Croom Zoom 25K Trail Race Report – 2018

Croom Zoom 25K Trail Race Report – 2018

It’s the second week of January and I’m on track with my goal of one post per week. Ha! Let’s see if I can make this last.

Last Saturday I ran my second 25K ever. In. Da. Woods. I ran this race last year but I ran with a friend who was coming off of a surgery, so we took our time and sort of dicked around. This year I had a goal to run it harder and earn myself a top finisher award. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had a bunch of friends and Tribal Multisport teammates race the various distances offered as well.

Croom is a park located with the Withlacoochee (yes, coochee) State Forest. It’s about an hour north of where I live and even though I’ve run there a few times, I always end up a tad lost and alone and it’s dark and scary. Fortunately for me, my good friends Brian and Caitlin offered to carpool. I gave them a dollar for the toll road and they bought me post race snacks. Not sure how I ended up on this side of the deal but now that I am writing it out I should probably send them flowers or something. Hee hee….

Post race with Caitlin and Brian. We call ourselves Team BBC.

Anyway, last Saturday was a cold one for us Floridians. I mean, I think it was cold everywhere last Saturday and it got us too. The feels like temps at Croom were about 27 degrees when we started and I don’t think they warmed up that much by the time we finished. I decided to run in tights, a tank, a long sleeved shirt, gloves, and a head/earband thingamajig. I figured I’d take something off at some point during the race. Spoiler: I did not.

My strategy for the start of the race that keeps you on the road for about a mile, was to use the cold weather for a little free speed before I hit the trails. My first mile was an 8:30 and I felt really good. I slowed it down once we hit the sandy section and tried to pick it up again when we reached more hard packed dirt. At some point Brian was with me, then passed me, and I knew Caitlin would pass me at some point too. I ran along alone for a while. I stopped quickly for water at the first aid station and then kept chugging along.

I fell in line during a single track portion with a man named John and a woman who was right behind him. They seemed like actual trail runners so I was happy to keep their pace and tried to hang on as I was running so much better than I had at this trail in the past. (I did a night race here before too and it kicked my butt.) I felt a lot stronger than I have in a while and started to look at my pace and work on a goal to stay within. As the terrain got hillier and root-ier my pace slowed but I fought through.

The thing about trail running that is so so so great is that you are so focused on not busting your face (at least I am) that the miles, while slower paced, go by so much faster! Before I knew it, nine miles had gone by. My IT bands and hips were not happy at this point as I haven’t been doing a lot of hill work but I pulled a Jens and said “Shut up legs.”

By the next aid station, around mile ten, Caitlin caught up to me and Brian was there as he had waited for Caitlin. We said our hellos and Brian stopped to pace with a friend running the 50K, while Caitlin took off like a rocket. I kept to my pace and decided I would finish this thing under 10:00 minute miles if I had to sprint up a hill. Ok, so I didn’t quite sprint up the last big climb but I did try to keep the pace up. The closer I got to the finish the more excited I got about how well I was running. The cold weather helped, of course, but I also think I have gotten a little better at running in da woods.

I finished right under 10:00 minute miles and was able to snag a top finisher award. I came in 13th out of 45 women finishers. I’m pretty pleased with that. What I am not please with is how badly I beat up my toes! The third piggy on both feet was so angry after that race. I think those toenails may go bye bye. I’m not quite sure what I did there, but I did wear trail shoes that I’ve worn a few times before. I’m guessing elevation and scrunching those toes for stability really pissed them off. Poor little piggies.

Tribal buddies: Michael, Michael, Me, and Erin (It was her birthday!)

After the race we celebrated with more friends and shared Erin’s birthday cupcakes. They were delicious! Everyone had great races and headed home to thaw out.

I still love me some running in da woods and hope to do more trail races this year. I don’t think I’ll ever do an ultra, but never say never…

10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2018 (and What I Accomplished in 2017)

10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2018 (and What I Accomplished in 2017)

Happy New Year! I love the start of a new anything, new job, new month, new training cycle, etc. The possibilities are endless for what you can achieve and it’s always fun to make plans. Of course, sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but that’s how we learn to adapt and grow. Before I get into the list, here’s a look back on what I accomplished in 2017.

