Well I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I haven’t skipped a single workout in the first 7 weeks of my workout plan (GO ME!). The bad news is that I have skipped blogging on every one of those workouts. Ok, so time to bring you up to speed, better late than never right? Part of me can’t believe that 7 weeks are already done and then another part of me feels like I have been training FOREVER already.
I’ve had my fair share of challenges so far with balancing a lot of business travel with training, but I will say I think I’ve done a pretty darn good job of finding ways to make it work. It does however take a lot of planning and researching ahead of time (and some help from friends). Let me do a quick week by week walk recap.
Week of March 11, 2013: Home
Week one was nice to be home as I built a rhythm for how to get these workouts in and build the discipline I would need for the 20 weeks. I quickly realized that a lot of planning and tradeoffs would need to take place. Early morning wake ups were just the beginning and getting used to going to bed early, as quite frankly I was just exhausted. Not a lot of key noteworthy items this week but just happy to officially get through the first week.
Week of March 18, 2013: Fort Walton Beach & New Orleans
My first introduction to the challenge of training while on the road. The good news was that the weather was far superior to the snow that was happening at home. I found a local YMCA that allowed me to swim with my home membership which was great. I was able to run outside under the beautiful Florida sun. But, the drawback was that all of my biking was indoors at the gym. I made the best of it though and quickly learned just how uncomfortable the bike seats are at the gym for hour rides. BRUTAL! I had a great week in the sun with my love and even got some pool time. We had some great local meals and really just enjoyed the local scene in Fort Walton Beach/Destin. Friday we hopped in the car for a drive to New Orleans for the weekend. We drove through a few new states for me and even stopped for lunch. It was a nice road trip! The weekend in New Orleans was also nice with some amazing local food and beverages. The atmosphere in New Orleans always makes for a great escape. After a great week together with Jason, it was time for us to fly out and split ways once we got to Charlotte…. Home for him and Atlanta for me.
Week of March 25, 2013: Atlanta
Hotlanta! Best news ever is that my hotel had a lap pool, and a pretty decent sized one. Perfect for training! Another reason to love the JW. In fact, the concierge lounge at the JW Buckhead also had great healthy food options as well (compared to other Marriott’s). Although I love going home on the weekends to spend time with Jason, I decided to stay the weekend to focus on my training (and take advantage of the weather). I rented a road bike from a local shop called Silver Comet Depot (thanks to a recommendation from my co-worker Michelle). The shop was right on this great trail that was perfect for riding. On Thursday I picked up my bike and ended up joining an easy woman only bike ride on the trail for 20 miles. I had a great time and met some great people! Friday was on off day for us so I was invited to join a group of workers from my company for a group ride courtesy of Michelle. There was a 30 and 40 mile option and I ended up convincing myself to take on the challenge and go for the 40. It was a perfect course and gorgeous day. I had a lot of fun and felt like I got a great ride in. Saturday I also took advantage of the bike rental and headed to Stone Mountain to get a decent ride in. It was much hillier than I had planned for, but made for a good challenge. Sunday morning I also got in a quick ride on the trail before returning my bike. The Specialized rode bike came to grew on me. I was sad to have to return it, minus the pricey rental cost ($150 for 3 days). Although I had some great training, I missed home a lot and it felt so weird to spend Easter alone rather than with family. I made the best of it and mixed in some sightseeing. I hit up the World of Coca Cola, Piedmont Park, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and a few great restaurants. I can say that I really enjoyed Atlanta.
Week of April 1, 2013: Atlanta
This week was a continuation from my weekend spent in Atlanta. Again, just continued to fit in those workouts and stick to the plan. An added bonus was that Syracuse (my alma matter) ended up making it to the Final Four, which happened to be in Atlanta. Jason and some friends from home came down to join in the festivities. They even had free concerts all weekend. It was a great experience, even if Syracuse didn’t end up making it to the National Championship. I even ended up running a Road to the Final Four 5K on Saturday morning to benefit the Coaches vs Cancer charity. It was a blast! I had a decent time and it made me feel good to know I pushed a bit too!
Week of April 8, 2013: Atlanta
At this point I was ready to go home. Four weeks straight away from home is a long time. I really tried to focus on my training and catching up on sleep. Nothing really all that notable this week.
