The Road to Rome: Maratona di Roma: The Race

This post has been a long time coming, I should have written it a long time ago, but I have/had a lot of conflicting views on this race.

Last time I wrote about Italy, I had been to the expo and did a shake-out run with The Roman Guy. After the shakeout run, I had a really yummy lunch with Laura & then headed back to The Beehive to just chill out the rest of the afternoon/evening. I like to just veg out in my Pro Compression marathon socks and I always eat pizza the night before a race.

Margarita Pizza, Aqua Naturale & my fav purple Procompression socks - a prerace ritual
Margarita Pizza, Aqua Naturale & my fav purple Procompression socks – a prerace ritual

I didn’t have a TV in my room, so I just read some, surfed the internet & chilled before heading to bed. The race didn’t start until 9am so I didn’t have to be up too early, but I always like to be ready early & there early, just in case.

I was prepared for anything, it had been semi nice out my first 2 days in Rome, but the forecast was calling for rain. I was a little nervous about the rain, I’m not a fan of running in the rain to begin with but wet cobblestones made me a little anxious. I have run on cobblestones a lot, when I lived in Orlando, but Winter Park cobblestones & 2000 year old cobblestones are a little different.

I had an outfit picked out, a black Lululemon pace setter skirt, a teal cool racer back, long sleeve swiftly & my newton gravity shoes.  What I ended up wearing was all Lululemon, running capris, teal cool Racerback, purple long sleeve swiftly, white rain jacket, my cold weather running headband & my newtons.

Ready for anything
Ready for anything

I left the hotel around 6:45a and headed towards the train station to take the metro to the start line. The metro was free for all runners on the day of the race. It was pretty cool seeing all the other runners with their backpacks. Just a sea of red backpacks :).

At Termini, waiting for the metro. Free for runners on race day.
At Termini, waiting for the metro. Free for runners on race day.

The race had put up posts on Facebook telling us all to get off a Circus Maximus instead of the Colesseo stop, which was actually closer, but closed. From the metro stop it was about a 10 min walk to the starting area. It was drizzling a little at this point, I had my umbrella up, just so I didn’t get too wet before the race.

I got over near the Colesseo & took a few minutes to eat some bread with Justin’s peanut butter with honey. I filled my hydration belt bottles with pre-mixed Gatorade (the Gatorade there tasted different) & headed into the madness. There was a very small entrance that they were letting runners into the pre-race area. It was super congested & not the safest way of doing things in my opinion. It felt like with all the runners trying to get in, it could quickly become a mob.

Arriving at the colosseo before the race.
Arriving at the colosseo before the race.

Once I was inside, I went straight to the porta potties, which in my opinion was another disaster or rather poor planning, set up on the races part. There were about 20 porta potties each with a huge line, I waited in line for almost 45 minutes before I had to get out of line to drop off my bag. I saw a few signs directing us to the various bib numbers so I headed in the direction of my bib number, but I had forgotten that women were in a separate section, so after walking down a bit, I had to turn around & go thru the crush of runners all the way to the end, where they had the women’s baggage trucks. Burnt Toast moment #1.

Backpack for baggage drop
Backpack for baggage drop
My baggage drop truck, #58 - alllll the way at the end...
My baggage drop truck, #53 – alllll the way at the end…

I finally got there, dropped off my bag & then ran into 2 of the other runners from the shake-out run. We took a few photos & then I was off. I was supposed to be in Corral 3 but by the time I got up to the starting area it was too late. Burnt Toast moment #2

It was freezing and had been raining off and on by this point. I still had to go to the bathroom and was stuck in throng of runners. We finally were able to start moving towards the start & I was pleasantly surprised to see porta potties before the official start so I ducked in to one, did my thing and didn’t lose anytime on the clock – yea!!

I had a plan for the race from my coach, Mary, and while I really wanted sub 4 I didn’t think it was a realistic goal based on my training. I only had 12 weeks after being out for 2 months and I was running straight vs Galloway so I scaled back to a more realistic goal of 4:10..