Swim – 181,137 yards (102.9 miles)
Bike – 1686.6 (This excludes trainer sessions as I never put in those miles. I may start doing that for 2018 though!)
Run – 1025 miles
Strength – I went fairly consistently this year at least once a week (I did miss some here and there but this was much better than 2016!)

In looking back at 2016, I swam 26 more miles, I cycled 1,192 more miles, and I ran 287 less miles. So as you can see, 2017 was a return to triathlon. And it was a great return!

Here’s what I raced:
Two trail races (25K and Xterra 10K)
One marathon
Two 5Ks
Three sprint tris
One swim meet
One aquathlon
One 70.3
One half marathon
One timed mile

For a year I felt that focused on triathlon I still managed to get a lot of fun running races in. For 2018 I’m looking forward to more running while keeping as much of my triathlon fitness as I can. It may be tough with the Chicago Marathon looming but I’m going to do some olympics and sprints before October.

Now on to my list!

10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2018

1. First and foremost – St Anthony’s Olympic distance triathlon. That’s right people. I’m going to tackle the olympic distance again. It’s been too long and I love St Anthony’s. Plus, one of my remote coached athletes is flying in for it and I can’t wait to see her! This distance is not my favorite but I’m ready to tackle it again.

2. Chicago Marathon – obviously!

3. More reading! I only read 13 books in 2017. Womp womp. So in 2018 I’m going to beat that. I am currently re-reading A Wrinkle in Time. And if you want to be book nerd friends, I’m on Good Reads so please be my friend and offer suggestions.

4. Career growth. I’m really loving my job and looking at the growth in more of a learning capacity as I swear I learn 10 new things a day. I love learning about social media and marketing and I cannot wait to see the changes in the industry for 2018.

5. TRAVEL! I’m heading to Cincinnati in May for the Flying Pig half marathon and if all goes according to plan the S.O. and I will be heading to South Africa in the fall as he is racing the 70.3 World Championships!

6. Movies I can’t wait for: Ready Player One, Fantastic Beasts, A Wrinkle in Time, Mary Queen of Scots, and Black Panther.

7. The Winter Olympics. Ok, fine I have never skied nor am I capable of staying upright on ice skates (hello, Floridian) but I love any Olympics. I’m looking forward to some underdog stories and you can bet your ass I’ll be cheering for the Jamaican women’s bobsled team. “Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time!”

8. TV I can’t wait for: Jessica Jones, The Handmaid’s Tale, Veep, and Westworld.

9. Family and friend time, of course. With my nephews now living so close it’s great to see them grow and be a part of their activities. I just wish I had more hours in the day!

10. More blogging! I promise to do my best to get a post up at least once a week. Seems I’m off to a good start. Ha!

My 10th Marathon & Housekeeping

My 10th Marathon & Housekeeping

I know that is a super exciting headline and all, but what can I say? My creative cup runneth over. And as that headline suggests I’ve decided on my 10th marathon…or rather my 10th marathon has decided on me! On a quasi-whim a while back I entered into the Chicago Marathon lottery and for some reason, I had a feeling that I would in fact get in. I suspect it’s because I wasn’t really concerned about it. That’s how it works right? That’s not to say I’m not excited, because I so am, but I tend to “get” things when I’m not dyyyyying for them. Hashtag thanks universe.

So of course thus begins the “what is my goal” thinking. I definitely want to try for sub 4. I had a great time at Myrtle Beach Marathon and ran a 4:06. I don’t think my training was all that great, but I am not complaining about a 4:06. However, of course I’d like to run faster and get back under 4 hours. I’ve done that once. And you know what? I think I can do it again. I just need to really focus my efforts on it and not get derailed by travel and life. Easier said than done.

Now on to that housekeeping…

In 2017 I was extremely honored to have been chosen as an ambassador for Smashfest Queen. And I loved being on the Smash team. I think they truly make some of the best looking kits out there. I met a lot of wonderful women and am proud to have represented Smashfest Queen for 2017. Heading into 2018 though, I decided not to reapply to be on the team. My reason is that as a coach for Tribal Multisport, which I became after I joined the Smashfest team, I want to wear all the Tribal gear I can and support my own group that way.

