was the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was somewhere all of us wanted to be able to stop by to pay our respects. On Sunday, September 15th in 1963, members of the KKK planted 15 sticks of dynamite in the basement of the African American 16th Street Baptist Church, which was detonated by a timer and killed four little girls at the church. If anyone has seen the moving Selma, the very beginning of that moving film depicts this bombing at the church. Martin Luther King Jr. called this "one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity" and it was a turning point in the civil rights movement in the United States. I have only learned of this crime (I don't ever remember it being taught in Northeastern schools...) from visiting the Center for Civil and Human Rights museum in Atlanta, which has a great memorial there and information on terrorist act and actions afterwards. It was heartbreaking but important to visit this church in Birmingham and pay respects to this part of history - which we are still very much fighting today unfortunately. Even in June 2015 there was a massive shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. It is devastating that things like this are still happening.

Following our visit to the church we returned to the hotel and rested a bit before I head out with India to stop by gatherings with two other groups of runners in Atlanta. First was the group that I am now training with - including seeing my triathlon coach, who was running the full marathon. We also saw a group of friends of ours from Atlanta who we ended up eating with, before returning back to meet up with the rest of our group for a couple drinks and shenanigans at a restaurant near our hotel.

The Race Itself

Sunday morning started very early and in my mind I was joking a little bit thinking about how the race was like the NYC Marathon - where I had to get up sooo early in the morning but wouldn't even be running until many hours later.  The night before we had timed out when we thought everyone would be running their specific legs and what time they would be at the checkpoints. Our order went Brickney running 6 miles, India running 3, Robyn running 6, Janet running 3, me running 8 miles.

7:00 - Brickney Starts
8:00 - India Starts
8:35 - Robyn Starts
9:41 - Janet starts
10:15 - Katelyn starts
11:35 - Team finishes!

My checkpoint was 3 miles from the start/finish line and there was a shuttle that would take you to the checkpoint but it left at 6:35 a.m.!! There was no way I was getting on a bus at 6:35 am to not even run until 10:15 am. I opted to just risk it and figure out a way to get there on my own. However, I was still up early as the rest of our team was up early.

We all walked to the start together at about 6:15 am and India and Robyn both left to go get on their shuttle buses, whereas Janet and I stayed with Brick until we saw her off at the start. It was a pretty quiet race start and it wasn't until about 10-15 minutes before 7:00 a.m. that it seemed like people actually showed up and got into the race corrals. We had fun, as we always do, making our own scene and dancing and laughing while we waited to see Brickney start off the race.

It was already warm even early in the morning and we were shedding layers before even starting. It was fun to watch the race start and see all the people I knew run out of the start line, but also a little weird feeling since this was a race I was running, but I wasn't even going to be starting for hours. I was able to capture one of my favorite running photos ever of Brick as she ran by us though!

After the runners went through, Janet and I returned to the hotel to relax a bit and actually funnily enough watch some of the race coverage on TV. It was definitely a bit disorienting to watch the race that you are running on TV while it is happening, but it made for a funny text message to my friends.

After a little over an hour we went back out, for Janet to walk to her start, and for me to figure out a way to get the 3 miles over to where I needed to be. It was still early and I had plenty of time so I wasn't too worried.  I went over to the area where the shuttles had been leaving from earlier and I actually was able to snag a ride on a shuttle to the start after it brought back some runners. And even luckier, it was the shuttle that brought Brick back after finishing her leg so we were able to say hello. She absolutely CRUSHED her leg of the race, running her fastest pace ever for her 6 miles and I was so proud of her! I love the feeling of feeling proud of your friends.I know how good it feels to work hard for something and to see that pay off is such a good feeling. I was already so excited about the day after Brick's leg of the race.

I was tracking our team and my triathlon coach through text messages and was happy to see that everyone was going right on time with what we had predicted. India had a great run, as did Robyn. Once I made it out to the checkpoint where I would be starting, I sat on the ground for a bit and watched a few videos on my phone, talked to some of the other runners, and then started cheering once the racers started to pass us. First the really fast people came then more and more waves of runners came through. Mercedes Marathon has people's names on their bibs for the full marathoners so everyone who came through, I cheered for by name. I was running the last 8 miles of the race, which meant that the people who were coming through were at mile 18 of the marathon. It's such a rough spot because you've already run SO MANY MILES and you still SO MANY TO GO!