The plan was this: (for a 4:10 marathon, the average pace needs to be 9:06 per mile or 5:55 per km)

first 5k-10k: get comfortable. Try to run a little slower (about 10 sec a mile) for this part, as to not go out to fast.
10k-20k: you might still be under goal pace here. Thats fine. Just make it closer to 5 sec slower a mile
20k-30k: Find goal pace now
30k-finish: Move a little faster than goal pace to make up the time. Since you started out slower, you should have the extra energy to push here.

This is what really happened: numbers wise but the numbers don’t tell the real story.

Distanza Pos. Pos. M/F Pos. Cat. Tempo RealTime Parziale min/Km
Via Ostiense (5K) 5000 9483 1194 9476 00:35:37 00:30:43 7.07
Via Ettore Rolli (10K) 10000 10499 1334 10492 01:05:59 01:01:05 00:30:21 6.35
Lungotevere dei Sangallo (15K) 15000 11211 1464 11203 01:37:44 01:32:50 00:31:44 6.30
Via della Giuliana (21.097K) 21097 11103 1477 11093 02:18:41 02:13:47 00:40:57 6.34
Piazza Lauro De Bosis (25K) 25000 12010 1711 12001 02:45:17 02:40:23 00:26:35 6.36
Viale della XVII Olimpiade (30K) 30000 12208 1813 12199 03:22:31 03:17:37 00:37:14 6.45
Piazza di Spagna (40K) 40000 11590 1711 11581 04:31:09 04:26:14 01:08:37 6.46
Via dei Fori Imperiali (FINISH) 42195 11573 1703 11563 04:47:08 04:42:14 00:15:59 6.48

 

First off, I knew that the race would be in kilometers, but I trained in miles, next time, I run in a foreign country, I’ll train in kilometers instead of miles so I have a better idea on my paces, etc.

The race started out fine, it was a bit slower than I would have liked, but it was pretty crowded.  I had read that the first & last 6 miles were cobblestone, but it was kinda intermittent between cobblestone & regular road, with a little bit of marble sidewalk thrown in :).

It was cold, to me, for about the first 6 miles and then it got incredibly humid. I had already taken my jacket off and it was around this point, which was actually I would come to find out, in my cousin, Elena’s neighborhood, near Marconi. I took off my long sleeve skirt here. I was really struggling & I ended up walking just a bit at this point when I took off my shirt. I tied both the skirt & jacket around my waist, the were Lululemon & kinda pricey so I didn’t want to toss them. Burnt toast moment #3, I should have taken the swiftly off before the race & just had the jacket, but too late now.

Of course right after this point, the rain would start in earnest & I was stuck in my tank top since my other tops were wet. It was around this point that things would go horribly wrong and I had a really bad asthma attack, that left me wheezing for about 2 miles – around miles 8 – 10.  I had my inhaler in my pouch, used it and tried to run as much as I could until it was over. Burnt Toast Moment #4

By this point, I probably could have called it a day & just quit, but I came all the way to Rome & I had put it out there on social media, so there was no quitting.  Even after 4 Burnt Toast moments.

I decided to just do my best to finish and I need up doing Galloway pretty much the rest of the race, running when I could and walking when I had to.  With torrential rain in parts, and not feeling very well, I got to St. Peter’s and took the only photos during the race. When I got back to AZ & showed this pic to my mom, she was like that is a horrible photo, which it is, but it really shows what I was going thru during this race.  I wasn’t even half-way thru the race and I felt like I had run 50 miles.

St. Peter's Basilica midrace selfie by St. Peters Looking back from St. Peters

After this point, I just kept trudging along, I was drinking lots of Gatorade – at least 1 cup sometimes 2 at each water stop, which were every 5k.  I thought the Gatorade tasted different, but it seemed to work although, I did have to take a pit stop around mile 19.  The aid stations were well stocked, with water, Gatorade (although they called them sale, or salts), cookies, fruit and maybe some other snacks too.  i was pretty bad about fuel during this race, i think i only ate a total of 2 honey stinger chews the whole race. Oops!

I remember getting to the area around the Spanish Steps & then Piazza Navona & being cheered on by some fellow Americans – thank you for that! before getting into the final stretch. Around 38km, I was walking and a fellow runner passed me and said “Forza!” Which was what I needed to hear right then. I managed to keep going, even passed him and was feeling pretty good, even after having been out there for over four hours.