Week of April 15, 2013: Home – Pennsylvania
This week flew by while at home but it was nice to have access to all of my regular training amenities, including my own bike. I also had friends to train with which is such a nice perk to help mix it up a bit. My week started off with working from home on Monday and learning of the devastating Boston Marathon bombing. I couldn’t remove myself from the media once the news first broke. It seemed so surreal that an event that so many people dream of could become such a tragedy. I knew of a couple people running and my concern was instantly for their safety. I received numerous phone calls and texts from concerned friends, family, and coworkers wondering if I was there. It was nice to know that I was in many people’s thoughts. My thoughts and prayers were endlessly with Boston and those that were hospitalized. Although I was glued to the evolving events, I can honestly say that this wasn’t a complete shock to me. At many of the big races I have done in the past, NYC Marathon, Army Ten Miler, etc, things like this cross my mind. Mainly because it is such a large amount of people crammed into a small place. Although I had worried about this, it never stopped me, nor will it. In fact, Thursday night I sacrificed my rest day to head to the local running store, Scranton Running Company, for the monthly run around Scranton. However, this night had a special theme and was Run for Boston. The outpour of support from the community was huge and the largest turnout for the monthly event ever. They had special shirts that we all wore and said a prayer together at the beginning of the race. Several local runners that had run the race on Monday were there to support as well and share their terrifying stories. The idea of running for Boston carried into all of my workouts for the week and served as motivation that we are resilient, not only as runners, but as a country. Over the weekend I headed out with fellow TNT coach Matt for my first 50 miler on the bike. What a great ride!
Week of April 22, 2013: Orlando
I was happy to spend the week training in Orlando as to finally take advantage of some warmer temperatures. My amazing coworker, Allison (a frequent blog reader of mine) was kind enough to loan me her road bike to use. This is light years better than riding the bike at the hotel gym. I went with her to pick the bike up on Tuesday and it was a perfect fit. Between Tuesday and Friday I managed to rack up over 100 miles on the bike. One of which was a key workout for me, a 3 hour bike ride. I knew I didn’t have enough time after work to get this in before dark, so I forced myself to get up at 3am and ride the roads around the Disney/Universal/Seaworld area. It was actually a great ride with great street lighting, smooth roads, and minimal vehicles. In addition to all of the cycling, I took advantage of the YMCA Aquatic Center which had an Olympic distance (50m) pool. It was so nice to be able to swim longer with minimal turns. It took some getting used to, but I really enjoyed it. They also accepted my YMCA membership which was a nice perk as well. This week was overall the highest mileage and longest duration that I have had to date (and I left it). I had to do some re-arranging so that I could squeeze in my weekend race that I had planned, the St Luke’s Half Marathon in Allentown, PA.
St Luke’s Half Marathon will always have a special place in my heart as it’s the first half marathon course I ever ran. Not only was it race weekend for me, but more importantly for several Team in Training participants that I’ve been coaching this season. This season was a little different because quite a few of them trained on their own and our weekly TEAM runs weren’t quite what the usually are. However, I was grateful to have had the experience to get to know them and see them cross the finish line for a cure yesterday. We had a great inspiration dinner with the participants on Saturday and since I was the lead coach, I got to get up and say a few words. But before I did that, my tri coach Steve, the man that has got to me where I am today to undertake this 140.6 got up and said a few words. He mentioned how I had noted on Facebook a few weeks ago that I was amazed how far I was swimming and it was all because of him and his patience working with me. He also shared with the group that I’m training for an Ironman. But more so what struck me most was how he shared that he really misses coaching now that he’s taken a few seasons off and feels like part of him is empty. I have this same fear as I take this season off from coaching with no definite return in site. I just need to remind myself that I need to focus on a couple things and that I can’t do it all. If it’s meant to be, I will be back.
On race day I really didn’t know what to expect out of my body. I knew that I had pushed pretty hard in training this week and I also knew that I have a long journey ahead of me and didn’t want to get hurt. I figured I would just go out and see what happened, if I felt good, great if not, no big deal, just finish. I started out feeling strong and had a familiar face next to me from the start that I tried to keep with as we wove back and forth through the crowd. She is an Ironwoman, and in fact a large part of my inspiration to do Lake Placid as I followed her journey in 2012. I felt really strong until about mile 11 and then started to really feel the pace in my legs. I held back a bit and took some of the hills out of the parkway REALLY slow. I lost sight of Andrea for a bit but later regained sight in the final mile as I got a random burst of energy and pushed through to the finish. Not a personal record (PR) for this girl, a couple minutes off, but I was content with 1:50 and some change. I needed to remind myself all of the training I had done that week and that really helped put my time in perspective. I grabbed my medal, put it in my SpiBelt and then headed out to help coach the Team in Training participants push through their final mile to the finish line. In return I ran up the last steep hill into the stadium about ten extra times (my legs are feeling it today) and I racked up about another 5 miles on the course just from going back and forth. But I will tell you that I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. To be able to help people get to that finish line made all the soreness worth it. All around a great day! Then I went off to celebrate with a great group of friends over some brews. It was then time to head home and do laundry, then pack to head to Fort Worth this week.
Thank goodness this is a recovery week!