I may have finally learned my lesson that just because you get a free entry, you shouldn’t necessarily do the race. Yep. That’s how this report is going to go. Ha!
The Phil Doganiero 3 Bridge Race is exactly as described. A half marathon with three bridges. Bridges that I haven’t trained on in quite some time, though Meghan and I used to practically live on them in the months before our ironman way back in 2014. Forewarning: I have a bunch of excuses for why this race stunk so hard, but mostly it’s that what I expected to run and the runner I am right now didn’t meet each other until after mile eight.
I woke up race morning, last Saturday, and really didn’t feel ready to run a half. But I told myself, it’s just a training run and you can run it comfortably in two hours. This is not a brag, I had run that half at my 70.3 three weeks prior in 2:03, so this “goal” time sounded accurate in my head. However, I had decided that week to cut back – way back – on carbs. I also started my period the day before the race. I was having cramps and felt really low energy. But my inner
dumbass dialogue told me it was fine. Get out the door and just go have a “hard training run.”
Well that is exactly what I got, a hard training run. I felt ok the first two miles which included bridge number one, and tried to keep the pace even as I knew the last bridge was probably going to hurt. These aren’t small bridges and the base of the third, just as you see the bottom, mercilessly sends you immediately up a hill. By mile seven I was feeling it and over the second bridge. I had to go to the bathroom thanks to aforementioned diet and lady stuff. Yes, the lady stuff makes you have to poo extra. (All ladies are nodding right now.) Unfortunately, I didn’t see a porta potty and I wanted to go before the next bridge. Fortunately, I’ve run this route approximately 543 times so I knew where an actual restroom was on the course. It was across the street which probably added about a quarter mile.
I hopped back into the race and faced the third bridge and stupid hill. It was around this point that we got a head wind. Have you ever run up a bridge with a headwind? It’s so fun! You should try it. This was around mile eight to nine. Anyway, I slogged up and saw some friendly faces at the top. I’m laughing because they were saying something funny. #tearsofaclown
This bridge is where I realized I was not a comfortable 2 hour half marathoner right now – especially a half marathon with bridges on no carbs!
I got down to the base of the final bridge and then I slogged up the hill and my heart was about to explode at this point. The wheels were trying to fall off and I was trying to hold them together like a running MacGyvor. Except I was all out of bubble gum wrappers and paper clips.
I ran on and chatted with a few familiar faces on the course, including a man who had also done NC 70.3 and was in the hurt locker. I was able to pick up the pace for miles 12 and 13 but the damage was done and I could not wait to be finished. I wanted to smile for the cameras anyway as I knew if I smiled on the outside I could trick my brain into giving me the happy feels that I desperately needed.
Fake it til you make it.
As I approached the finish line, I wanted to slink through and get the heck out of dodge. Nothing to see here folks. But, of course, the announcer and I know each other from a few other races so I got a shout out and that made me smile. Again, I felt like dog poo but as I always say, I heart finish lines.
I finished with a hard fought for 2:07. This isn’t my best performance but I should have gone into this race knowing what I was capable of that day and not berate myself as much as I did the rest of the day. Running is something I love and this was a race that I did some dumb things before, during, and after. I didn’t eat any carbs, I didn’t take any gels during until mile 11, and I didn’t eat immediately after. Yes, I am a coach, and yet some days get the best of me and I do dumb things. What can I say? No one is perfect.
I don’t think I’ve introduced you all to our new family member, Florence + the Muttchine.
Florence, or Flo as we sometimes call her, is either 1 or 2 years old. The folks at the Humane Society weren’t quite sure. We don’t know her breed, nor do we know her history. She was hiding under her shelf bed a the Human Society when we went to see her. They told us she was a lover and a little “mouthy,” and boy is she! She’s extremely cuddly but this also gives her some separation issues when we leave her. We’ve come home to some destroyed toilet paper. And by some, I mean it looked like it snowed in living room. She’s high energy and wary of most men, though she adores her papa.
I’ll admit that I rushed into getting another dog a bit too quickly. It was tough going from an old guy who just wanted to nap to a young lady who wants to play, play, play. She took some getting used to, but as dogs often do, she’s found that spot in my heart and I can’t imagine her not being in our home.
We did hire a trainer that worked with us for six weeks. I’d say she’s doing a lot better, but we probably aren’t doing as great a job on our side of things with her as we could be. Mostly because we just want to snuggle her and she needs a little bit more discipline. It’s hard because, I mean, look at her? She’s like a living stuffed animal! Not to mention, that she’s just a funny little dog. She constantly makes me laugh with her antics. She’s sweet and spirited and I can tell her favorite thing in the whole world is just being with us. Let’s be honest, that’s a great feeling!