Then we got to the last aid station which was inside a tunnel about a mile or so from the finish.  Here comes Burnt Toast moment #5 (I think, it’s getting hard to keep track, huh).  It was super slippery, I grabbed my cup of Gatorade and promptly almost went down.  I kept walking and almost fell over a 2nd time, and then a 3rd so after having made up some decent time, I had to walk thru this tunnel since it was so slippery.  I finally made it thru and I knew I was almost there.  I remember getting right in front of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and all of a sudden, I realized that there was a huge puddle right in front of me.  I remember looking down and seeing it, trying to move to the left and then next thing I knew, I was on my butt, my legs having fallen right out from under me with my hands on either side.  Now, I think it’s hysterical, but at the time, I was so ready for everything to be over, and I just sat there, finally this guy helped me up, but looking back now, if he hadn’t helped me, really, I have no idea how long I would have sat there.  And this was the big one, Burnt Toast moment #6.

When I went down, I hit my hand on the base of my palm, and when I got up, I couldn’t even open my hand up all the way, but I had a race to finish, so I picked myself up.  Oh and remember, I had my jacket & long sleeve swiftly around my waist? They were soaked, completely soaked since I had been sitting in a puddle at least 6 inches deep. So while I was in tears, I fixed my shirts and I managed to cross the finish line and get my medal.  When I got it, the girl was like don’t cry, and I told her I thought I might have broken my hand, oops.  Fortunately after about 10 minutes, the pain subsided a bit and it wasn’t so so bad.

One weird thing about Italy, you cannot find ice anywhere, here you finish a race and everyone is walking around with ice, there, I don’t think I saw one person who had any ice and come to think of it, I don’t think I saw any ice at all the entire time I was there.

So I finished the race, I was soaking wet, I had to walk all the way to the end to get my bag, at which point, I like everyone else, put my marathon space wrap around me and changed out of my wet clothes, right there on the sidewalk by the Colesseo.  There was a girl next to me from the Netherlands, who asked me to hold the wrap around her so she could change out of her sports bra, I wasn’t quite that brave 😉 but I did change out of my capris and put on dry pants.  I was done, and as one of my instagram friends said, even with all the craziness, I looked strangely content in this photo.

Post Race Medal Shot

Marathons are always a challenge, I was incredibly disappointed with my time but considering all the burnt toast moments and the fact that I only had 12 weeks to train, basically from scratch, I’m really happy with my accomplishment.  As my now coach said to me when I emailed him to tell him how I did, I could have quit after the asthma attack at mile 8 and the fact that I didn’t says a lot more about me than the number on the clock.

That being said, I do have big goals regarding the marathon, and I made the decision after this race, that I needed to achieve my goals in the half marathon before I could work on my marathon goals.  There will always be another marathon to run :).

Final thoughts on the Maratona di Roma…overall a well organized race.  I think that they need more porta potties and to make sure that women know that their baggage check is separate from the men.  It should have been labeled on the paperwork and with signs.  Obviously you can’t control the weather but running it in the rain was a definite challenge.

Have you ever had a race go so horribly wrong?  And what did you do? Did you quit or push thru?

Half Marathon Training – Week 3

Week 3 didn’t exactly go as planned, I was pretty tired after 2 weekends of back to back runs.  I was sore and could definitely feel that I hadn’t taken a full rest day.

Beautiful skies all week
Beautiful skies all week

So here’s the week in review – One week until the Rock n’ Roll San Diego 1/2 Marathon.

Monday – Easy Recovery Run – 35:24, 3.35 miles total – 10:33 average – 1.25 mi run, .5 mi walk, 1.25 mi run, .35 walk

Tuesday – Strength Training – 30 min

3 sets of 12 reps with 8 lb DB (dumbbells) DB Squats DB Chest Press DB Chest Fly Deadlifts DB tricep kickbacks/extensions DB bicep curl DB alternating lunges DB lateral raise (5lb) DB shoulder press (5lb) Crunches Reverse Crunches Low bicycles Double leg raises

Wednesday – Tempo Run, 45 min total, 15 min warm-up, 20 min “comfortably hard”, 10 min cool-down.  Actual: Total 5.39 miles, 57:38, first 4.10 miles 8:50 average, walked the last 1.29 miles.