At this point I was getting antsy to run but was also enjoying cheering, as I always do. Since I was tracking my coach, I knew when he would be coming through the marathon route, and it actually was not too far in front of where my friends were. I walked up a bit on the course to be able to see him and another one of the coaches from our group was riding his bike alongside on the route for encouragement. My coach was not having his best day, which happens, and he walked for a bit when he saw me and wished me luck and reminded me to run really easy because of the hip pain I have been having lately.

It amazed me that while in the MIDDLE of his own marathon, he still had any energy to focus on trying to coach me! I walked with him a bit and he told me "DO NOT catch up with me! Even though I am going slow!" and I wished them luck and hung around 5-10 minutes more until Janet came through to pass along our race belt and send me off on the run.

She was pretty much exactly on time, so right at about 10:15 I head off on my leg of the marathon relay - which was miles 18-26.

This was now my 2nd time running the last leg of a marathon relay and I knew what to expect - that the marathoners would be hurting - and I'd be flying through comfortably - so I knew one of my goals was to cheer for everyone else, as I had been at the checkpoint.  My only other goal with running these 8 miles were to do so without pain.  I had only run 3 miles (on the treadmill!) in the past 10 days as I have been having some hip pain but had been feeling good in the few days leading up to the race.

From the moment I started running, I felt awesome. I could tell right away that I had a LOT of adrenaline running through me - which a 3.5 hour build up until your run can do for you. I had to hold back a lot because I knew I needed to keep my pace under control for the run. I had the longest and also hilliest portion of this race and my only goal was to really not hurt myself so I had to remember to pull back a lot.

The miles felt good and I cheered for everyone I could - seriously smiling and feeling so happy while I ran. Maybe it was those 10 days off, but I had the biggest runners high from the very beginning and just had SO MUCH FUN every mile that I ran of this race. I talked to people, told everyone I passed they were doing great, said thank you to every police officer, and interacted with the few people who were out cheering and riling up the crowds for the other runners. It was seriously so much fun. This picture is how I was the entire 8 miles, I swear.

When I was about 4.5 miles in, I saw my coach, whose name is Jerome, up ahead, and another coach Adam, riding his bike alongside him. I knew I was going to catch up and felt bad because Jerome was just not having his best day and I know how hard that can be. I have only been working with him for 1.5 months so was unsure how to motivate or cheer for him, since it is usually the other way around! When I caught up, I stopped and walked with him a little and chatted about the day. Again, he was concerned about asking how I was doing and my hip, teasing me that he'd told me not to catch up to him. Adam and Jerome encouraged me to keep going if I was feeling okay and introduced me to one of their other friends who was out on the course running his first marathon. I ran with their friend for a little too but when he started walking as well, I kept going. My body is not too good at stopping and starting so I didn't want to mess anything up when I was feeling so good running with no pain.

The hills came and went and were really nothing too challenging given what I am used to running in Atlanta. When I got towards the end, I started to see some of the other people that I knew who had run the half marathon who were now out on the course cheering. It was fun to have people out supporting and one of the guys ran with me for a little bit in his flips flops and then I paused to take a selfie with him before continuing to the finish.

With about a quarter of a mile or so left, I saw Janet, who jumped in and ran towards the finish with me. We saw a few more people that we knew and I was still just feeling the happiest ever and loved having Janet with me. She asked how I was doing and I said I felt great - although when she asked if I wanted to sprint to the finish, I told her definitely not. Again - my only goal here was to not get hurt and was not trying to do anything crazy by pushing it in that last leg of the race.

India, Robyn, and Brick were all waiting for us at the finish. So once we got there, we all reunited and hung around a bit at the end of the race before getting ready to leave.  We had finished the marathon relay in about 4:29, which was exactly in line with what we expected. I think it goes to show how experienced we are at this stuff at this point that we were all able to predict our paces so exactly and run to that exact pace.  We all were pretty exact to what we had mapped out/planned the night before, almost down to the minute!  I was super proud of my team and so happy that this marathon relay weekend had come together as it had, after Brick and I originally schemed about it back in November on my couch one afternoon. Sometimes it is hard to coordinate things and get people organized but this had worked out so well.

After we hung around the finish for a bit, saw Jerome finish, and checked in with those friends at the end, we head back to our hotel room to shower and check out.  Before driving back, we stopped for a delicious brunch and then made our way back to Atlanta.

