Monday, August 30, 2010

Post Triathlon -- Pre Marathon - WHATS UP?!?!?!

I have successfully made it a week of no structured S/B/R training. Do I miss it? This is the least amount of training and most amount of sitting on my butt I have done in 8 months. Post partem depression anyone?

NOPE! Not me!

Its been a good season, albeit a long season, but a GOOD season. I hit my #1 goal of the season, and that was to improve by a LOT at Timberman Round #2.

Mission Accomplished!

Am I going to miss the incredible bike and swim fitness that I currently have?


But will I miss the 56 mile hammering rides every weekend?

Yes and No. I won't miss the prefuel and 3 hours of pain, BUT! I will miss the finishing of the ride, seeing my time and wattage output and saying to myself, "Thats RIGHT!!!!"

So now it's time to mentally tell myself that it is OKAY to ride slower on the bike and to swim slower in the pool. In fact, my time trial bike is being put up until January and the road bike is coming back out. Time to rediscover what riding my bike is all about again.

So now what?

Well, my foot is kinda on the ugly side right now AND there is the NYC Marathon on November 7th. That is basically the next and final goal of 2010.

(now pretend my foot is all better, okay? thanks!)

But before then, there will be some organized runs/races leading up to it. I can still do the NYRR's 9+1 program (run and finish 9 races, and volunteer for one) and I will be automagically qualified for the 2011 NYC Marathon if I so choose to run that one as well.

On my plate (aka I am signed up and paid $$$ for) coming up are:
September 19th: 18 mile training run around Central Park (3 loops). It's fully supported with water/medical/food, etc. Boo ya!
October 2nd: Greta's Great Gallop Half Marathon. I will need to sneak in 6 extra miles that day, but perhaps it is time to break the 1:45 half marathon barrier?
October 31st: Poland Springs Marathon Kickoff 5 miler. Will be in serious taper mode for this "race" when it will be a one week out marathon inspiration-fest. I have a feeling the marathon is really going to "hit" me at this "race." Folks will be sweating marathon on this day!

Other goals that I have in the meantime involve the pool. I want to learn how to:
  • do flipturns
  • backstroke
  • dolphin kicking
None of the above will help me in a race directly, but indirectly, I hope they will give me more confidence in the water and will help give me some more core strength and positioning. Besides, my next swim in a competition won't be until next spring sometime. NO need to burn it up till then. I see learning these things as mini goals to pass the time and to keep my feel for the water and strength up. I HATE starting all over again in the pool, and swimming freestyle yards with no race directly ahead is BORING!

Hopefully this will keep me busy for the next 10 weeks!

Of course everything mentioned above (minus the pool goals) is dependant on what becomes of my current foot issue.

Speaking of which, I have been icing it and wrapping it and resting it as much as possible. Today was a BETTER day walking around!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I can run, BUT! I can't walk? Brace yourselves folks....

As of right now, I am still calling it a "let's wait a week" Injury. Yep, the "I" word.


So in my last post I mentioned that whatever hurts immediately following your race usually disappears quickly and that whatever new hurts a day or two after is what lingers and that that is the REAL soreness. Mine was my calves, which are good now. But what showed up 4 days later was the bottom of my left foot starting to hurt.

Crap! The dreaded PF?!?!?!?: Plantar Fasciitis? I have had a bout once early early this year, but it went away after two days. Done and out.

Well this time it just moved to the outside left of my left foot.

AND STAYED....the bottom of the arch of my foot is fine now, as is the heal.

It doesnt hurt when I press, push, twist that part of my foot with my hands; it only hurts when I put weight on it while walking or standing.

Now get this!!!

I can run on it FINE. I ran 5 miles on it this morning and felt barely anything. But yet I am grimacing my teeth while walking.


Sooooo, are any of you fellow bloggers/readers a foot expert in any form that has had experience or has knowledge of what part of the foot that is and why it hurts?
Circled in RED is the area of pain while walking

In the mean time, ICE will be my new best friend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jon's current status: "HAHAHAHAHAHA"

So I did my first post Timberman run this morning. My body was basically screaming at me for the entire 3 miles. I think the first run is very telling after a hard race. It tells you what REALLY hurts. You know how you finish a race and let's say your foot or ankle hurts and you fear that you injured it? Chances are that that is a mute injury and that the REAL soreness will show up within a day or two.

That happened.

This time around it was my calve muscles that really took the brunt. On Tuesday when I got back to work, while walking around the office, folks kept noticing, "You aren't walking too well!" Yep! I could hardly walk.

Tuesday night I was up all night going through the "evacuation" stage of recovery. By the time I woke up Wednesday AM I felt 100% better.

Do any of you swim in a 50 meter pool? I just swam for the first time in one Thursday morning. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! How have I gone this long without swimming in one? It was amazing how after you get past your usual 25 yards that your form starts to break down because you are used to a short 1 second break at that point. I really started to notice where my form started to stink by the time I hit the wall and was out of breath. What a workout! I did 1800 meters and was cooked! Perhaps it is time to make the $92/month investment and make this 50 meter pool my new swimming home, especially for 20IIRonman. I think this pool is less than 2 years old? SO NICE!

BIG TIME shoutouts to Colleen @ IRONDIVA as she tackles her THIRD Ironman, Louisville. Go Colleen! Knock this one out of the part! Last shoutout goes to Kevin @ IronmanByThirty as he tackles his 3rd Half Ironman of the season, the Breakwater Triathlon. Go knock that run out of the park, Kevin! I know you want to PR that sucker!

Have a good weekend everyone! Get some quality distance in! Or rest, like what I am planning on doing. Suppose to run 15 miles this weekend per my marathon schedule. My response?


and in case you are worried. I am NOT running 15 miles. That is crazy talk!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Maybe next time she will say yes? ;)

She said, "Only if you win Kona!"

Does it look like she is going to strangle me?

I am never washing my left shoulder ever again!

Maybe I will just settle for an awesome picture with her and call it that :)D

Taking a Well Needed Rest

There is a reason why I stop tri season at the end of August. Every pool around here shuts down for two weeks until after Labor Day. I learned this the hard way two years ago and lost a lot of swim form leading up to my last tri of that season. Major bummer!

But this is a good thing now. My body is tired. I don't "have" to swim anymore. I "want" to, but in reality, I "can't" unless I want to jump into Long Island Sound (yuck!).