I’ll always have a soft spot for those gorgeous Smash kits, but I wanna rep my Tribe and this is the best way for me to do it. Be prepared to see #TribePride on my social posts even more in 2018.

And speaking of ambassador programs, I have decided to stay on board with 73 Threads. The reason for this is that we made some awesome Tribal Multisport shirts with them and their t-shirts are just fun, plus I’m not required to wear them at events. But I do love to wear them to work and on other days! You can still use my code DISCOMBOBULATED for 10% off.

Of course, in addition to 73 Threads, I’m also still a Best Damn Race ambassador and you can use code UNICORN for $5 off any location and any distance.

That’s it for me. Have a great week!

That Time I Won a 5K or Reindeer Run 5K Race Report

That Time I Won a 5K or Reindeer Run 5K Race Report

*Spoiler Alert*

I won a 5K!

Yes, you read that right. And yes this is the right blog. You haven’t stumbled upon one of the super, duper speedy ladies. It’s just me, Beth.

Let’s back story this bitch, shall we?

On Thanksgiving I really wanted to run my local Turkey Trot. But, being the human barometer that I am, the weather turned, and I had a headache that began at 12 PM midnight and lasted the whole morning and into Thanksgiving day. I felt terrible when my alarm went off to get up for the Turkey Trot so I skipped it. I don’t like a DNS but I felt like crud and knew it was the type of headache that wasn’t going to go away out without a fight. I felt ready to race otherwise and was really looking forward to it. But alas, I took another cocktail of ibuprofen and coffee and hot showers and got back into bed.

Fast forward to two weeks later, Tuesday, December 5th. I asked Coach Jon if he thought I should race a 5K that weekend. He said go for it, but find the best course. Fortunately for me there seemed to be several good options. I finally narrowed it down to two races being held that Saturday. I honestly went back and forth on them numerous times. It was a little nutty because it was just a local 5K. But, I wanted to find the best donuts conditions.

I finally settled on the Reindeer Run in Palm Harbor, FL, as they were nearest to one of the most delicious donut vegetable shops near me. I promptly registered and wouldn’t you know it? That same donut vegetable place was going to be at the race. SCORE!

Saturday, December 2, 2017, is a day that will go down in infamy.

I woke up and headed to the race start. I saw several friends and milled about with the other runners. I looked for the local “fasties” and my own age group competition (don’t act like you don’t do this too) and I didn’t see any of the usual suspect. Huh. “Well, I’m sure some random speedsters will show up,” I thought to myself. I walked over to say hello to the man who was doing the timing as I know him from some other local races and he asked what my goal time was. I told him, “I don’t know, 23 to 24?” Of course, this was a lie as I knew damn well I was going for 22 to 23, but I didn’t want to shit the bed and feel stupid telling him those times. Yes, I have problems. He responded with, “I think you’re going to be leading the women’s field.”

No no no no no no no no no no no no no, was what I thought. I don’t want that pressure and don’t be crazy are also thoughts that came up.

I shook off what he said, which included something along the lines of “this is more of a fun run for most of our runners” or something AKA it’s not a competitive field, and headed to the start line. I just assumed that one real fast chick would pop up at the start and I could go back to just worrying about my time and not dying. This being in the front thing is a real mind frick. Ha!

As I lined up at the start I situated myself behind the man I knew would win, a friend named Jeremy, and several other men, women, and the children. Yes, those children who we all know and love at the start of races. You know the ones. The ones who dart out like maniacs and then are walking a quarter mile in, save one or two actual genetic freakshows who run 20 minute 5K’s at age nine. I’m looking at you, Keara and Mason.

Anyway, the horn sounded promptly at 8 AM and we were off.

I noted Jeremy shoot off and soon become completely invisible to me until the turn around. I also noted there were a few women with me for about a half mile and then they dropped behind. I had set my watch up to auto lap on quarter miles and knew I needed to be between 1:49, on the fast end, and 1:54 on the slow end. I didn’t want to run any slower than 1:54 per quarter and wanted to start at about 1:50 and end at 1:48. I instead started at 1:48 and hit two 1:59’s in the last mile. Oops. Pacing is an art, right? Er….