I don’t know what it is about the Tempo Runs, but they are sooo hard for me. And my legs were dead by this point.

Unscheduled Rest = Yoga & a kitty making sure I'm doing it right :)
Unscheduled Rest = Yoga & a kitty making sure I’m doing it right 🙂

Thursday – was supposed to be 45 min run around 8:45/9 min pace.  Actual: unscheduled rest day & 20 min of yoga

No hills mean using what you do have - Pedestrian overpasses
No hills mean using what you do have – Pedestrian overpasses

Friday – Hill repeats – Actual: 35 min, 12 repeats up the pedestrian overpasses, run up & walk down, 1 mi warm up & cooldown Total: 3.07 miles  Legs felt better but still a bit tight

Saturday – Scheduled rest day with foam rolling & stretching – Actual: 50 min deep tissue massage, 4.15 mile hike thru Sabino Canyon in Tucson.

Hiking, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona, springtime
Hiking in Sabino Canyon near Tucson

Sunday – 1:40 min run, 15 min warm-up, 60 min at 8:50 pace, 20 min at 8:45 pace, 5 min cool-down. Actual: 1:39:26, 11:01 miles, 9:02 average.  9:24, 9:17, 8:51, 9:04, 9:01, 8:46, 9:10, 9:14, 9:11, 8:29, 8:54.

As you can see I had a hard time maintaining pace this morning.  I woke up with sore legs and while it wasn’t a problem at first, it was a challenge to get down under 9 min miles most of the run.  Although, based on today’s run, I am on pace to achieve my goal so I’m happy.  Now to see what happens next week :).

Weekly Totals:

23 miles running, 4 miles hiking, 30 min strength training, 10 min stretching

 

Half Marathon Training Weeks 1 – 2

I mentioned this in my last post but I’ve decided to focus on my half marathon time for the rest of the year and focus on getting stronger and hopefully faster before training for my next marathon.

I’ve worked with 3 different coaches over the last year and a half and I think I’ve finally found someone who is going to be the best fit for my goals, etc.  It also helps that for the first time in a long time, I’m finally mostly healthy so I can actually focus on things other than just endurance.  Focusing on the half marathon for an extended period of time, gives me a lot more flexibility in my workouts, I don’t have to worry about doing 20+ mile runs in the extreme heat this year – yea!!

Now why do I work with a coach?  I equate it to having a personal trainer, someone there who will motivate me, push me and keep me accountable.  I have run a lot of races, so could I do my own training plan? Sure, but I really like having someone with more experience do it for me.

My newest coach, is also my physical therapist and thus, knows me and my injuries well so I think that it is a pretty good fit.

My schedule is given to me via an app/website called Training Peaks, at first I wasn’t very impressed, but now that I’ve started using it pretty consistently, I like it.  I can download my workouts from my Garmin.

Week 1 (May 5 – 11)

Sunrise Run

Mon: Easy Recovery Run 30 min – I did 2.85 mi in 31:17 – tried to keep low heartrate but didn’t succeed – ended up walking a lot to keep it down

Tues: 30 minute Core Work out

Wed: 45 min run – negative splits – 5.08 mi – 9:09, 9:08, 8:57, 8:48, 8:22 and then 7:45 for the .08 mi

Thur: 30 min Leg Strengthening Workout – 3 sets of 12

Fri: Rest Day

Sat: Night Run 10K – Read more about that here 🙂

Sun: 75 min run 9:30 – 10 min pace – actual 7.86 mi – 10:07, 9:47, 9:39, 9:39, 9:37, 9:23, 9:18, last .86 8:57

Total: 22 miles running, 60 min cross training

Week 2 (May 12 – 18)

midrun selfie

Mon: Rest Day

Tues: Tempo Run – didn’t quite work out the way it was supposed to – I wanted to run on the treadmill at work, but they were all full so I went outside, my Garmin says it was only 84 but it felt way hotter and so windy.  I ended up walking a lot so 5.01 miles 45:01