And then there is something that I kept to myself the last 2-3 weeks:
My body was REALLY tired. I wasn't recovering like I used to! Early this season I could just go and go and go and go and recover fully within 24-48 hours. After Rhode Island and then a big training weekend in Lake Placid in July, my recovery time started to change for the worse. A Wednesday morning hammerfest on the bike took me until Saturday to recover from. Eventually I was hitting the point where I wasn't recovered from the previous weekend until the next weekend! 7 days to recover fully? OUCH!

And that right there meant that my body had one last race in it. Eventually the large base that you build up runs out. My base was enormous from all of the easy, huge volume work that I did back in January-March and it held out until now. I think what I did was perfect for this season. It shows that the larger the base, the bigger you can go.....but eventually it will wear out, which is a good thing! You can't go forever! You need to stop and heal your body in the offseason.

Have you ever heard of accumulated base? It's not just one base building block that gives your body that huge engine. It is those YEARS of base building and speed work that once you take a break, and let all of that stress marinade and sink into the deep core of your body, that that is where your true speed and power comes from.

This off season, I am going to get out of shape, and it is going to be frustrating. But come next winter when I hit my first short running race, I know that my running form will still be crap, but yet I will prolly PR that sucker because this season will have fully sunk into my muscles. And then imagine how much bigger you will be able to go next year? And the year after that?

Stay consistent my friends!

Mentally, I am still sharp and am ready to tackle the NYC Marathon on November 7th. However, my body is wondering if this is still possible. I woke up this morning and I think my body finally turned the corner. I was up all night going through the "evacuation" stage of recovery. This means that my body has realized, "Hey, I don't need all of this fluid for survival!" FLUSH!

And now my legs are still sore, but not as sore as yesterday. I could hardly walk yesterday! I kept sending messages over to Mandy @ Caratunk Girl (she just rocked her first HIM @ Timberman) on facebook exclaiming that amputation was the only remedy!

What a difference a night makes! Last night I went to Outback, had a big ole steak and a glass of wine. This morning, I am starting to see the light. Perhaps a short run is in order tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ironman Timberman 70.3 Race Report

On Sunday I did my A++++++ race of the season, Ironman Timberman 70.3, my fourth and last Half Ironman and last triathlon of the season. Never have I ever trained so hard for an event that I wanted to just KILL and exact revenge upon.

This past season has turned into the "Season of the Half Ironman." When I did 5:55:xx @ Timberman last year, my first Half Ironman, I had such a miserable time on the run, a 2:23:xx, that I swore off this distance for a few years. I wanted to do olympic distances and figure out the short distances first a bit more. Well that thought lasted for a day and a deep burning fire ignited within me: REVENGE.

I realized that the only way you are only going to get better at something is to do it over and over again. Practice makes perfect, right? Well I practiced hard this year and made a ton of mistakes. Repeating Timberman turned into adding Mooseman in June, and then New Orleans was added early in the season in April due to some serious base building. I then on a whim snuck in Rhode Island in July to break up a 12 week monotony between Mooseman and Timberman.

So 4 FOUR Half Ironman races were added this year; the year that I swore off the distance.


I compare doing these distances to my experience in art school. I created a lot of shitty art work in school for about 3.5 years. I had art teachers flat out laugh at my work and ask, "What is that?!?!?" What was it? It was getting the shitty art work out of my system before I finally learned how to create my masterpiece, which got me my job 7 weeks out of school.

Turning to triathlon, I suffered and had some shitty races (with highlights!) during my first four Half Ironman prior to this race. I made my mistakes, in particular going too hard on the bike and ignoring nutrition. I practiced and practiced and practiced and fixed those mistakes, and they PAID OFF today. Everything finally came together! I PR'ed every part of this race.

Now for the report:
Overall, 5:08:20, 395/2141 total participants, 50/162 in division
18.44 percentile overall, 30.8 percentile in age group (I had a FAST age group!).
47:27 min improvement over 2009's time.

Saw my family and friends after warming up. They asked how I was doing, and I responded with, "I have peed my pants 3 times in the water and it felt GREAT! There are only so many times a year that I can pee my pants, and I take every opportunity I can get!"

My mom, sister, me, dad

Lake Winnipesaukee is not a polluted lake, it is a peeluted lake. Get it? It was also 75 degrees, and the air temp was 70 degrees. Staying in the water was NICE. Saw Andy Potts lead the PRO men's field on the swim and the rest was history. Dude is gonna podium @ Kona this year. Nuff said!

Swim, 1.2 miles, 34:12, 37/162 in division:
I lined up pretty close to the front and as far right as possible to get an aggressive position. Swimming is not my strength so my plan was to draft off the fast guys for as long as possible before I am on my own.

But! Before our wave went off, the starting music changed from some awesome-get-your-blood-moving-lets-kick-the-shit-out-of-this-race-ACDC-type-song to Coldplay's "The Scientist." It was like someone just pulled the plug! Here, 200 men, aged 25-29 all started looking at each other going, WTF?!?!?!? Two guys even embraced! hahahahahahaha! Now, I like Coldplay, just not Coldplay as I am starting a freaking race!!!! hahahahaha!

I am somewhere in that mess

We got going and I had little contact and found myself alone. It was ok; tried to and would have loved to draft, but I just did my thing. The course was a box shape, so the first leg out was fast, the 2nd leg, which paralleled the shore got a bit choppy due to being way out there, was pretty fast, but the third leg back towards shore was not great; I kept drifting left! I would aim right, and drift left. SO frustrating! Also, I started to lose energy at this point.

Not a great way to finish the swim, but was SUPER happy to see the clock turn 34 mins as I was coming out of the water. 2+ mins faster than last year! SWEET!

I was blind as a bat
T1, 2:00:
Wetsuit strippers are awesome! Got to use em 4 times this year :)D

I felt fast and I think my time showed. I am not the fastest transitioner, but that was a super fast T1 time for me.

Running like a penguin!

Bike, 56 miles, 2:41:40, 20.78 mph, 54/162 in division:
I felt "off" on the bike. I was fast!....but I didn't "feel" right, and I knew it from the beginning. I think I actually went too hard on the swim and was hungry. Turns out the swim was my fastest split of the day! The entire day was battling hunger on the bike. I brought an extra GU with me and consumed it at a 15 min interval instead of my usual ever 30 mins. It helped, but I was still hungry! Perhaps because it was cold and raining that my body was using up more energy to stay warm? And since I have been training in heat all summer that my body was used to cooling rather than staying warm?

I hit the turn @ 1:17:08 for a 21.78 mph average. Well, duh! Its a net downhill for the first 28 miles. I was ahead of schedule and starting to get worried. Why?