Anyway, I ran along and tried to look at my splits each quarter. I played count down the quarters and worried that there was a woman right behind who I would have to sprint with at the end. This actually helped me the first half of the race as I started to suspect I was in fact in front of all of the women. What. The. Crap.

Fortunately, this run was an out and back so as I made the turn around half way through I could see all the runners coming back toward me. I was specifically looking for the next woman as I really was not looking forward to a head-to-head sprint finish, I was starting to get a side stitch. I saw the second place woman about a quarter behind me. I figured so long as I didn’t completely die I would be ok. And I told myself that I certainly did not want to give up an opportunity to win a 5K (the women’s field, of course) so there’d be no slowing down. Ahem.

Obviously, there was slowing down.

I continued to push the pace and mile two was pretty good. My quarters were 1:52, 1:52, 1:53, and 1:52. And then I began to drive the struggle bus on the third mile. I saw a few friends on the way back in and they yelled, “You’re in first!” This was so stinkin’ cool! Even a few runners I didn’t know let me know I was the first female by cheering. If you are a runner who does this to people at races, god bless you. It’s very awesome! I will more than likely never experience this again but damn I loved it.

Mile three was 1:56, 1:59, 1:59, 1:55. Then I pulled out a 6:52 pace for that final push and crossed the finish line. I won a 5K!

I am 100% aware that this was not a super competitive field as most of our local 5K’s have women who win in the teens. However, I will take the win and my current 5K PR time of 23:13! I’m coming for you sub 23!

Congrats to my friend Jeremy on his overall, overall win!

And I had a most delicious donut vegetable post race. I earned it!

Thanks for reading. Have a great rest of your week.

More About Coaching.

More About Coaching.

I feel as though I haven’t written a lot about coaching on this space, which is odd, because I’ve been officially coaching athletes for almost two full years now. I believe I have been swim coaching for longer, but I can’t quite remember which happened first. In any event, I know everything there is to know now, byeee.

Just kidding.

I still feel like a rookie coach in some ways (so. much. data.) but in other ways I feel like I’ve been doing this my whole life (yes, you can ugly cry to me about your race). I’ve grown as a coach and I’m really thankful to have met so many awesome coaches along my journey. From my first days using a coach with Coach EK, to my first tri coach, Coach Navy Steve, and then on to my Tribal coaches Mason, Jon, and Nick. And of course I’d be remiss not to mention my buddies at RunVie and my swim coaches. I’ve learned a few things from all of them and a lot of things from a few of them. (Wasn’t that so Bilbo Baggins?)

The thing about coaching that I’ve seen the most is that while everyone wants someone to help hold them accountable, sometimes all an athlete really needs is an ear and/or a kick in the butt. I feel that with my struggles on the mental side of racing I’m in a good position to help those who struggle there as well. What’s that you say? You got problems? Oh honey, come sit next to me. I’ll tell you a few tales… Ha!

Speaking of which, I did get the opportunity to meet authors of The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occassion and boy were they impressive. In fact, at one point while reading the book I thought, are these people in my head!? I want to do a full recap on this book with my takeaways as soon as I finish it. With the holiday whirlwind I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I promise I will write one. in the meantime, go get the book. And then we can have a coffee talk. You know, me, you, coffee, no big whoop. (SNL reference, anyone?)

My journey as an athlete still continues but I feel that coaching has helped in that regard too. I know I can’t give up out there when I’m on the other side telling my people not to give up. But I do try to keep it real with everyone, as you may well know from reading this. I’m also only human and I think one of the things my athletes like about me is that I’m not perfect. I mean, at least I think they like that. Ha!

I need more hours in the day to read more and research more on the aspects of coaching I love…and the aspects I could use some work in. If you have any book recommendations, I’m all ears! And if you have any questions about coaching, don’t hesitate to reach out. I know there are a lot of folks entering the coaching game and I welcome them. There shouldn’t be a limit on how many folks out there wanting to help others! (The ones who go in it for the wrong reasons won’t last anyway.)

I hope you all had awesome Thanksgivings! Back to the grind tomorrow so get some sleep. Coach’s orders.

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