Wed: 30 min Negative Split Run – 3.46 mi – 9:16, 8:46, 8:16, last .46 8:04

Thur: Strength Workout: 30 minutes – 3 x 12 reps of each of these :

Squats, One arm rows, modified push-ups, overhead presses, bicep curls, burpees, tricep dips, crunches, reverse crunches, side arm plank with hip touch, tick tocks, superman

Fri: Was supposed to be spin class but I don’t belong to a gym so I used my dad’s total gym bike for 50 min/18.3 mi

Sat: Hill Repeats – 2.3 mi warm-up, 1.78 mi hill repeats (90 sec up, 3 min down) x 6, 2 mile cool-down walk

Sun: 75 min run 9:30 – 10 min pace – again a bit faster than I was supposed to be – negative splits 9:41, 9:44, 9:23, 9:09, 9:13, 8:54, 8:54, 8:28, last .2 8:11

Totals: 20.5 mi run, 18.3 mi bike, 30 min strength workout

All in all both weeks went well.  My legs are tired, but I feel really good, surprisingly good. Now let me find some wood to knock on – LOL. A little recovery in & by the pool and I’m ready to start week 3 🙂

Recovery

 

 

The Night Run 2014 Scottsdale 10K Race Recap

After my performance in the Rome Marathon back in March, I decided to concentrate on the half marathon distance and working on my speed on the shorter distance before tackling the marathon distance again, so I decided to incorporate some new events (the duathlon) and some shorter distance runs, like The Night Run 10K to work on my speed.

April was definitely a recovery month for me, and I’ve yet to run over 8 miles since the marathon, which worries me a little since I have a half in 2 weeks but I trust my coach and my training. 🙂

But I digress and that’s not what this post is about now is it…without further ado here is my recap of the 2014 Night Run 10k.

I registered back in February during “early bird” registration so I was able to get in for $30 for the 10k, which is an awesome price, I know that was $5 off the regular early bird price of $35 so if you waited until day of, it was probably around $45, give or take, I’m not sure since I registered so early.

I did this race back in 2012 when it was an 8k.  The city of Scottsdale requested that they change the course this year, which in my opinion was a great thing.  The year I ran it, we were running around Old Town, which is cool, but there were cars backing up and driving by so I much preferred this years course.  So this year on 5/10/14 they had the first 5k/10k event.  Very cool that the date & the distances matched up :).

The Night Run Scottsdale, May 10 , 2014, 5k, 10k

We had the option to either pick up our packets before the race or on race day.  I wanted to look at some new shoes so I headed to one of our local running stores, I-Run on Saturday morning to pick up my packet.

They have some nice tech shirts (although they are a little thin for the white color – I can see right thru mine) and they also gave us glow in the dark bracelets for the race.

The Night Run 2014, 5k, 10k, Tech Shirt, Glow in the Dark Medal, May 10, 2014
Nice Tech Shirt & Glow in the Dark Medal 🙂

Night races can be difficult to fuel for because most of us are used to racing in the morning.  I’ve actually been running a lot in the afternoons lately so I think that may have helped me out this time around.  I ate a normal breakfast, a foot long oven roasted chicken sub from Subway for lunch, a piece of fruit in the afternoon and then a piece of bread with peanut butter about 2 hours before the race.  I drank a ton of water, because it was somewhat hot outside.

One of my friends, came with me to the race, after I commented about 15 times about how I haven’t had anyone come cheer for me for the majority of my races.  (I think I guilted him into it – LOL joking)  So I told him that his job as my spectator was to hold on to my stuff and be my official photographer :).  Of course I forgot to mention this until we were on our way and for a night race, the iPhone doesn’t do quite as good of a job as a real camera with a good flash, but it’s all good.

We got to the race location about 75 minutes prior to the race start.  I like to get to races early, I don’t want to have to be searching for parking when the race is starting.  This location is really good, by the Scottsdale Civic Center, and there is a garage by the library that is a short walk to the start line.