I was going too hard on the bike. Was my wattage higher than it should have been?

CRAP. This screwed me on the run here last year and at Rhode Island this year.

So I backed it off on the 2nd half. I think this helped. It showed. I held a 192 watt average on the way out, and a 181 watt average on the way back. I find it interesting that I held a 10 watt less average than 3 weeks ago, and yet I went 2 mins faster.....hhhmmmm. Wind?

Up to this point on the bike, it had been overcast, but no rain. I got sprinkled on a bit, but at 1:40:xx on the bike the skies opened up. No big deal though, I was still on the flats. The rain came and went, but totally opened up only when I was only flying downhill. GAH!

I finished the bike almost 2 mins ahead of schedule overall, and my legs felt like crap-ola.

A tough run was ahead!

Now that I think about the bike in general, overall it was a very non-exciting ride. But I think that was a good thing because it meant that I did the proper training and I knew the course very well.

T2, 2:45:
Due to being hungry on the bike and getting pretty chilled from the rain on the bike, I didn't have very good dexterity getting my socks, shoes, etc on. I just did the best I could and got out onto the run.

Can't feel my fingers!

Run, 13.1 miles, 1:47:43, 8:13 pace, 65/162 in division:
The first mile HURT, and the time showed. Here are my splits for the entire run:
Mile 1: 8:37
Mile 2: 7:51
Mile 3: 7:54
Mile 4: 7:56
Mile 5: 8:13
Mile 6: 8:10
Mile 7: 9:39
Mile 8: 8:25
Mile 9: 8:27
Mile 10: 8:15
Mile 11: 8:48
Mile 12: 8:32
Mile 13: 7:20 (includes last .1 miles)

As you can see, I hit mile 2 and calmed WAY down. I was panicky after that first mile. I did a trial run of this course after the bike three weeks ago and dropped a 7:xx on the first mile. I hope you can see why I was panicking after this first mile! BUT! You can see my 2nd and 3rd miles calmed me even further. I went into autopilot mode until I was back to transition to start loop #2.

Heading towards mile 7, I started to run out of gas. This is the same place last year that I bonked. OH CRAP! NOT AGAIN! Fortunately the Gu that I shot @ mile 6.55 kicked in and I went back into autopilot mode. However, I had lost a step at this point, but it was fatigue rather than energy that was slowing me down. This was expected and I trudged forward as best as I could.

Finishing up the first loop of the run

At miles 9 and 10 I was mentally done. I wanted this over with already. It was not physical anymore. I knew that I was busting my PR wide open at this point, and it was my mental will to see how much I was going to PR. I knew miles 10-12 were hilly and were the hardest, so I just tried to shut my brain off as much as I could and GO. I guess this worked. They weren't the fastest miles.

At mile 12, I knew it was all downhill to the finish and that it would be over soon, and that it was mind over matter, so I said, "F*&@ IT!" and went!

I think my 7:20 split for the final 1.1 miles says it all :)

Almost there!!!

Was happy to see 6:08:xx on the clock, which meant subtract 1 hour and that was my time.

8 months of hard dedicated work paid off!

Chrissie Wellington was at the finish line and she put the finishers medal over my head and I asked if we could get a picture together. She said SURE! She is the best! She also won the women's race JUST as I was about to head out on the run. Dang....she is FAST!

So this half marathon is my 2nd fastest half marathon EVER for me. My fastest is still NYC at 1:45:19. Me thinks it is time for that PR to go down this fall during marathon training. The only thing is! is that I can't run fast now unless I have biked prior to riding for at least an hour to warm up. I guess this fall will be all about the run warmup.

Post Race:
I was actually hungry and could eat! I found my family and hit up the food and didn't care what they had. I just piled EVERYTHING onto my plate and grabbed a big thing of ice cream. Aaaahhhhhh.....sitting down was easy. It was the standing back up part that was hard :)


I will do another post soon about what is left for the season, aka training for the NYC Marathon, and off season goals.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quick update; and you are the BESTEST!

You all should take some credit for my race today. It's all of your wonderful comments and reading about your experiences that drives me to get up at the crack of stupid every morning to abuse my body into oblivion in either the pool, on the bike, or in a pair of smelly running shoes. Without all of you fellow AWESOME bloggers, 50% of my motivation just wouldn't be there.


Some of you stalked me today, thank you! I asked you to :)

So here is a quick recap of what went down today:
  • Peed my pants three times
  • Ate 11 Chocolate Gu's.
  • Blew a bunch of snot rockets on the bike.
  • UUUUuuuuuuuummmmm......
  • Am totally hyper and loopy and coked up on caffeine @ the moment from the 11 Chocolate Gu's ;)
  • And did a Half Ironman!

Went 5:08:20 total
Swim: 34:12
T1: 2:00
Bike: 2:41:40
T2: 2:45
Run: 1:47:43

That is a ~47 min improvement over last year's Timberman experience, my first Half Ironman, and a 24 min PR for the distance over my New Orleans time from April earlier this year.

It was 70 degrees and overcast the entire day with some downpours on the bike. Couldn't have asked for better racing conditions! I am serious, btw, I like racing in the rain. It keeps me cool = I go faster!

Full race report will be up soon.

Chrissie said "NO," but I did get a picture with her.....will have to find it in the lost & found most likely.

.....I never asked her. hehe

Friday, August 20, 2010

You think Chrissie Wellington would say, "YES!"???

Apparently Chrissie Wellington is returning to Timberman to defend her title again. (for those of you who might not know who she is, she is the 3 time defending Ironman World Champion, aka currently the best female long course triathlete in the world!) If this is true, that means she might be at the finish line again personally putting the finishers medal over your head and congratulating you on crossing the finish line. She did this last year and I almost picked her up, twirled her around and gave her a big kiss. (she is itty bitty tiny)

....but then I figured that might be a little over the top.

But what if I asked her to marry me? Think she would say, "YES!" ?????

Or should I wear a banana costume? Apparently at Kona one year some guy dressed in a banana suit asked her to marry him. She got a chuckle out of it and said that it perked her up for the rest of the run. She wrote "Its not everyday that you get proposed to by a piece of fruit."

Its gonna be a great year @ Timberman on Sunday! Andy Potts is returning to win for the 3rd year in a row as well. Andy is looking super strong this year and I think he might come close to a podium spot @ Kona this year.

But! If you would like to stalk me on Sunday, feel free to! Its easy, just go to, and on the Athlete Tracker for Timberman, enter my bib # 1955, or by name: Leonard Campbell (its my legal name.....) and you can see my progress.