Personally, this race wasn't any sort of record breaking pace or anything like that but I was really proud of myself. First off, I cannot reiterate enough how happy I felt to be running every one of those miles during the race. It just felt great and I had so much fun. It reminded me a bit about when I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon with my friend Allie in 2015 where the race wasn't really about me or my pace, it was about other people and sharing the joy of running. I think that's what made it so special for me... it wasn't a race to PR or push myself. I was doing it because I love running and I love sharing it with other people.

My mile splits were: 9:27/9:36/9:39/9:32/10:32/9:29/9:44/9:40/9:36

The splits are super consistent even with the hills and the miles where the pace is a bit longer is when I stopped to walk with others or paused to say hello. I loved this and would definitely do the marathon relay again in the future!

Monday, February 20, 2017

February mid-month training update

Checking in from the middle/back end of February (what?! when did that happen??) on my training update! This month has been a lot about managing my injury and working through resting/rehabing and also getting in as much work as I could. I still have had a fairly successful month so far but I miss working out with a lot of intensity and hope that we can begin to build that back in. My coach says that we can and I am very anxious for that. It's been frustrating to say the least to exercise "on eggshells" which is the analogy I have used. I have still been working out every day but I am afraid to push too hard in order to hurt myself. I have been spending time daily working on core work, hip flexibility and strengthening my glutes, hamstrings and low back -- which is tedious and annoying to do but something I have to do moving forward. I just want to finish a workout gasping for air and miss that feeling. Hopefully soon though!

Wednesday, February 1 - 3300 M Swim

After my tough run in the morning on Tuesday, I rested the rest of the day and then got up in the morning to try and swim. It went fine and wasn't anything notable, just a regular morning swim but I knew I wasn't pushing 100%.  The workout was longer in nature and less intense and also involved some pulling, so it really actually was a good workout to do this morning. Later in the afternoon I went to the chiropractor and he reinforced for me that I really needed to rest. I was supposed to do a trainer ride in the evening of about an hour, but I skipped that and iced/stretched/rested.

Thursday, February 2 - Strength training + bike ride

For this evening, I had planned to go with some friends to do a bike ride that was more a fun bike ride than an intense exercise.  We met at the bike shop and rode 9 miles from Atlanta Cycling in Vinings to Meehan's in Atlantic Station. We rode at a comfortable pace and all stayed together, stopping multiple times for lights, to let people catch up, and to change my flat tire - which was the first I ever got on a bike ride!

We had a beer at Meehan's then biked the 9 miles back to Atlanta Cycling in Vinings. It was a really fun night and I felt good getting in time on the saddle and in the bike but was not a training ride.

Before I met up for that bike ride, I went to the gym and did a number of squats, lunges and some core work in my effort to strengthen up this core of mine and get stronger!

Friday, February 3 - Strength training + 400 M swim

This was a crappy day. I skipped getting up in the morning to swim on account of staying out past my bedtime the night before after getting back from the bike ride. I told myself that I would go to the gym in the evening and do the swim workout on my own, as well as some strength training.  Well, that never works out well for me so I ended up doing some upper body strength training and core work, then went and changed to get in the pool and ended up doing about 10 minutes of swimming before calling it quits. My hip was even hurting while swimming and it was frustrating me to have pain even in the pool.

I'd had a frustrating afternoon and wanted nothing more than to workout and have a really tough workout to take my mind off of things and work out some aggression... but my body was not allowing it. I felt down and bummed as an understatement.

Saturday, February 4 - Nothing

After my crappy Friday, I texted my coach and told him that I needed Saturday as a complete day off. I slept in and did not have any intent of working out the entire day. I did some errands then went to a beer festival and literally drank beer all day and danced like nobody was watching on a Saturday afternoon. I ate tacos and crappy food and ordered a big piece of cake as dessert and ate it all by myself and didn't care.  I pretended I was not an athlete or a triathlete and just had a Saturday not thinking.

I texted Brick and told her that I spent my day pretending that I didn't have any goals and she replied back with the most perfect answer, "Well, unless your goal is being happy." which is exactly right and this was a day that I needed and I think that my friends I spent it with really needed too. Therapeutic!

Sunday, February 5 - Easy 2 hours biking + stretching

My coach has advised for 2.5 hours of biking on Sunday, but I cut back and told myself to just do what felt good. I went out very easy and with very little intensity but was able to get in 2 hours. I biked into the wind on the Silver Comet for an hour then it took me about 50 minutes to get back with the extra push so then went back and forth for a little to get myself to 2 hours. I went home and stretched and iced and did more of my core stuff.