PreRace Expo - set up of live results Race Food Truck Mini Expo at the Race

They had a lot of vendors around the start area, we just walked around for a few minutes, mostly so I could get some photos and see what was going on, before sitting down to chat before the race.  I don’t normally have anyone around to chat with before the race, outside of other runners, so I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t have a chance to hit the bathrooms a second time before the race. Ooops! uh yeah, that wasn’t fun, I had to go the entire race. Burnt Toast moment #1 🙂

PreRace "Glam" Shot lol
PreRace “Glam” Shot lol

The race started at 7:30pm and both 5k & 10k were on the same course, one loop for 5K, 2 for 10K.  Once I found my spot, one of my running buddies and fellow Ragnar Trail Zion teammates, found me.  We barely had a chance to say hi, he asked me if I was running for time or fun and then we were off.  I really wanted to see what I could do, so I think I lost him pretty quickly.

Burnt Toast Moment #2 came at the beginning of the race.  I forgot my case for my phone and I was planning on putting it into my spibelt but I again wasn’t paying attention to what was going on, so totally unlike me, and I didn’t put my phone in the belt before the race started so I was having trouble fitting it in and didn’t want to waste time.  I ended up carrying my phone in my hand or under my tank top strap.  I was a bit nervous about that though because during my first marathon I burnt out the camera from not having it in a case from the sweat, and I’d be lost without my phone camera.

Back to the race, I didn’t want to go out too fast because I am notorious for dying at the end but it was a really fun course, I enjoyed it.  Some road, a little greenway, more road, no parking lots :), a couple of minor hills and just a overall fun course.

Garmin Race Map
Garmin Race Map

My Garmin was only 4 seconds off my official time, probably because of turning it off after the finish line.

NEGATIVE SPLITS!!!
NEGATIVE SPLITS!!!

The only time in the race that I had any doubts was in Mile 5, we turned the corner onto Drinkwater and it felt like the wind really picked up.  I just tried to maintain my speed the best I could.  The wind died down once we turned onto Indian School and by this time I had been passing a lot of 5kers.  There was a guy who passed me briefly before we turned the corner for the last 100 meters, I thought he was going to try to race me to the finish, so as soon as I turned and saw the finish line, I picked up the pace and was back to my sprinting days, I could feel my knees were higher and my stride was longer, it felt amazing and it was even more amazing when I realized that I PR’d the race by 21 seconds.  Technically it was a bigger PR than that since the course for my last PR race was almost .2 mi short, but on athlinks it’s 22 seconds :).

Official Race Photo from the Night Run
Official Race Photo from the Night Run

This is the only official photo I had and it’s not the best, although I do appear to be floating – LOL.  I was totally spent at the end of the race, I gave it everything I had.

Post Race Photo Op with "Night Al" Official Mascot of The Night Run
Post Race Photo Op with “Night Al” Official Mascot of The Night Run

They had tons of food and water after the race – I knew it would be dark after the race so I snapped a pic before hand.  Cold water bottles, fruit (apples, bananas, oranges), clif bars, cookies & pretzels.

Post Race Snacks

All in all this was a great race and now that there is a 10k race, I would definitely do it again.  It’s one of the last races in the Phoenix area before it gets too too hot.

Have you ever done a night race?  Do you fuel any differently for a night race vs a day race?

Athleta Esprit de She Tempe Duathlon Race Recap

Back in December when I was planning my winter/spring race schedule I got a few emails from Esprit de She because I was a founding finisher after I ran the 2013 Esprit de She 10K in Tempe, AZ.  I remember seeing emails about the Tri/Duathlon last spring but I was training for multiple half marathons and I didn’t have a bike so I figured that wasn’t really for me.  Plus, I am a horrible swimmer, I had a really bad experience in swimming lessons back when I was like 5 and while I can get by, underwater, back-float/stroke, treading water, the basics, I can’t do any strokes.  So I figured a duathlon was probably more my speed, I can run, I think I can still bike and regardless it’s only a total of 15 miles so why not give it a whirl. 🙂  I re-read this and remember, yeah, crazy marathoner here, 15 miles is nothing, LOL. 5k running 12 miles on the bike, piece of cake, or so I’d like to think ;).