Hope to post a quick status update Sunday night, and full race report by Monday or Tuesday. Have a good weekend everybody!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Interview with a First Time Iron(Wo)man!

Alexa Harding @ Just Keep Swimming, who just completed her first Ironman, Lake Placid, in a blistering time of 12:18:56 (Nice job!), graciously agreed to an email interview about her early triathlon days and her recent Lake Placid experience. Since she did Lake Placid, and I am doing Lake Placid as my first Ironman, I figured she would be the appropriate person to pepper with Q's about her experience. So here goes!

Alexa (on the left) and her coach

When did you do your first triathlon? What distance was it? How did it go?
My first triathlon was a sprint distance race in Sept. of 2007. I was bored of just running and had been riding my mountain bike a lot, so I decided to try a triathlon. The race was going great despite being on a mountain bike (equipped with slick tires!) until I got a flat tire, with no spare tube/CO2 and no knowledge of how to change it even if I had the spare kit. I was maybe 2 or 3 miles from transition so I ran my bike in, crying the entire way. I still finished the race and I wasn't even last in my age group!

What has been your best race experience?
I have had many, many great race experiences and it is really hard to pick just one. If I HAVE to choose, I would have to say the Tupper Lake Tinman half-iron that I did this June. I did not place overall or in my age group, but it was the race where I REALLY noticed that my Ironman training was working. I dropped 24 minutes off my PR and I nailed the execution of the race. My coach was proud of me and I was proud of myself! That is more important than any award.

What has been your worst race experience?
My first half-Ironman was a little traumatic. I went out way too fast on the run, and the last 5 miles were REALLY painful. Mostly I use bad races as learning experiences. Usually it has something to do with pacing something stupidly and then being in pain later on in the race! Maybe that flat tire in my first ever triathlon. I was SO disappointed but I think it just fueled the fire!

What would you say has been your latest triathlon "aha!" moment?
My latest "aha!" moment (I do have many of them though) was at a sprint race 2 weeks before Ironman. I thought I was screwed and that all my speed would be GONE. I was WRONG! Took 5th overall female and surprised the hell out of myself.

Describe the moment that you decided to go for Lake Placid? Where were you? What were you doing?
I decided a few days after my first half-Ironman to sign up for Lake Placid. The half-Ironman I did was in 2009 and it was exactly 1 week before 2009 Ironman Lake Placid. I finished the 70.3 white as a ghost, laid down in the grass, looked at my boyfriend (at the time) and said "I am NEVER doing that again." Apparently that feeling lasted maybe 1 day? I don't remember the exact moment I made the decision - I had been toying with the idea of Ironman for over a year and I finally just convinced myself to suck it up and register. I took a day off of work to do it, and the rest is history!

Did you feel any regret of signing up? Were you scared? Or were you gung-ho from signing up to the finish line?
No. I was gung-ho from the beginning. I was a little nervous about swimming 2.4 miles (especially with 3000 people) but that was my only real big concern, which I got over pretty quickly. Having a coach really helped because I KNEW I was going in prepared, versus god knows what kind of condition (both physical and mental) I would have been in if I had self-coached.

If you could train for Lake Placid all over again, what do you think you would do differently?
Run more? I'm not sure what else I could have done - it being my first Ironman. It's something that you have to ease into and the longer you do it, the bigger of a base you have to tap into. I think I trained the best I could with my experience level and the time I had available to me. I do wish I had run more though.

What was the best part of your Lake Placid experience? (feel free to include the two best stalker-blogger buddies cheering you on whom you had NO idea who they were ;) )
HAHA! The crowd is EASILY the best part of Ironman. It was incredible having such a large support group (teammates, friends, family AND creepy blog friends) cheering for me. You feel like a rockstar coming through town!

Did the pain of running the marathon hurt as bad as you expected? Worse? Not as bad?
It was worse than I expected, but I was slightly delusional about the Ironman marathon. I thought it would be easier than an open marathon because I figured it would be lower intensity AKA at a slower pace. WRONG. It was hard. I will get revenge on the marathon distance though.

What was the lowest part of Lake Placid? Did you ever feel like mentally stopping?
I had 2 major low points. One was climbing the hill past Whiteface on the 2nd loop. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the top (I did though!). The 2nd was the last 6 or so miles of the marathon. I was swearing at my friends who were just trying to encourage me and I was on the verge of hysterics. I wanted to walk but I would only allow myself the normal walking breaks (through aid stations). I am glad I pushed through it because I eventually calmed myself down.

So its been almost a month already since Lake Placid, how has the recovery been going? How did it feel within the first week? Have you stayed mostly active since or was it much needed couch potato time?
The day after the race was probably in the top 10 of worst days ever. I was dehydrated, starving, nauseous, and I could barely move, let alone walk. Every time I ate I would feel a TON better, but I couldn't sleep the nights before or after the race so I was just incredibly exhausted. Every day after Monday got better and better. It took until about Wed. for my quads not to hurt to the touch! The first week after Placid was a zero workout week. I did a lot of couch-lying! Since then I have been doing an "active recovery" with mostly short workouts where I collect no data - no HR monitor, no recording pace or distance. I am now 3 weeks out from the race and we are picking my workouts back up in preparation for IM Syracuse 70.3 I will take an off-season (which is very important) in Oct./Nov. after my marathon.

Any tips for first time Ironmaners?
TRAIN! Get the miles in however you can, but don't go nuts because it is not worth an injury! Also, take it easy on the bike! I think I would have run a better marathon if I had held back maybe 5 more minutes on the bike. You think it wouldn't make a difference, but it DOES! I even knew this going in and I STILL had trouble taking it easy on the bike - you have to check your ego at the door for the Ironman bike! And for Placid athletes, run a 12-27 on that back cassette haha!

You have a "different" work schedule than us 9-5'ers. Can you give us a quick intro to your work schedule? How did you manage your long workouts around this?
I work 2 weeks of overnights (11 pm - 7:15 am) followed by 1 week of evenings (3 pm - 11:15 pm) followed by 2 weeks of days (7 am - 3:15 pm) in a chemistry lab. I rotate through this 5 week schedule. I actually had no trouble fitting long workouts in around my crazy work schedule. When I work overnights I work Sunday night to Friday morning (and I sleep immediately when I get home, from 8 am - as long as I can make myself sleep for) so I can go to sleep like a regular person on Friday night, and I am all rested for a long ride on Saturday. I usually ride long Saturday, run long Sunday, and during the week my workouts are shorter (1 hour on the bike, 45 min run, 1 hour swim, etc) with no more than 2 hours per day during the week. This is good for the rotating schedule because a lot of times I am pretty tired during the week, but I can manage to do a 1 hour workout even if I'm exhausted. It was surprisingly manageable. I also have a coach who works some overnights in a hospital so it helped to have someone familiar with surviving overnights.