Later in the day, I should mention, I went and watched the Super Bowl with some triathlon friends from the new group I am working out with. It was a lot of fun and a great turnout. Who brought the Patriots fan to the Falcons party though??!! This Super Bowl was one for the record books with the Patriots playing the Atlanta Falcons. I wore my Gronk jersey to the game but was a big incognito as it was a throwback red jersey and not a lot of people noticed. I wanted the win for the city of Atlanta and it was an exciting game to watch. Was bittersweet to be happy for my hometown team but heartbreaking for the city I live in!

Monday, February 6 - 1.5 hours yoga

It had been months since I had returned to my favorite yoga class ever but decided to make an appearance on Monday since I know how good it is for core strength and flexibility. My coach had originally suggested it be another day off but I wanted to try yoga. I was pleasantly surprised with how good it felt and how much I was able to do, despite not having been there in a while and being hurt.

Tuesday, February 7 - 1:10 spin + stretching

I miss running officially. It was a week without running and I wanted to get back and try it but continued to hold off. I did 70 minutes on the bike trainer at home, holding off on intensity. Boo!

Wednesday, February 8 - 3000 M swim + strength training + stretching

This morning I returned to the pool after Friday's struggle and was able to complete the workout and got in 3000M in the pool. I was a little nervous because when I woke up in the morning my hip hurt a bit but it actually felt fine once I was in the water and I stretched a bit before starting. I spent the evening doing  some strength training and then some more stretching since I had to go immediately from the pool to a phone call this morning.

Thursday, February 9 - 30 minute treadmill test run + 45 minute spin

I started the morning with a trial run on the treadmill. I usually do not like to ever run on the treadmill and don't allow the weather to cause me to chicken out from running (Coach Jess taught me that's not allowed - a run day is a run day!) but I was up 1/2 the night with the wind waking me up whipping around outside. Since this was supposed to be an easy run, I didn't want to have to fight the wind, soI did it on the treadmill in my apartment building. I ran at a sub-10 minute pace except for the last 5 minutes and had no pain. I was happy at the lack of pain but got off the treadmill feeling frustrated because I am sick of exercising on eggshells and want to be pushing hard.

In the evening, I got back on my bike trainer for the first of 3 days in a row of riding the trainer. I had 45 minutes scheduled which felt like it went by so fast and I pushed hard during it because I wanted to see how it felt and because I needed to feel a burn and because it was only 45 minutes so I mentally felt like I could.

Friday, February 10 - 2800 M swim + 1:20 spin + stretching

I returned to the pool on Friday and we had a short workout with some good pickups in there that I was able to do without any pain. The workout actually was a bit shorter than what we usually do so at the end I added some extra kicking and easy cool down laps to get to 2800.

In the afternoon I did 1:20 on the bike trainer before heading out to meet friends for a wedding celebration thingy. I was a little stressed trying to fit in the afternoon ride and the stretching and everything but was proud I got it all in.  Mentally, I don't think I put a lot into the bike ride because I knew I had to do it again in the morning and because I was stressed with timing and work and couldn't really focus. But I got the time in and I didn't have pain.  When I got dressed to go out afterwards I felt cute too, so this day was a win for me.

Saturday, February 11 - 1:20 spin + stretching

We left on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. to go out to Birmingham for the Mercedes Marathon Relay, which meant that I was up early to get in time on the bike and doing my strength and stretching before leaving. Luckily we were all meeting at my house and heading out so it wasn't too difficult to roll out of bed, hop on the bike, shower afterwards and then be ready to go at 10:00 a.m.

There was no specific workout or intervals for this ride, which was different than what I had been doing. Usually I struggle to watch a new TV show or movie when I am on the bike trainer as I get distracted trying to do intervals and push hard and follow along with a plot. But since this was just an easy spin, I put on the movie Selma, to watch before heading to Alabama for the first time.

Sunday, February 12 - 8.14 mile run (in 1:19:12 at 9:43 average pace) at Mercedes

This was 8 of the happiest miles I have ever run. I felt like I was coasting and had a huge smile on my face the whole time. I will write a whole recap on it but I ran 8 miles this day as the last leg of the Mercedes Marathon Relay team with my friends.

Monday, February 13 - 40 minutes strength + 1:30 yoga

The morning after Mercedes I went to the gym to do 40 minutes of strength training that my coach put together for me. It included some lunges, burpees, jumping rope, and hip exercises. It was harder than I thought and got me sweating! In the evening I returned to yoga for the second week in a row and it was a lot of core work this day so I was really happy about that.

