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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I Tri to Encourage!

I've shared before on the blog how I am involved with the Rampy MS Research Foundation through the TriFest for MS training group as a volunteer coach.  This year I decided to get more involved and joined the Endurance Team to train for Legends 70.3 half iron distance triathlon in Lawrence, KS.

This week kicks off the National MS Week to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis.  Won't you join me in helping to raise funds to fight this disease.  See below for how to make a donation! Thank you for your contribution!!! I'll share more in the coming weeks as my training progresses...14 weeks to go!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Run with the Wind 2015 Race Recap

On Valentine's Day I participated in the Run with the Wind 25K in Carthage, MO.  This was my second year to run this race and first year to run from Carthage.  This race is unique in that they select the race starting point a few days before the race in order to provide the most tailwind!

The race runs on country roads between two towns outside of Joplin, MO...Carthage and Sarcoxie.  The high school in each town serves as the host for the race with open doors meaning real bathrooms!  A pre-race luxury compared to the typical pre-race porta potties.

We arrived in Sarcoxie for packet pickup around 7:45 which left plenty of time to catch a shuttle before the 9am start in Carthage.  The race offered free shuttle to the start so that you could leave your car at the finish.  We were on the last shuttle to the start and when we arrived I was surprised to see such a full house at the Carthage High School.  It was packed with over 200 runners.

Just a short while later we were heading out to the start line.  We set off just after 9am under bright and sunny skies.  I quickly realized I was overdressed for the weather.  The sun really warmed me up and I had to roll my sleeves up.  My friends and I wished each other well on our races and split up.

My goal for the race was to finish.  I had been fighting a chest cold all week and wanted to avoid any coughing fits.  I knew I needed to go slow and keep my heart rate down.  I quickly rediscovered that this race was hilly.  Somehow I had blocked the hills from my memory from the year before.  It was seriously hilly! None of the hills was too insane there were just frequent hills.

The race is measured for the mileage for the route from Sarcoxie to Carthage.  The mileage flags were placed in that order which meant that we were counting down the miles left to run instead of counting up the miles completed.

I made it through mile 10 before I starting feeling fatigued.  The temps were warming up and I realized that I was too thirsty.  I had a small water bottle with me and I broke it out between the final water stops and started to take multiple cups at those water stops too.  I really should have stopped to take off my long sleeve tee but I pushed along.  Around mile 11.5 I began to lose my strength against the fatigue and started to take walk breaks.  I was listening to my iPod and trying to coordinate my runs and walks to the songs.

The last several miles had a fun feature in that you could see the next mile marker flags off in the distance.  It made it tough to see the next mile...so close yet so far away at the same time.  I dug deep for the final mile and ran in towards the finish line.  The finish line announcer cheered me on after hearing my friends cheering for me.  I didn't finish as happy as I wanted...my legs and feet were sore and I was fighting to not break into a coughing fit.  I was disappointed in my fitness compared to the race the year before but in the end I finished the distance under difficult circumstances so I have to give myself credit for that.

Run with the Wind is a great small town race.  There is a great finisher medal and awesome long sleeve t-shirts this year.  The shuttle system that is provided is helpful for those of us from out of town.  I also really appreciate the 9am start time for a winter race.  It means getting up doesn't have to be quite so early in order to make the hour long drive to the start.  Registration was offered initially for a price of around $25.  Not bad at all!

Winter Finally Arrived for a Snowy Run

Friday afternoon I came out of a meeting and looked to the windows at the front of my building.  Things looked a little different but I wasn't sure what was going on until my coworkers started talking about how much snow was accumulating.  Somehow I had totally missed that snow was possible in the forecast!

The afternoon flew by as coworkers started to hustle home and by the time I was finally ready to head out, the road outside my building was a parking lot.  I hung out for a little while later and luckily my commute home wasn't too bad.  Unfortunately the city had decided that the weather did not look favorable for Saturday morning and they announced fairly early in the afternoon that the activity center would be closed on Saturday and thus our training group cancelled.

Our coach Mike posted that he would meet any who wanted for a run at 7AM from the square and so it was easy to motivate myself to head out on Saturday morning.  I got out my Yak Trax and began the trek up to the square.  It was pretty awesome to be the first one on the trail and be the one setting the tracks into the snow. I love snow runs...there is something just so peaceful and beautiful about running in snow.