If you had one time during the day to train. What time of day would that be?
I LIKE to get workouts done early however I am NOT a morning person. I would say - 10 am to noon is a good window for me. :) I can sleep in and I am done just in time for LUNCH!

If you had one triathlon dream to accomplish, what would it be?
Go Pro. But it will never happen. So I will say.. Kona :) OR figure out a way to keep both my wetsuit and my bike shoes from smelling TERRIBLE!

Thanks, Alexa, for answering these questions! This will be SO beneficial for our buildups to our first Ironman. Please don't hesitate to inform us when your dream of killing the shoe funk comes true! Good luck in a few weeks at Ironman Syracuse 70.3! We will be rooting for ya!

You can visit Alexa's blog here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Its either you have run a marathon, or you have done an Ironman

Sorta kinda gonna go off onto a rant here, so bear with me :)

We endurance athletes are super human and we know it; we are also super educated about our respective sports. We know our distances like we know our times tables from the 4th grade.
  • 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathon, 25K, Marathon, Ultras, etc.
  • Sprint, Olympic, International, Half Ironman, Ironman, that crazy triple Ironman distance.

I will give you 15 seconds to convert all of those to miles! Go! haha!

The rest of the general public, excluding spouses, signifigant others, and family members of endurance athletes (cuz they all know!), assume that if you run, you run a marathon or if you are a triathlete, you only do an Ironman.

Its kinda funny at first, really when a stranger asks. But after awhile when you are at the cusp of running your first full marathon or first full Ironman that when someone looks at all of the race bibs stapled onto your office wall, such as presented in exhibit A:

This is only "one" wall....i have another wall with more bibs....I am such a packrat....

And exclaims, "WOW! You have ran a lot of marathons!"


They say it like its a walk in the park. "Oh, you are gonna go run another marathon, how cute!"

This person has NO idea how hard it is to run a marathon and what it takes (I don't even know cuz I haven't even ran one yet!), and at the age of 27, based on what is pictured above, that would be a LOT of marathons run! And based upon the number of half marathons that I have ran, I just know this marathon is gonna HURT! Yeppers, I am officially scared shitless of the distance now :)

I no joke have at least one person stop at my desk each week and drop the "WOW! You have ran a lot of marathons!"

I used to correct them and say, "Gee thanks, but I am only doing my first this fall. These are a bunch of short distances....blah blah blah...."

Now I just say, "Thanks!" with a smile. I don't have the energy any more to explain because I am saving it for my 10 x 100 slaughter in the pool tonight...

If only they knew the pain and accomplishment it took to get all of those bibs up on that wall! I feel like I am being shortchanged with the generalization of the marathon distance even though its the longest distance before you hit ultra status?

Do they even know how far a marathon actually is? Do most non endurance folk just assume any running race is a marathon? How about triathlon? Can you really generalize triathlon into an Ironman? That is the holy grail of endurance distances, right? (not gonna mentioned the triple ironman here.....)

Well, I look past the "Wow....blahbippty blappity blah" and am VERY thankful to have all of YOU fellow bloggers around, cuz that way I can talk shop upon ears that UNDERSTAND because we have all been in the trenches gutting out a distance in pain only to quickly forget the pain once we crossed that finish line.

So do you think the general non endurance public is just misinformed or outright clueless about the marathon and triathlon? What do you think?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend o'anticipation-CRAZYNESS

Do you know what the worst part of a taper is?

The anticipation.

You have done the work, and you just want to get the race over with because you know if you do it NOW that you will nail your goals. But you can't. You have to wait another week. Its like those final ten seconds at the swim start waiting for the horn to blow; your heartrate is spiking 10 beats per minute every second!

I want to refer back to a contest that I held this past spring where I asked you what your definition of going taper crazy was. I got a bunch of great responses, but I picked these two and here they are again.

Jeff @ Dangle the Carrot's was bluntly (pun intended) perfect:
"Do you remember the movie The Untouchables in which Robert DeNiro played Al Capone? Do you remember the scene when all the mobsters were sitting around a table after Elliot Ness had ruffled some feathers and one of them had said something stupid to DeNiro/Capone? DeNiro/Capone was walking around said table holding a Louisville Slugger and we all knew he was going to bash the stupid guy in the head and everyone at the table knew he was going to bash the guy in the head even the stupid guy knew it was coming ... DeNiro/Capone walked and talked very deliberately for what seemed like a long time and the tension just keep building and building and building and building until BAM ... he violently bashed the guy in the head with the bat. Well, that Tension is the same feeling we get from the Taper, like a snake coiled up and ready to strike, and if timed perfectly we will explode on Race Day just like the maple bat exploded the stupid guys head all over the table. BUT if not timed correctly we might explode on the next idiot that asks us what taper crazy means! Capiche?"

Colleen @ IRONDIVA gave a more succinct definition:
"Going Taper Crazy is the time between your hardest training weeks and your race when you totally doubt everything that you've done leading up to the race, you feel fat and lazy, you get bored easily, you eat a lot, you question your reasoning for thinking you can do a race, you feel like you'll have to start all over and that you'll never be able to race. But you do. And you kick ass. And you forget about the taper tantrums until the next race. :)"

I am experiencing all of the above, but because I know that I will experience them, I can deal with it now. I know that in the next 6-7 days that my fitness will not suddenly disappear. My fitness is in the vault! I am planning on taking out a huge withdrawal on Sunday.

So this past weekend was another successful one:


Did my 40 mile ride in under 2 hours. I held my wattage perfectly and this was just another test ride to make sure I am on target for this coming weekend. There were a LOT of cyclists out there! Fortunately they were going the other way.

Then I threw on the shoes and went for a 3 miler.
Mile 1: 7:20 (whoops!)
Mile 2: 6:56 (double whoops!)...i felt like I slowed it down!
Mile 3: 7:50 (CUT the throttle)
22:07 / 7:22 pace

Holy crap where did that run come from! After those first 2 miles I was having a panic attack that I was blowing it all on this run. I felt so good! So after I saw that 6:56 split for mile 2, I swallowed my pride and checked the ego @ the door and sloooooooooowed it way down.

New mantra: "Save it for the race. Save it for next race. Save it for the race."