My hip hadn't hurt at all while I was running on Sunday, but it did hurt some on Sunday afternoon, so I had iced and rested it in the evening. Monday morning I woke up to no pain and had no pain throughout the day with these workouts so I was really happy.

Tuesday, February 14 - 5 mile run (in 48:48 at 9:44 pace) + stretching

Unfortunately, I woke up to pain on Tuesday and was super frustrated by that. How did it go from feeling good to bad again?!  It really pissed me off to be honest and it was sore even just walking around throughout the day on Tuesday. I had a 45 minute run scheduled for the evening and I thought about not doing it but I really needed the run on this evening for my soul, forget about my body. I just wanted to run and it was beautiful, warm evening.

I went out and did the 45 minutes, plus a little extra to get to 5 miles. I felt good the first couple of miles and then it started to flare up a bit so I tried to focus on core strength while I was running and also hopped off the pavement and ran on the side of the road on the dirt a bit to make it easier on the impact. Both of those things seemed to help and I finished the run feeling okay. Timing wise, it was actually a decent run for me as well with my mile splits being 9:31/9:44/9:47/9:28/10:02.

Wednesday, February 15 - 2500 M swim (left early) + 1:10 spin

This week was a bit of a crazy week at work and I had 7:00 a.m. calls all week. I did my best to get to swim practice on time and started in the water a little before 6:00 a.m. but then had to jump out to leave right at 7:00 a.m. for a call. I was happy I was able to get in 2500M and also pushed the pace a bit here for some 100s which felt good. I have been feeling sluggish in the water lately but today was a good day.

In the evening, I jumped back on the trainer for 1:10 of riding, which I started a bit later than I usually do. It was an uneventful spin but did 8:00 minute intervals which felt good!

Thursday, February 16 - 1:00 spin + stretching

There wasn't a ton of time in between my later evening spin and a rare morning spin for me. I had plans on Thursday evening to go to happy hour so I got up and did my ride and stretching in the morning. I was not a fan of the back-to-back rides and definitely didn't feel great on the bike this morning but I got it done!

Friday, February 17 - 1700 M swim (left early) + 50 minutes strength

The 7:00 a.m. calls really cramped my style this week. I had to hop out of the water right at 7:00 a.m. for another call this morning and I also didn't get there early enough to do any extra laps before the regular practice started so I only got in 1700M before I had to leave. On Wednesday when I swam there were only 2 people there whereas on Friday there were 12 people! I had to share a lane which is rare at my pool and it stopped me from being able to just do my own thing and keep going through the workout back-to-back without a lot of rest. We had to stay together so I didn't get as much done.

In the evening, I went down to my apartment complex's gym and did my strength workout exercises from the chiropractor and some core work for 50 minutes. It of course wasn't back-to-back nonstop exercise for 50 minutes but that's how long I was down there!

Saturday, February 18 - 1:00 hour running (6.11 miles at 9:50 pace)

I switched up my bike and run for the weekend and on Saturday afternoon I did a 1 hour run. I set off on the beltline but didn't really have any expectation of where I wanted to go.  I ended up feeling a little bored with the beltline and wanted some more hills in my run so I took a different route back and hills I got!  I was happy to not have any pain during the run and somehow it seemed to almost feel better on the hills?  Not sure if that is weird or not but I went with it and didn't question.

Sunday, February 19 - 2:04:32 hours biking (35.43 miles at 17.1 mph)

This Sunday was one of the best bike rides I have had to date! Since Saturday morning was forecast for rain, the whole group I train with decided to switch the bike ride to Sunday.  We went out to a place called "Silk Sheets" which I have only ever ridden at 2x before. Both times I have not had the best experiences so I wasn't thrilled about going there. However, once I arrived, there was a HUGE group and the weather was amazing. I biked in triathlon shorts and a short sleeved bike jersey in February!

There were a lot of people that I knew at the ride that I've been meeting throughout the past month through other group workouts, my swim program at my gym, the Super Bowl party, and other events. My coach was there riding, which would be my first time on the bike with him, and a few other friends who also just recently started training with this group! It was fun to know so many familiar faces and have the majority of the crowd be people I knew vs. new people. It also felt a bit intimidating if I am being honest as well. Now these people KNOW me and they will see how slow I am on the bike!