The way I swim - with a floaty
The way I swim – with a floaty lol

But at the time I was coming off my injury, a possible bulged disc in my very low back, and stationary biking was helping so I decided I wanted to at least try the duathlon this year.  At the time I entered the race, December 31, I didn’t even own a bike so talk about crazy, I spent $94 to register for an event that I didn’t even have the right equipment for.

So what did I do, being on an extreme budget, like not wanting or having more than $100 to spend on a bike & hopefully a helmet too, I started scouring craigslist for bikes.  Most of them were mountain bikes or crazy expensive road bikes but I was able to find someone who was selling an old, Trek Multitrack 720, that was in great condition.  The first time I looked at it, it was listed at $150, then it was down to $120 with a make an offer so what the heck – I figured I’d go out to check it out.

It was in great condition and I was able to get him down to $80 so I am now the proud owner of a new bike.

It's old and it's not a real tri bike but it'll do for now :)
It’s old and it’s not a real tri bike but it’ll do for now 🙂

Well flash forward to May 3, about a month after my last marathon and a month when I was totally not motivated to really exercise at all, so I did maybe 3 total bike rides, the last one for 10 miles 4 days before the race and no brick workouts.  I was nervous but in the end this was all for fun so I headed out to the expo to pick up my packet and to drop off my bike which you were required to do on Saturday.

Esprit de She bikes racked while picking up packets
Racks for the bikes while picking up our packets.

As I mentioned earlier, I was a “Founding Finisher” since I did the 10K last year so they had a separate line for packet pick-up.  There were a lot of founding finishers so the line there was 3 times as long as the other lines, but it moved relatively fast.

Esprit de She Packet Pickup Tempe Beach Park, AZ, May 3, 2014
Founding Finisher Packet Pick-up

After picking up my packet and getting my really nice race shirt, a Moxie Cycling commemorative shirt and a reusable Athleta bag with goodies inside, I took my bike over to the transition area.

Esprit de she goodie bag Esprit de she Moxie Tank

Esprit de she transition bracelet
Transition Area bracelet – Required for coming & going into the transition area, even on Saturday

There were 2 tags that we had to add to our bikes, as we know, I’ve never done anything like this so I was just watching everyone else, one lady was telling her friends to make sure the purple tag was in a spot where it wouldn’t rub on their legs so I stuck mine at the top, and then they had d-tags that had to be zip tied to the top of handlebars.

Esprit de she bike tag 2 Esprit de she bike tag

Bike's racked and ready to go
Bike’s racked and ready to go

They had special bike races for the founding finishers so I raced my bike and then headed back to the expo area to listen to the safety meeting.  It was really hot out, like a 100 degrees, so they had added some extra tents and handed out bottles of water.  I’m glad I went to the meeting, I had no idea about some of the USAT rules.  As I was listening to them talk about some of the common violations, bike helmet strap not clipped in transition, staying 3 bike lengths from the next bike, 15 secs to pass someone, etc. I kept thinking, I guess I better go online and read these rules.

The meeting lasted about 45 min and then it was time to rest and relax for the big day.

I arrived at Tempe Beach Park around 5am on Sunday.  I was really early, but I’ve been there for PF Chang’s half marathon and the parking can get really crazy so I wanted to get their early.  Since I was doing the duathlon, I didn’t have much to layout in transition, so I just kinda took in the whole scene.  I ran into my friend, Kate, who was doing the Sprint Relay with another friend Jen, so we chatted for a while :).

Finish Line before the race
Finish Line before the race
Getting body marked in the transition area
Getting body marked in the transition area
I love being at Tempe Town Lake at sunrise - so pretty.
I love being at Tempe Town Lake at sunrise – so pretty.

I got marked, I thought it was interesting that they asked you your age at the end of the year and put that on your leg instead of your current age.  I have to say though, that it took me forever to get the sharpie off my arms & legs.  I had to use my dad’s Goop to get it off after washing it 3 times with soap. LOL.

 

Marked and ready to start
Marked and ready to start

The Olympic distance triathletes started us off at 6:30a with a floating start.  There were swim waves every 3 minutes and then the duathlon started at 7:00a.