The fumidity returned on Sunday and it was another run through marshmallow-air. That and my legs were toast from Saturday's efforts. I got the 6 mile run in, but it was fingernails over the chalkboard the entire run. Went the 6 miles in 54 mins on the dot! How 'bout that! ha! Unlike yesterday, my splits today were sloooooow:
8:38 (finally my legs "opened up" on the final mile!)

Hoping to get my legs back this week and fully rested by next Sunday. Less than a week!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

T-Minus 8 days. We Got This! TAPER TIME!

My A++++++ race of the season, and the motivation for this season in in 8 days: Ironman Timberman 70.3. I have never felt so ready for a race in my life. The swimming is there, the biking has been there (and still is), and the running is there (as long as I bike beforehand).

This means that it is OFFICIALLY time to taper. Starting today I will be drawing down the volume.

Saturday (today): 40 mile bike, 3 mile run, BRICK
Sunday: 6 mile run
Monday: 3 mile run in AM, 2000 yard swim in PM
Tuesday: 26.5 mile bike
Wednesday: 4 mile run in AM, 1500 yard swim in PM
Thursday: 17 mile bike
Friday: 3 mile run
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: RACE! 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

I have done this 3 times already this season. I know my pre-race nutrition (3 bowls of Cinnamon Toast's like rocket fuel!); I know my nutrition and pacing on the bike; now I just have to hope for some cooler and dryer weather to let me hit the afterburners off of the bike into the run.

But most of all, mentally I am there. This time last year I was a total train wreck filled with doubt. Fast forward a year and my confidence is so high right now. I know what to expect and I know the course. I know where the hills are to take it easy on the bike and where to hit the gas on the flats and I have literally done the run in my head about 3 different times. I get so juiced up when I visualize that run!

Everything that I have done since January 1st has contributed to what will go down next weekend.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Greek" Yogurt VS "Regular" Yogurt...a water logged report

Oh boy, I am really gonna have to get out my biggest guns to defend myself here, but here goes:

"Greek" yogurt seems to be sweeping the nation as the latest food "fad" as a healthy snack. Yes, I agree that yogurt is a healthy and super tasty snack (I love yogurt!) but IT.DRIVES.ME.INSANE to know exactly what "greek" yogurt really is:

Greek yogurt is just regular old yogurt with all of its water extracted.
(or regular yogurt is greek yogurt with water added?)
That is it. That is why it is so much thicker than regular yogurt: There is no water in it.

And it costs more!!!!

So to prove this, I did a little test. I bought a 32 oz store brand vanilla yogurt container and a 16 oz Chobani vanilla yogurt container.My theory is that nearly 50% of the contents of the 32 oz store brand vanilla container would be water, resulting in 16 oz of pure yogurt. So I extracted the water! Here is my method:

Covered a bowl with cheesecloth and used a rubberband to hold it on

Poured the 32 oz of store brand yogurt right in

Then you wait...........I let it sit over night to drain the water. The cheesecloth does a remarkable job letting the water through and keeping the yogurt together.

Amazing how a container that size filled with stuff is reduced to fit into a bowl of that size when the water is extracted.

This is the remaining water

This is the remaining water, measured. Came out to be exactly 14 oz of water, or just shy of 50% of the volume.

On the left is the Greek Yogurt, and on the right is the reduced store brand yogurt

And which one is thicker and tastier? We did a blind taste test and the store brand yogurt came out as the winner! It was was both thicker and MUCH better tasting. In fact, the Chobani was a little on the sour/tart side.

Ok, now for the nutritional info.
  • Both are fat free
  • The 32 oz container of store brand has 11 grams of protein, 34 grams of sugar per serving, 4 servings in the container = 44 grams of protein, 136 grams of sugar total
  • The 16 oz Chobani container has 22 grams of protein, 17 grams of sugar per serving, 2 servings in the container. = 44 grams of protein, 34 grams of sugar total
  • both had the same exact ingredients list! there is no "magic" ingredient in the Chobani
Well no wonder the store brand tasted so much better! It has 4 times the sugar in it! haha! (and I have no idea if any of the sugar made it out with the extracted water....but I can't imagine it was much)

So I guess the sugar content and thickness is really what sets these two aside. If you are worried about the high sugar levels (even I have to admit those sugar levels are kinda high!), then stick with the Chobani. But if you want that thicker yogurt, then go with the store brand/water extracted.

Hope this gives you some ideas!

(i figured out the water extraction method when I learned how to make Greek Tzatziki sauce using plain yogurt)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Woo hoo! Comment Spam control!!!!

Finally! Google has added its email spam filters to the blogger commenting system.

Sick of getting those crazy character comments with links to porn sites? NO MORE!

Check this out! me get a spam comment! haha!

Distance Dreamers Questionaire, week #2

Before I dive into this week's Distance Dreamers questions, I first want to tell about my workout this morning. I am VERY proud of what I did this morning, even if it was a short workout.

My legs were totally shot this morning as I started my 17.62 mile bike done on the hilly part of the Westchester Tri Course. But I still was able to manage a 19.2 mph average. My legs did the classic feel like crap at the beginning, throughout the climbing and on through till the end, until the final 3 miles when they finally warmed up.

Then it was off for a 4 mile run. In weeks past, I have been doing bricks in dry heat and that resulted in some speedy runs. When it has been humid, like this morning, that run is like a slow death march through maple syrup. This morning I FINALLY broke through the fumidity! I knocked off 4 miles in 31:15 for a 7:49 pace. My splits came out as:

I feel VERY victorious and ready to kick Timberman's boot-ay in 10 days and counting!
Abbi over @ Higher Miles gave us two more questions to answer as part of the Distance Dreamers first time marathoners group.

What is your best running memory/experience?
What is your worst running memory/experience?

I am going to go with worst first, except it was also my "best" in terms of time, but definitely the worst in terms of the experience and definitely THE worst running memory. My goal this season was to nail the half marathon, and I PR'ed it with a 1:45:19 at the NYC Half Marathon. However! To get there, meant "holding" on while trying not to "go" while going. Get it?!??! I was good until about mile 4 when I started to feel "movement." By mile 8 it was excruciatingly painful mentally to pass by a porto potty. I can't even describe the last 5.1 miles (other than the sub 8 min miles); I wanted that PR!!! I got it, but then had a miserable few following days recovering. Apparently its not healthy to hold it that long?!?!? Ok folks, enough said! But I did get that f-ing PR! haha!