I’ve always been pretty hardcore in my adopt don’t shop attitude, but after adopting a dog with more than one issue I can see why folks would want to know the exact history of their pup. However, I know I will always be an adopter because dogs like Florence just need a little TLC. And I know that I want to help them. I also know I won’t be quite so judgmental when I see others purchase super expensive puppies. To each their own.
No dog could ever replace my Lloyd Doggler, but Florence is paving her own way in our family and I’m pretty sure she came along right when I needed her the most. I’ve decided I’m a person who hates coming home to a dogless house and I always want a little furry butt by my side. Now if I could just talk the S.O. into a cat….
I haven’t done one of these in a while! I’m going to change the format a bit so stick with me. Here’s what went down in October AKA THE GREATEST MONTH OF THE YEAR.
My co-worker and I as The Shining Twins. We won the costume contest, naturally.
Run: 66 miles
Strength: 3 sessions
Races: Aquathlon National Championships, Ironman 70.3 North Carolina
I royally goofed at this race, but I still had a blast and would like to do it again next year.
Monthly Over View Thoughts: Since I raced my 70.3 in October there was a little bit of taper and then a lot of slacking post race, erm, I mean recovering. I’m still trying to get back into the swing of working out and working a regular full time job again but I’ve been a little lazy. I really need to get back on track!
Speaking of my job, I’m back to a regular 9 to 5. I had a great time working on that flex schedule but I was offered a position at an ad agency that I couldn’t pass up! I love it so far and am figuring out how I managed to do all my workouts with a 9 to 5 before. #ItsToughYall
Goals for next month: Increase my run volume and get back on the bike! I’m always really focusing on cleaning up my diet and dropping a few Halloween L-B-‘s.
Current TV/Books/Podcasts: Obviously I’ve been watching Stranger Things Season 2 and the first few Halloween episodes made me super happy! I’m also watching Mindhunters as I love anything true crime. In fact, I found my people when I found the podcast My Favorite Murder. I’ve been binge-listening to that on my work commute. And I went to go see the live show here locally. *fangirl squealing* I even sprung for the meet and greet! Karen & Georgia were SO nice and the show could not have been better. #SSDGM
I don’t have a current book, I’ve been busy work reading and being a lazy couch lump. I will add one in though as I just got a recommendation for a book about a different version of events in Neverland…Can’t wait for that one to arrive.
I’m really looking forward to some upcoming running races and I really want to keep posting here as regularly as I can. So what’s up with you?
As the title of this post suggests, this is a race report! Yay! And as I mentioned on the D.R. facebook page, I was thinking about shutting this down, but I got a lot of great feedback about writing when I could and keeping it up just to go back and read about past shenanigans. And we all know there are many of those!
Since I haven’t written in so long, let me back track just a bit. I’ve been back in tri training land for a while now and did a few sprints, an aquathlon, and some running races over the past year. I don’t think that my two years off of cycling were such a great idea at this point, but I’ll get to that. Just know I’ve been training and feeling the tri love again. Now on to the race report!
The S.O. and I left late afternoon on Wednesday to break up the long drive from Florida to North Carolina. We stopped a little past Jacksonville to sleep and then got back on the road Thursday morning. Since this is a Saturday race, we needed that extra day to get there. Our good friend Hugo was also heading up and we had planned to do most pre-race stuff with him. Plus, there were about 900 athletes from the Tampa Bay area racing so we were fortunate to see lots of friends at this event.
Upon arriving in North Carolina we checked in at the athlete village and listened to an athlete briefing. I HIGHLY recommend going to these as they are typically mandatory and if you are racing a new course, it’s always helpful. For example, at this one we learned of the three scary grates and the numerous train tracks we’d cross on our bikes. It was super helpful for my bike anxiety! Yay! (Yes, sarcasm, but it was helpful to make a mental note of where they would be on the bike course. Foreshadowing here.)
Fast forward to Friday. There were shake out runs & rides and then bike check in and run gear bag check in. This NC 70.3 is interesting since they sort of shoe horned the race into the Wilmington area. And because of this there are separate transitions. The swim is point-to-point, then the bike starts in one location and finishes in another. It’s a wee bit confusing, but we figured it out. And to be honest, I didn’t mind this at all. I loved that my bike got back close to finish and that all my swim stuff magically appeared with it.