Esprit de She Floating Start Olympic Esprit de She Olympic Swim Start

I was so ready to just start after having been down there for 2 hours.  The first run portion was 1.5 miles and off we went.  The first half was on the dirt path and then after the turn we were on the concrete path with some rolling hills.  I was able to do really well in this portion, finishing in 12:18, 8:09 average, which put me at 23/131.

I headed into the first transition, hopped on my bike after 1:38 and headed out.  The bike was what made me nervous, but I just did what I could do.  I think I have a small problem with my bike though, maybe it’s out of alignment? I’m not sure, but it felt really wobbly when I took my hands off the handle bars so I wasn’t able to drink as much as I would have liked.  The bike course had a few hills but I thought it was pretty fun, I liked racing down the hills more than I thought I would.  I finished in 49:39 avg 14:99mi/hr to put me at 81/131.  Considering I really only road 3 times in the last 20 years before this, I’m pretty happy with that :).

Transition 2 was a bit longer because I mixed up the row where my bike was supposed to go but after 1:58 I headed out for the second run (1.79mi).  This is where things went a little downhill because I was extremely dehydrated by this point and so unbelievably hot.  It was only 79 but with sun beating down on us, I was really feeling it.  I ended up having to walk a bit of this part and dumped water over my head on both sides of the water station.  I was feeling pretty bad towards the end and walked up each of the hills.  I heard my coach, Charlie, who was there for another one of his athletes, cheering me on in the last 1/4 mile and I pulled out a fast finish.  Crossing the line, I felt like I was going to pass out &/or be sick, but after getting my medal, some water & Aspire, I felt better.

A nice benefit, they put up the tape for all the finishers to go thru.
A nice benefit, they put up the tape for all the finishers to go thru.

Something nice that they did that I haven’t seen at any of the other races I’ve personally done was having a tape for all the finishers to go thru.  As someone who is more of a middle of the packer, this was a nice touch and definitely made me feel good.

After going thru the tape, I was given a medal, it’s pretty nice, duathletes got a purple ribbon and triathletes a red ribbon, a bottle of water, a bottle of Aspire sports drink.  They also had orange slices, pretzels, animal crackers, I think, and chocolate milk.

I saw my friends, Jen & Kate after I left the finish line area and we had to get a commemorative photo of the 3 of us.

Jen, Kate & I after the race. Jen & Kate got 2nd place overall in the Sprint Tri Relay!! Great job ladies!!
Jen, Kate & I after the race. Jen & Kate got 2nd place overall in the Sprint Tri Relay!! Great job ladies!!

There was a finish line party after the race, with the “Bubbly Bar” which had mimosas, I don’t drink when I have to drive, so I didn’t try them, but they were served in cute little Esprit de She glasses.  I got some brown rice, egg white, pico di gallo casserole from My Fit Foods which was really good, drank my water & my Aspire sports drink.  This was the first time I tried Aspire and it wasn’t bad.  Didn’t taste like it had as much salt in it as my Gatorade but it tasted pretty good.

Esprit de she finish line mimosas Esprit de She Post Race Fuel

After a few snacks I grabbed my bike out of the transition area and headed home to recover in the pool.

Esprit de She post race medal shot

All in all this was a great race and I would definitely do it again.

I learned a few things though…

1) I need to get my bike fixed so that it’s in alignment and doesn’t wobble

2) Brick workouts!! Definitely need to ride the bike and then run, the 2nd run kicked my butt

3) Drink more during the event, I was seriously dehydrated and that played a part in the 2nd run portion

I’m really excited to have been able to help kick off the 2014 Esprit de She season in Tempe and I’m looking forward to running the 10k again in October.  If you are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale general area and want to join me, you can register here. Please put EDS62 in the promo code box.  It’s not a discount, but it will let them know I told you about the race. 🙂

 

Disclaimer: I have been chosen to be a 2014 Esprit de She Ambassador however, I did pay for my entry to the 2014 Tempe Duathlon and was planning to do this race and the 10K in October even if I wasn’t selected. All thoughts and opinions are my own.