My best experience was also this season when I PR'ed the Half Marathon during a Half Ironman Triathlon @ Ironman Mooseman 70.3, with a 1:50:03. It wasn't my fastest half marathon, but it was the most victorious half marathon. That day was epic. Not only was it only 62 degrees and POURING rain, but it also had one of the hardest bike courses on the 70.3 circuit. Look below at the elevation profile on the bike!!!

So after the bike my morale was shot, I was freezing cold and my legs were giving me two middle fingers. Stick a fork in me, right? So I transitioned and started the half marathon totally mentally unprepared to duke this one out.

My legs suddenly opened up and I ran like a man possessed knocking off sub 8 min miles. My legs felt great! That one run that day saved my season because while I was out on the bike that day, I was ready to quite triathlon all together. That was how miserable I was! Now I prefer racing in the rain because it keeps me cool and allows me to go faster.

I am a big believer in that the worst experiences are also your best, because something good always comes out of them that you will never discover if everything always went right 100% of the time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How To: Treat a Blister To Keep You Running

Been meaning to post this for awhile. Finally I can! Hopefully this will help those of you who are blister prone or will be increasing your volume this fall for a marathon or anew distance PR.

There is nothing more annoying than a tiny little blister that chafes just in the right spot to prevent you from running. I still get blisters every now and then, and it's usually due to my sock not being on my foot properly. BUT! I don't let blisters stop me from running. This is my method for treating a blister to keep me running pain free.

Here are my supplies. Moleskin, athletic tape (not medical!), and scissors.

This (pictured below) is the culprit. Most of the dead skin is still on there (only a little bit of the raw flesh is exposed). I am going to leave the dead skin on there until it naturally falls off. The reason why you want to leave it is because if you cut it off or rip it off, you will either create sharp dead skin, which will cut into the raw flesh, or by ripping it it will tear off good skin, making the raw flesh section larger (increasing healing time). Leave the dead skin be!!! (I will explain how it comes off later)

But first! Is this (above^) the type of blister that you have? Has it already popped? Ripped? Is it like the top of a volcano about to burst? Is it deep under thick skin? My blister had already popped on its own. However, if you have a blister that is a pocket filled with fluid (like the top of a volcano) and is really painful to walk on and it doesn't die down on its own, it is a candidate for popping to relieve the pain. So to do this, sanitize a needle and pop it with a tiny tiny hole and drain it, then sanitize your foot. You want to relieve that pressure before you dress it and run on it. Keep the dead skin on!

SO! Cut a piece of moleskin that is 1/4" to 1/2" larger than the blister. Then slap the moleskin DIRECTLY onto the blister region.

Take the athletic tape (not medical! medical won't stay) and liberally cover up the moleskin, giving it up to an inch of overlap. I used two thick pieces here. I kinda massage the tape onto the skin a bit to make it adhere better.

And that is it for dressing! Now don't go sprinting for that 10K right away. Get your socks and shoes on and walk around for a good 10 mins to let the dressings stretch and adhere to your skin. Otherwise, it will fall off while running, and will create NEW blisters. Yuck!

Now for the dead skin issue. When you peel off the dressing, do it in the direction of the blister if its ripped. If the moleskin tears some of the dead skin off, that is fine, it will only take a little bit and its probably the dead skin that was ready to go anyways. Somehow the moleskin does this perfectly.

I will do this method for probably the next two weeks until a new layer of skin has formed over the raw flesh. In my case, I will be dressing it until my next race.

FYI, moleskin is really expensive, so buy it as a roll. Buying it as flat sheets is SUCH a ripoff and you get less!!!

Happy running!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mount Defiance: Day #2 of Lake George

I was able to start day #2 up in Lake George off with not one, but two kayakers to escort me on a short .6 mile OWS in the cove where I was staying. Thanks to my sister and cousin!

My thing about open water swimming is that I like to swim in water where I CANNOT see the bottom. Or rather, ANYTHING other than the person in front of me whom I am drafting. Got it?

Lake George is a clear lake, especially in the morning, and even with two kayakers near me, I still get freaked out when I see a fish, or a GIGANTIC boulder underneath you.

But do you really want to know what freaks me out the most? When I hit a gigantic DEAD fish out in the middle of the lake. GAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!! hahahahahahaa! I came up and was all panicked with, "What was that! What was that!" My little almost 12 year old cousin was laughing with, "Haha! Haha! You hit a dead fish!"

Ok, I got a chuckle out of it after I realized what it was. But man! Talk about freakout! What are the chances that out of the ENTIRE lake that I hit the one dead fish in the cove!?!?!? I could actually smell it before I came near it. So gross! I even cut my finger on its fin. Blah!

So after the swim, I laced up the shoes and went for a run with my super runner aunt. I said I needed to do 9 miles and she responded with, "Oh! We can go up Mt. Defiance."

Special thanks to Jeff @ Dangle The Carrot for shooting me a great of definition of what "defiance" means:
intentionally contemptuous behavior or attitude. OR a hostile challenge.

Does this look like a "hostile challenge" to you?
Says the average pitch is 9.36% ....I'd say the max is ~16%. Get your climbing gear out!

So my aunt gets us to mile 4 and we start going up a pitch and she says, "By the way, this isn't the hill yet." WHAAAAT!!!! We get to the top of the pitch and she then says, "Here is the turn to head up." We make the turn and I see this wall in front of me. GULP!

I collected myself and we started the ascent. It went wall to short plateau to wall to short plateau and my breathing got heavier and heavier and my pace was crawling to that of a slug. Finally we come to a flat section and I can see a clearing. I am convinced that the end is right there. WRONG! I turn another corner and again look up to even STEEPER sections that are even LONGER. OH MAN GET THIS OVER WITH!!!

Now my brain has switched into full on Mt. Ventoux climbing mode. The SUCKAGE is at its greatest and the top will come and this hill climb will pay off dividends in two weeks @ Timberman.

Well, at least the rewarding view at the top was literally breathtaking! Hahaha! Get it? I was out of breath when I got to the top? Oh man....I will be here all week folks, try the duck!
View to the north into Vermont. This is the bottom of Lake Champlain.

That fort is Fort Ticonderoga. The Brits hauled two canon up to this view and shot artillery shells down upon the fort during the Revolutionary war. Can you imagine hauling canon up this road?!?!?

View to the south into Vermont. The very bottom of Lake Champlain is down there even further.

We took it easy on the way down so as to not get blisters on the feet. It took us 12:30 to run the 1 mile up, and 11 mins to run the 1 mile down. I can't risk blisters at this point. Gonna save em for two more weeks. We rounded out the run @ 10.2 miles for the morning, rounding out a solid weekend of training.