S.O., moi, Hugo
After check in, we headed to dinner with mine and the S.O.’s Tribal teammates. It was a great dinner and it was one of the quickest group meals I’ve been to. Normally I feel like large group dinners can be a total cluster eff, but this went very smoothly and I didn’t start sweating because I was in a rush to leave and panic in my hotel room. In fact, there was very little panicking on my part before this race in general. I’ve entered a very zen like pre-race mindset lately. Zen like for me anyway, which includes only having to pep talk myself once or twice versus the full blown freak outs of ye olden days. B.o.B. is all growed up! *tears*
Saturday – Race Morning
After a very early wake-up and taking various shuttles to various transition areas, we all found each other at the swim start staging area. It was dark when we first arrived so Hugo dubbed it “Ironman refugee camp.” Triathletes were lying around everywhere in random warm up clothing and it wasn’t until it became light that it looked more like a triathlon and less like a place that Red Cross was needed. Every race lately, I try to stave off taking an Imodium. I eat less fiber, I stay away from fried and overly fatty foods, but, le sigh, it never fails. Nervous poops happen. So I took my standard pre-race Imodium and had no issues the rest of the day. I say this now because the porta potty lines got super long! On the plus side, I “raced” my extremely fast friend Joey in my porta potty line while he was in his and won. First and last time I’ll ever beat Joey at anything. (Yes, Joey, especially with this attitude.)
Ugh that sun damage.
I saw the S.O. off, then it was my turn. I said goodbye to Hugo and made my way down the chute onto what can only be described as an underwater ramp that felt as though it was lined with pure butter. I thought for certain I was going to bust my ass, but I did not. Whew! First almost whammy of the day avoided. My fellow pink capped and wetsuited 7:53 AM start time ladies and I were ready to go. We bobbed around and then we were off!
Ah, the swim. The love of my life. Make no mistake, this was a fast swim. It’s an awkward course but I just kept the buoys to my left as told and only managed to run smack dab into one of them. I swam hard the first 200 meters and then I just found a groove. It got a little congested here and there and at one point some woman aggressively pushed my leg down. I popped up and started to pull off my big hoop earrings but then I remembered I wasn’t wearing big hoop earrings and this was not B.o.B. circa 2001 at da club. I kept swimming. And swimming. And then – WHAM! Right into the back of some dudes from the wave in front of me. I got a little nervous for them as they were doing some interesting strokes but seemed generally ok. I kept swimming. And swimming. And then finally I saw the ladders out. Hooray! (I love swimming but doesn’t everyone want to be done with each leg that they are currently in?)
Swim Time: 29:34
Division Rank: 18
This was a long transition from swim to bike but I did my best to cover it as quickly as I could. The wetsuit strippers were fast and the volunteers at this race were just fantastic in general.
T1 Time: 6:22
Ah, the bike. The bike is like that really awesome guy who everyone loves and checks all the boxes, but I just don’t love him. (This is not the case of the S.O., obvs. He is great and I love him.) I got going on the bike and wasn’t as chilled as I thought I would be which was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t lose my mind at the start of this bike leg because I wanted to get stronger as I went and not vice versa. I was aided in this by the first set of m#@%er f#$king grates on a bridge. As I came up on it, the volunteers were yelling, “Cyclist down up ahead! Slow down!” W. T. F. This does not calm down a person who is already a wee bit skittish on a bike. Instead, I slow to a crawl and see folks walking their bikes across the grates. Should I do the same? OH HELL MOTHER EFFING YES. I get off and walk. All the while I’m thinking about how Coach Jon would be like SERIOUSLY? But, yes. I could see the guy who had crashed sitting on the curb rocking back and forth. Nope. Not me. Not today.
Once I got past that grate situation, I calmed down a little and tried to avoid the 652 people who were passing me at tremendously fast speeds. Well. Maybe not tremendously fast, but I got passed a lot. I’m certain that folks were nervous for me (like I was for them on the swim) as one person gave me that moderately irritating, though well intentioned, “Good job! You got this!” as they sped by. Sigh.
Ok, so I have been training. However, after two years off of the bike, plus travel to Europe, and a hurricane, and life in general, it clearly hasn’t been enough. I had a great swim and a slow bike and as I mentioned in the title of this here blog post… some things never change.
On the plus side, I did get faster as I went and the bike course was flat as a pancake. The first 45 miles went by very quickly and I enjoyed seeing so many friends on the course. The course is not exciting to look at, but I wasn’t there for the views. I did joke to another cyclist that the bike dismount line was my favorite part of triathlon. Oh, yes. I am so funny. And, I actually passed more than a handful of people the last 10 miles which was interesting to me.
Bike Time: 3:16:52
Division Rank: 53
I was naturally very happy to be in T2 and was quick with racking and changing my shoes. I did, however, stop to pee as I really didn’t want to pee while running. (I’ve done this before and it’s fine, but ruins your running shoes.)