I could tell by checking my watch throughout the ride that I was going a faster pace than I normally did. I think the intimidation and the people built up a little adrenaline in me and I was pushing harder with my HR higher than usually is on the bike. I felt good though so I decided to just hang with it. My schedule said to do 2 hours, which ended up being one loop and it was almost exact at 2:04. The majority of the people riding were doing longer rides at 2:45 or 3:00 hours so I finished up with just a few others, including my coach, who had to head out to catch a flight.  He really pushed me the last big hill where I was dropping back and fading, but he challenged me to stick with him and it really got me to push myself through to the finish.

When I finished and looked at my watch it said my average pace was 17.1 mph!!! That is only my 2nd time EVER seeing an average pace in the 17s on a ride. I knew I was going faster than usual but I felt like that had to be a mistake or something. My coach told me no, that was right, and that I was biking strong.

I felt really, really good about that pace! He noticed that I am weaker on the hills so said that's what we'll have to work on and that I did a good job hanging with the pack when we were on the flats and downhills. I lose steam going uphill on the bike so that's a good objective to get better at. I honestly still feel in a little disbelief about the ride - that it must have been a fluke or something. Maybe it was the really nice weather? Did I have wind pushing me both ways?  Was this all a downhill route?  Was I just drafting more?

My coach told me that we had some crosswinds and that this route is actually harder than where I usually bike with the hills and the wind. So I felt really good about this ride! I want to get outdoors more and recreate this as much as possible. Bring on the 17s!!!

And as a side note, Sunday was an extra amazing day because I got to see my Syracuse Orange play in Atlanta. Unfortunately, they couldn't quite keep it together and they lost to Georgia Tech which was super disappointing... a) because it's Georgia Tech and b) because we really need to get some victories in the next 2 weeks to hopefully give us a chance of making it into the March Madness NCAA tournament. Regardless of the loss, I had fun at the game and enjoyed getting to see so much Orange pride in Atlanta!

Monday, February 20 - 45 minutes strength training

Today was going to be an off day but I opted to do some strength work instead. I spent about 45 minutes to an hour at the gym and went through some exercises recommended to me by my coach and by my former trainer to help build strength. After a 1 mile warmup, I did some burpees, lunges with a kick, spider planks, leg circles, bicep curls, rows, and tested out some new exercises using the power plate and this stair climber thing. We had a super warm day in Atlanta today, and I actually earlier in the day went on a 4 mile walk just for the heck of it. Temps were in the 70s and sunny and I don't think the gym turned their heat down in prep. It was SO HOT inside the gym today and I was sweating way more than usual as a result! Never hurts I guess, but I was dripping!

So there you have it! Only another week or so left in the month, but here's where I am workout wise for this month. I can't believeeeeeeeee we are going to be in March soon!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Second Half of January Training Update

Okay, so wanted to check back in with the training update of the second half of the month. I am wishing I could say that it went spectacularly and although the majority of it did, I'm currently feeling a bit sad. I'm sitting on the couch with ice on my hip, hoping and hoping that what I've been feeling over the past week is the worst of it. I've aggravated something in my hip that must just be a weak point as I think its the same thing I hurt in 2015 right before the Chicago Marathon.

My guess is the speed and track workouts I have been doing have escalated the injury that usually would only come about as mileage increased. I'm not used to all of the starting and stopping during the track workouts so think the damage may have to do with that. To say I am disappointed and frustrated is an understatement. But anyways, let's recap the second half of the month, shall we?

Tuesday 1/17 - ITL Track Tuesday

I arrived back on a Monday evening from Switzerland and was able to do a little grocery shopping, food prep and laundry before falling asleep. I woke up early the next morning to return to the ITL Track Tuesday morning workouts.

We did a series of 800s and 400s and I was really proud of myself at this workout for both the effort I put out after traveling and also the paces when I looked at my watch after. The coaches at the workout gave me kudos as well, knowing I was working out after traveling back the night before. I felt great!

Wednesday 1/18 - AM 3600M Swim + PM 1 hour trainer ride

Wednesday was a return to the pool after the time away which felt stiff and tough and like I needed to regain my momentum in the water. In the evening, I did a 1 hour ride on my trainer following an interval workout my coach gave me.  He originally gave me a workout based on as if I had a power meter on my bike (which I don't) and I was totally confused as to how I was supposed to pedal 140% or 160% and know the difference. Apparently it is a power thing and once I clarified with him felt ready to move forward!