I then fell asleep in a hammock on the shore with the wind rocking me side to side. That was a great and well deserved nap!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lake George Last Big Training Weekend Day #1

This past weekend marked the two week out mark from Ironman Timberman 70.3, so this meant I could throw the kitchen sink at myself and still have time to recover. I was up in Lake George, NY, which meant a perfect training playground to accomplish everything I needed to accomplish.

Overall, I accomplished more running and biking than anticipated, but fell flat on the swimming, which was fine because that was just icing on the cake anyways.

So on Saturday, the debate was to do 2 loops of a 24 mile course that was on the easier side, OR! do a 30 mile out, 30 mile back, 60 miler on some challenging terrain. What did I have to lose? I went with the 60 miler. When I told me uncle I was going to do that course, he did the eyebrows raise, "What are you nuts?" look. YEP! Here is the course:

And elevation:
Nothing that steep, but LOTs of looooooooong slogging climbs in the easiest gear just grinding it out

And power profile:

Notice the constant up and down? Thats the hillyness. I was either going up, or going down. Few flats.

So I did almost 60 miles in around 3:11:xx, for a mid 18mph average over some hilly terrain. The main road, Rt 22, was a 25 mile stretch without a single stop sign or stop light with a wide shoulder on both sides and perfect pavement. It was incredible!

I hit my wattage on the dot with a 192 average and my legs felt totally fried by the end. But! I threw on the running shoes regardless and headed out for a short brick.

I went 3.2 miles in 24:40 for a 7:44 pace. Mile Splits:
Mile 1: 8:06
Mile 2: 7:37
Mile 3: 7:21

So that run calmed my fears. I wasn't sure if last weekend was an anomaly-freakish-good-day or if I actually do run faster off of the bike. It really is that I run faster off of the bike. Phew! And the fact that my mile splits were getting down into the mid-low 7's after a MUCH more challenging 60 miler than the flatter 56 mile Timberman course has REALLY artificially boosted my ego and confidence. (aka I paced the bike perfectly)

Will report more on Sunday's efforts. Here is a poll for you: What do you think a run up a mountain called Mount Defiance would be like?

Friday, August 6, 2010

SUCCESS!....before the LAST big training weekend

I can't believe it but this is the last "throw the kitchen sink" at myself weekend. I can basically slaughter my legs as much as I want to this weekend because I will have 2 full weeks to recover. I am heading out for the third weekend in a row back up to the ADK, this time to Lake George for a ton of SBR. The plan is:

  • Swim 1.15 miles (this is the triangle swim course in the cove on the lake)
  • Bike 48 miles
  • Run 6.2
  • aka.....funky distance triathlon done @ HIM Intensity
  • Swim 1.15 miles
  • Run 6.2
  • crawl underneath a rock
The point of Saturday is to do a test run of my HIM Pace across a swim bike and run, all done at shorter distances, but enough to make me hurt. Then the next two weeks will be drawing it down, but keeping the intensity up.

But before this happens, I need to tell about some success yesterday. Due to scheduling reasons, and the fact that my brain is runtarded, I went running midday.....87 degrees, 66% humidity @ 12:30PM. According to the heat index chart, it felt like 95 degrees, and it SUCKED!


I carried a bottle of water with me and that helped, but just thinking and dwelling on the heat made it worse. So I learned that if I could get my mind to wander, that I would speed up a bit. Also, when the sun would hide behind a cloud, I felt stronger, but then when the sun came back out, it was like someone turned a heat lamp directly on me and I slowed. I held a 9:00 min pace exactly over 6 miles and it felt like a tempo run. It was brutal....

Then it was to the pool for successful swim #2 of the week. I did:
500 WU
2 x (4 x 25 EZ, 50 HARD)
2 x 100
6 x 200 (descending 1-3, 4-6)
3 x 100 CD, breathing to opposite side or bilateral
2500 total

This was a great solid swim and I am back to a 1:30 pace on the 200's. Confidence booster! Panic mode has calmed way down and I hope to get in 2 OWS this weekend, wetsuit free.

Won't have the interwebs this weekend, so have a good one and I will catch up with ya on Monday! Happy training!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Distance Dreamers

I keep forgetting about the NYC Marathon in November. Why? Cuz I am not scared of it? This *could* be a bad thing. (don't worry, it is really on the radar and I am getting the prescribed run mileage in, I am just not "mentally" there yet)

I guess the reason why I am not scared is because I have A) one more Half Ironman to do between now and then, so my brain is a bit preoccupied B) I have ran a 1:50:00 half Marathon after a super hilly 56 mile bike during a Half Ironman. That run has artificially inflated my ego and confidence C) I have signed up for a full Ironman next season, so thinking about the 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike kinda dwarfes the marathon that comes 3rd that day.

But this is BAD logic! I SHOULD be scared of the marathon. The longest I have ever ran was a 15.5 miler @ race pace on a freaking super hilly course. It hurt, but I had a feeling going any longer was only gonna hurt more. I think the marathon is gonna hit me when I do my first long run over 15.5 miles and I go, "Uh oh, I still have another 10.7 miles to go and my knees are giving me the middle finger." (I really am scared of 26.2 miles, I am just in denial, which is bliss!)

SO! To keep my brain in marathon mode, I have found a cool blogger, Abbi @ Higher Miles, who has started a first time marathoner's group called Distance Dreamers. We can all share our first time marathon experiences through this group! Every Wednesday she will report on our progress and will give us Q's to answer about our training. So check out her site and join if you are doing your first Marathon this year.

Here is the first installment of Q's:
What made you decide you wanted to run a long distance race?
That sense of accomplishment. Also, it was a huge incentive to put in more base mileage at speed to compliment triathlon, which is my main sport.
Why the full marathon or half as your distance of choice?
First the half marathon because that is the final leg of a Half Ironman triathlon. If I wasn't confident in nailing a stand alone half marathon, how was I going to nail it during the half Ironman? The full marathon is along the same lines. I don't need to nail this distance, but I want to experience it before I do another one after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike. I guess the half and full marathons as stand alones are R&D?
Finally, why was this the year to go for it?
To be honest, I wanted to do a full marathon for the sake of doing a full marathon, so I randomly picked this year. Now that I am doing a full Ironman next year, doing the marathon this year works out perfectly, timing wise. Plus, doing the NYC Marathon in November is a great season ender and the place to end it where I started the season, in Central Park.