I made it to the square at 7AM and lucked out in that the route was back towards home meaning I wouldn't have to rerun Crystal Bridges Hill again! We spread out and there were a few ladies behind me chatting away.  It took about a mile to get some separation between us so that I could be back in that quiet snowy solitude.  Normally I'm social on a group run but a snowy run seems to turn me into a big introvert.

I had some math challenges on this run...my Garmin was slow to sync up at the start so I started it a little way into my run.  My watch was behind my actual mileage which I just couldn't figure out.  I guessed at where my turn around should be and stopped to take a few pictures of some of the other runners to share on FB.  I also had to take a comparison shot of the trail showing what it looked like when it was just me on the trail versus after the Rush Running crew had passed through! We almost plowed the snow down there were so many footprints in the trail!

As I ran up the final hill to my neighborhood I noticed that my hair had frozen solid where it was outside of the beanie.  It cracked me up! I also noticed a perfect little snow ball attached to my shoe.  I'm not sure where it came from but it accompanied me for quite a bit of the 6.5 miles!

If you are nervous about running in the snow, here are some things to consider...
1) Yak Trax or True North will help you with traction.
2) Dress in layers and consider a shell jacket if it's still snowing.
3) Wool socks - I recommend Balega Trail Buster Quarter with wool
4) Leave your music at home and enjoy the sound of the snow...have FUN!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Training Runs with Run Bentonville

It's amazing how fast the time flies by...we are already half way through the training program for the Bentonville Half Marathon group.  Last week we tackled 8 miles for the weekly long run.  Waking up the temps were in that range of not too cold but not too warm.  The forecast high for the day was going be around 70 but around 7 am for our run it was still just 40 degrees.

Less than a mile into the run and I was warm and stripping off my fleece headband to try and get more comfortable.  Our route for the week was an out and back route that used the North Bentonville trails.  The paved trail is easy to follow and works great for a large group...not too many turns to get lost on!

The best part of the route ended up being our turn around.  It was marked by the world's smallest cone!

The second half of the run had gorgeous sunshine to keep us company and fun trail-side artwork to enjoy.  I couldn't resist stopping for a photo of the stained glass art piece.  It is one of my favorites especially when the sun hits it just right.

It's fun to train with the group and meet and talk with the participants.  It's really great to see them developing confidence to not only cover the distance but also tackle the Crystal Bridges hill.  That hill can be such a mental block and it's fun to see people take ownership of it.

After finishing up the run I headed home to a full to do list.  Before I could tackle that list though I had to snack on some olives. 
 I guess the extra sun and warmer temps had me sweating more than I realized since I was craving the salty marinated olives post run.  I got my snack in and then got to work getting my house cleaned and ready for the cookie party I hosted on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Winter Skin and the Swimmer

Disclosure:  I am a SBR Sports Ambassador and receive product samples of TriSwim products.  All opinions are based on my personal experience with TriSwim products and I was not required to make this post or statements.

Earlier this week a Facebook friend commented on her wall that she was swimming more and noticed that her skin was getting dry and itchy.  I find that this is a common winter problem for the swimmer.
Chlorine is used to treat our pools and the effect that it has on the skin is that it removes the skin's natural oils causing dryness to occur.  It's really important to remove the chlorine from your skin following swims and I turn to TriSwim products for that purpose.  Lots of the feedback that she got on her post were on what types of lotions she should use but if you aren't neutralizing the chlorine the lotion can't do it's job!

TriSwim is a line up of products that includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion.  They all contain ingredients to neutralize the chlorine and also return moisture back to your skin or hair.  I have been using TriSwim for several years and some days it is my favorite part of my swims! The products have a light, citrus scent and feel wonderful.   The greatest thing about TriSwim is that it doesn't mask the chemical scent that you normally have after a swim in a chlorinated pool.  Instead, the formulas remove that scent entirely.

Winter is tough on your skin no matter what type of athlete you are but swimmers have to
think about chlorine in the mix too.  My routine use of TriSwim after all of my swims keeps my skin from getting dry and keeps me from smelling like the pool when I return to the office after lunch swims.  I'm not a big fan of lotions until after swimming...slippery pool buoys! After my swim I make sure to use lotion to return moisture to my skin and the TriSwim lotion is very light and non-greasy.