Thursday 1/19 - 6 mile easy run

I opted to sleep in this Thursday morning and skip my morning run. However, because I had my bags packed, I have a rule that I have to go to the gym, so I did some upper body strength training which was fun and I need to find the time to do more of.

I ran in the evening after work along the Chattahoochee trail. Maybe it was the switch up in routine and doing an evening run when I usually do morning runs, but this felt not the best. I wrote to my coach that I just felt tired. I think it was the jet lag and immediate return to work and training and nonstop going, going, going... but I was ready for a break after this workout.

Friday 1/20 - AM Swim + PM 1.5 hour trainer ride

However, a break didn't happen! I returned back to the pool, trying to regain that momentum I had lost while traveling for a 2800 meter swim and in the evening I rode my bike for 1.5 hours on the trainer.  That is my longest weekday ride and I felt like a bit of a badass riding my trainer on a Friday evening. I did 1.5 hours as my long ride for the week since I had friends staying with me throughout the rest of the weekend and didn't want to have to make them sit around and watch me on the trainer!

Saturday 1/21 - 1 hour trainer ride

As I mentioned, I had friends visiting me this weekend. One of them is my triathlon inspiration, Miss Jenna, and she is currently training for her first full Ironman so she had her own workout to do. Unfortunately, the weather in Atlanta was not cooperating so she ran on the treadmill in my apartment building while I rode the bike on the trainer in my apartment. It was really fun to have a friend visiting who understands the need for a workout and had her own things she wanted to do as well. Fit friends are more fun!

Sunday 1/22 - Hot Chocolate 15K

Sunday morning was the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K which I recapped for you last week. It was a super fun race and I enjoyed running a course that included so many neighborhoods and streets I have become a lot more familiar with since moving!

Monday 1/23 - Rest day

It was much needed!!!

Tuesday 1/24 - ITL Track Tuesday

After my day off and a fun weekend with my friends, I returned Tuesday morning to regularly scheduled programming with ITL Track Tuesday.  This was a workout that intimidated me a little bit going into it. I was still a little sore from Sunday (apparently I had gone harder than I realized and held some soreness in my legs) and when I saw the prescribed workout it was nothing I had done before. It consisted of a number of 400s, 300s, 200s, and 100s. I have never in my life done intervals that short and was very new to this type of workout. I was unsure of how to pace myself but decided to just go for it and use it as a baseline for the future.

I have come to love the feeling of pushing myself in a workout to feeling out of breathe and pushed myself this workout, feeling really proud when I did eventually look at the splits of my different intervals. I had done a good job pacing myself, ran hard, and I felt was pretty consistent with what I was trying to do.

The bad part was that after this workout was over, I started to feel some pain in my right hip. It didn't hurt while I was running but once I started it felt a bit inflamed and sore. It felt similar to what I had felt a couple years ago and decided to try and make an appointment at the chiropractor as soon as possible. The chiro had been a part of my recipe for recovery in 2015 so I made an appointment for that same day and in the afternoon went in to be adjusted.

He told me that he didn't think it was bad and that I didn't need to necessarily stop working out, and gave me some exercises to consider doing.

Wednesday 1/25 - AM 2800M Swim + PM 45 minute boxing class

I got in a workout in the morning with swim practice, although I had to jump out of the pool a bit early. Usually I swim from 6-7:20 a.m. but I had a 7:00 a.m. call. I got in the water a few minutes early and bolted right at 7:00 a.m. to take my call then get ready for work.

In the evening, I went to a boxing class with Brick at the gym. We have been trying to coordinate going to this class for weeks and I was excited we were finally able to make it work! She came as a guest with me to my gym and we boxed away for 45 minutes.

Thursday 1/26 - 6 mile run

It's always a good morning when I run with friends and Thursday was no different, running with Janet and Kristin - who started off her birthday with a run! I did a couple miles on my own and then met up with the girls for 4 more. I was very careful to go easy as my hip was still tender and I didn't want to aggrevate it further. It didn't hurt too bad or anything while we ran so I was hopeful that whatever was going on was on the mend.

Friday 1/27 - AM 2200M swim + PM 1.5 hour trainer ride

This morning I did NOT want to be swimming!! I stayed out a bit too late the night before and may have had a drink too many so getting in the water was tough. I was actually a bit relieved that I had another 7:00 a.m. call for work this morning so I had to jump out of the pool early and not finish the workout. In addition to not feeling my finest, I also kept thinking about the fact that I still had 1.5 hours to ride on the trainer in the evening that I wasn't looking forward to.