T2 Time: 3:22
Ah, the run. Let’s keep going with the dating analogy, shall we? For me, the run is like the boyfriend who totally gets you. He finishes your sentences and never argues with you about how cold you want it in the house because you are hot godammit and why can’t we sleep with it at 70!?! This is totally just a random example. Ahem. Anyway, I got to the run and saw the S.O. within the first mile. I was all peppy and high-fivey and he was like “I hate everyone, I’m at mile 13.” I took note of this as I had a feeling I’d feel that way by the end of this run too.
The run had some small hills but for the most part was shady and lovely. I again saw lots of friends and cheered for them. I was happy to be running but was definitely searching for the turn around point on this out-and-back run course. Again, great volunteers and plentiful aid stations. I took in water, Gatorade, and a tiny bit of soda. I also raced with the world’s most expensive salt and this seemed to help as I didn’t get a massive head ache post race, which is always nice. I tried not to slow down but I did start to get tired and did my best to hang on.
As I got to the last mile, it was straight up a hill. I found this more than a little rude but a volunteer told me the finish line was down hill so that was nice. I finally saw the chute and chugged right over my actual favorite part of the triathlon – the finish line!
Run Time: 2:02:56
Division Rank: 31
I went into this race with the hopes that I’d break six hours or go right around six hours. My Garmin said 5:55 so I thought this was my actual time, but it was not. I wound up going sub 6 by a whopping 53 seconds. Whew! I had some loose goals, but mostly I wanted to do my best and race to my potential on that day. I think I did a fairly good job. I probably should have (could have?) pushed a little harder on the bike, though my power meter says I did what I was supposed to. I would have liked to run 2:00 but I just couldn’t hang. Ultimately though, I am happy with this race and I really enjoyed both the venue and the course.
I have to report that the S.O. broke 4:30, with a time of 4:29:48! He got 3rd in his age group and scored his ticket to worlds. Hugo had a 70.3 PR and said he had one of the best races he’s ever had! I may be back for this race next year. And I certainly don’t plan to take another two years off of cycling again!
Final Time: 5:59:07
Division Place: 35
Thanks for reading!
Man, oh man. I am SO far behind on blog posts. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind and the week that I said “see you later” to Lloyd was basically a week where I ate my feelings and cried. I pulled myself together, and while I’m still sad, I’ve been refocusing on the good stuff I have going on. And there is a lot. So, here’s a little currently post while I figure out what else needs to be written.
Training. I’ve been swimming and cycling a bunch. My hamstring was really bothering, to the point of injury, so I shut down running for two weeks. I did a couple of short runs this week and while my hamstrings are tight, they aren’t as bad. I think it may be a bike fit thing as both are tight and the bike is what I’ve increased the most in the last few months. I got a re-fit yesterday so we’ll see how that goes. On the plus side, I’m seeing improvement and really beginning to understand training with power. Also, I think I just wasn’t really gearing properly before. Like at all. And yes, during my ironman. Yikes.
Racing. As it stands I really only two multisport events on the calendar for the fall. My 70.3 and an aquathlon. I was waiting for this hamstring to heal to sign up for an olympic distance event next month. I better get to it.
Coaching. Coaching is still going really well! I am learning so much from Coaches Jon, Nick and Mason. I truly value what Tribal has formed as it’s great to have a collective of coaches to bounce ideas off of and learn from. I can’t wait to watch the Tribe grow. #TribePride
Summer Travel. I’ve FINALLY made plans to go visit the Redhead and Spike and the babies in Chicago next month. Hoping that the hammy is good by then as we are more than likely going to find a race. And of course, Spike and I will eat a bunch of food while the Redhead watches in bemused disgust. In addition to Chicago, the S.O. and I have a BIG trip planned in August. We are heading to Germany!
Reading. I’ve recently come to know of this magical place where you can go and borrow books for free! It’s called the library. And yes, I realize I am late to the game on this I just never got my act together to go get a card. I finally did and now I’m a library going machine! I just finished The Woman in Cabin 10 (meh) and picked up The Nightingale. I still need to finish In the Kingdom of Ice, but I have a feeling it’s going to pick up very quickly. I want to add some triathlon/training books to my list. I’ll take any recommendations on those.
Podcasts. I’m still listening to Up & Vanished. I am really happy that Invisibilia is back! And I’m looking forward to another season of Someone Knows Something. I mostly listen to true crime, but I enjoy others here and there. S-Town was really good but I’m torn on it.
And that’s it for now! Hopefully I can get a write up on that 100 mile race I crewed for and maybe even a report for St Anthony’s or my 10 Mile Xterra race.
Oh! One more thing, I have a race discount you can use for Best Damn Race – any location! Use the code UNICORN to get $5 off. www.bestdamnrace.com. As a bonus, I will be there! Ha!