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!!!