I did my evening ride and then my friend Janet came over and we watched a movie and both fell asleep on the couch immediately. Being 30 is pretty cool.

Saturday 1/28 - 2.5 hour bike ride

Going outdoors for a bike ride on Saturday was debatable for me. The group I am getting my coaching with now, ITL, was doing a group ride at 9:30 a.m. but forecasts said the temperature was going to be in the high 30s/low 40s and I was very worried about what that temperature would feel like on the bike. Another group was doing an afternoon ride on a much more boring and gruesome route, and the other option was to ride indoors on the trainer.

I made the commitment to go outside and changed my trainer tire on my bike to my road tire and went out on Saturday morning to meet the group for a 2.5 hour ride which ended up being 37.4 miles for me.

Honestly, the ride was tough but it didn't end up being because of the cold. That was what was really making me nervous going into the ride, but once I got going and the sun was on me, it truly didn't bother me that much. However, I just felt slow and sluggish in general. I felt like I didn't have a lot of strength on the bike and that I was way behind where I was at the end of last year. It was cold and windy, but I still ended the ride feeling a bit frustrated with myself. Hopefully it only gets better from here!

Sunday 1/29 - 10.5 mile run with friends

Sunday was another cold day, but when I started the sun was shining and it actually didn't feel too bad. I ran to one of my friend's houses and met up with her and 4 others and we all set out on a route that she'd put together to help train for the Publix full marathon. Her and one other person were doing  an 18-mile route and the others and I modified it to be a bit shorter.

There was some starting and stopping and I was running a bit faster than their long run pace so ended up doubling back a few times. I had some pain in my hip in the beginning but it started to go away as I began running steady so decided to just keep going with that and not let myself stop. Towards the end it got a bit strenuous and I eventually ended at 10.5 miles. I felt a bit proud of myself for going half a mile extra until I realized that my coach had actually advised me to do 10-12 miles... woops.

On other days, I would have probably been stubborn and determined to go out and run the 1.5 miles more, but I gave in for the day and stayed inside. I had already drank a full coffee by the time I realized my mistake.

Monday 1/30 - 3400M Swim

Given that my hip was feeling sore from the Sunday run, I was happy that my schedule only had a Monday swim on it. I did 3400 meters of a bit of endurance swim and in the evening went over to my friend Nikki to get a sports massage to help with the hip. She really, really worked on it and dug into it and I came home to ice and take an epsom salt bath before going to bed.

Tuesday 1/31 - ITL Track Tuesday

When I woke up this morning, I felt fine. I was wondering if going to track would be a good idea but I am stubborn, so I decided to just give it a shot. Walking around, it felt okay - it wasn't sore or anything. So I hoped I was good. However, as soon as I started running my warmup mile at the track, I thought, oh heck, this is not good.

The pain started right away and it was cold outside, which tends to make things worse for me.

I did a mile warmup and it did subside a little once I got going. I decided to wait and see what the workout was and play it by ear if I did complete it. I didn't want to be a quitter and didn't want to feel embarassed leaving in the middle of a track workout either.

The plan for the day was a series of 1600s with 400s in between and 400s rest. I set out to do the first 1600 at the allotted pace and really just couldn't push hard. I had to just give it a bit of a push on the pace, but nothing really aggressive. I did my first 1600 fine and then 100 meters into my first 400 I realized I just couldn't run that hard. I figured it would be good enough to just do the 1600 portion of the workout and was able to maintain a somewhat fine pace for the first 2 but when I started my third one it really hurt and I felt like it was affecting my stride. I pulled back on the pace completely and at the end of the 1600 just threw in the towel for the day. I ended with about 4.5 miles of running but feeling completely defeated.

I drove to the gym and then when I walked inside was so stiff I felt like I was walking with a little bit of a limp. Great job Katelyn.

I know that the sports massages can make things a bit painful the day after so I probably shouldn't have tried to exercise. I reluctantly texted my coach telling him that it was probably best to take a week off from running and I made plans to return to the chiropractor. I am icing and soaking tonight and this week and hoping that it just needs a little bit of time.

I want nothing more than to be working out hard right now so this is definitely a setback and an agitation for me in multiple ways. Hopefully being smart and resting now helps me in the long run.

Hope you had a great January and are ready for whatever February brings!