Don't let the winter air and the chlorine stop you from swimming.  Invest in a quality body wash and shampoo and keep your swim training in tip-top shape!

Here's the workout that we did on Monday to give you some swim inspiration to go with you new TriSwim products!

Warm Up - swim 400 - 850 (choice of stroke, kick, drills, etc.)
Set 1 - 500 yd ladder
25 - free on the :30
50 - free/back on the 1:00
75 - free, free, breast on the 1:20 - 1:30
100 - free on the 1:50
100 - free on the 1:50
75 - free, free, breast on the 1:20 - 1:30
50 - free/back on the 1:00
25 free on the :30

Set 2 - 8 x 75 on the 1:20

Set 3 - 6 x 50 on the 1:00

Cool down - 50
Total - about 1900 - 2300 depending on your warm up choice

You can find TriSwim at several online retailers and at SBR Sports web site.  Even better follow TriSwim on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on any specials that they are running.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Friends make it warmer!

I'm lucky to again be volunteering with the Bentonville Half Marathon training program.  We meet every Saturday morning for our group long run while training for the race on March 28th.  It's a chance to run with 285 of my closest running friends!

This past Saturday was much like the week...cold...seriously cold!  There was plenty of Facebook taunting throughout the week as well as a little bit of education on how to properly layer for cold weather.  The group is a mixture of brand new runners and some that are more experienced plus all of the Rush Running volunteers.

The temps were brisk and yet it was a perfect morning.  Around mile one, I shucked off my gloves.  The sun was coming up by then and I always seem to have hot hands.  The way that our volunteer crew works is that we run with the group and as we hit turns or street intersections at least one volunteer stops until they are replaced by another.  Our goal is to try and encourage each and every one of the group members.  I got to cheer lots of people on for one turn and then 1/2 mile later got to also work the turn around point for our route.

It was so much fun to be the turn around...lots of people were pumped to see me and make the turn back to the start.  I finished up the route and then headed back out to help run in some of the others still out on the course.  Several other volunteers did the same thing and I have a feeling that our encouragement was appreciated.

I ended up with just over 6 miles with the training group.  I headed home and picked up my dog to get some extra miles.  My house is right off the route that the group had run so I was running on one of the same streets as just 30 minutes earlier.  However this time, without the group, the temps felt so much colder.  I don't know what it was but it really was a struggle.  I had to put my gloves back on and wipe away some cold tears.  Thankfully I got warmed back up and was able to get to about 9 miles total for the day.

It felt good to get my long run built back up and it was so much fun to hear members of the group be so proud of themselves for hitting their longest runs yet.  It is so much fun to give back to this group and in turn receive so much from each of them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Work in Progress

Something that impacted my blogging this Fall was the process of buying and selling my home.  I had wanted to live in another town closer to my office for quite some time and the time was finally right to make that move.  It took about two months to list and actually sell my house and once a contract was in place the time flew by.

I moved around Labor Day and dealt with moving the same weekend as racing three triathlons.  Yikes!!! Thankfully I have an amazing family and awesome sisters who helped me clean the house and unpack.  The next months were spent slowly making the house my home and finishing my training for my Grand Canyon Rim to Rim adventure.

When I returned from finishing Rim to Rim I quickly got absorbed in my job with a hectic schedule that left me little time for much else.  The problem with this was that since October I had been trying to find the time to meet with my contractor to discuss flooring options for my home workout room.  This was one of the rooms that I was most excited about with my new house...a room just for my gym stuff.  Even better bonus was that my sister's treadmill was moving into my house too.

The house came with horrible carpeting that I replaced on move in day.  I was undecided on the gym room so that was the only room still with the original carpeting.  Fast forward to a few weeks before Christmas and discussing my wish list with my sister.  I told her that my big wish was for someone to coordinate my contractor for me since it is so hard to get away from the office to meet him.  And she did just that...she arranged for him to meet me on a vacation day after New Year's and I was able to finally get quotes and start arranging to have the flooring replaced.

It won't be done for a few weeks but tonight I got my bike set up and did my first trainer workout in my gym room.  I'm still working on hanging the motivation wall.  I need a few more race photos to go with the motivation quotes and I especially need to get a Grand Canyon photo printed to go with a cool Rim to Rim sign my parents got me for Christmas.

Here's the before and hopefully by February I'll have an after photo!  This is a panoramic photo taken while riding the bike trainer.