Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day really isn’t a special holiday in our home. My sweet husband does always brings me flowers, and usually we’ve gotten a gift card or two so we can get takeout with the kids. In that routine, this year was no different. However, Friday was a pretty cool day.

Friday morning was marked down in the books as an awesome day, and not because it was Valentine’s Day. Training for Ironman 70.3 St. George has taken its toll on my body. Figuring out how to train properly, and actively recover are sometimes hard…especially when the race you’re training for has a TON of hills. Enough said. Ok, so why was Friday important? I swam my first straight Olympic distance race set in the pool…something I’ve never done before. It was great. Knowing that I can swim 1500m without stopping at a pretty decent pace was well worth it, and it gave me the confidence boost I needed going into St. George in a few weeks. It was definitely a special day. I think I’m learning to love swimming the more I do it.

Even though I was on a high from swimming my longest set in the pool, I still had to remember a little something about love (after all, it was Valentines Day). The greatest love we will ever know comes from God, and Him alone. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). How amazing that God gave His only Son for us? To die on a cross for our sins? Now, that my friends, is love. If it wasn’t for the grace and love of God in my life, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish all these great things. To Him belongs the glory and praise in everything that we do….even in triathlon…and even on Valentine’s Day.

XTERRA Mission Gorge Trail Race Report

This race was my first 5k I’ve done in months. And, I mean months. I’ve been so consumed with long distance swimming, biking, and running I thought I might opt for a fun, fast race…on trails nonetheless. My first trail race, and it was AWESOME.

Packet Pickup

This race had a 15k and 5k option. I’ve heard the 15k is brutal with a lot of hills. So, I opted for the 5k. The packet pickup was on the morning of the race, opening about two hours before the 15k departed at 8:00am. I got there early so I could park in the small dirt lot right next to the starting line. It was freezing, well, freezing for CA weather that morning but I walked right over to the volunteer table and got my race bib, timing chip, and t-shirt. All went smooth, and the t-shirts were pretty cool as well.

The Race

While waiting for the 5k to begin (8:30am start time) I sat in my car for a little while before getting out to warm up. It was freezing at the start and I even wore my running sweatshirt the entire race…another first for me. Anyway, it was a beautiful morning. I was thankful to be up to witness the sunrise.

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So, the 5k kicked off with some music and very enthusiastic trail runner people (among who I stuck out like a sore thumb in my brightly colored Oiselle gear and road shoes). About a quarter mile into the 5k, there was one huge hill. If you looked up, it seemed to reach into the sky. It was a little brutal. After it was over, it was mostly flat, some rollers as us roadies would call the terrain. But, since it was a trail race, there were a ton of rocks. Rocks are not my friend. I am extremely clumsy, but somehow managed not to trip a single time. It was an easy run, technical at times, but the scenery made it well worth it. I now understand why so many people love trail running. Maybe if I ever find a buddy to run with, I’ll do it more often.

The finish line was small, but there were people cheering everywhere!

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Post Race

I’ve always heard that trail races offer better food choices than road races. And, boy, are they right!!!! I have never had so many options to choose from. I got a free frisbee that I used as a plate and crammed some bananas, muffins, Kashi cereal, and a powerbar on. It was amazing. They even had free Naked juice! and I heard there were breakfast burritos but I didn’t get one. And, oh yeah, they had ice cream too. Sweet!!!!

So, the post race food didn’t disappoint, and the 5k people even got an XTERRA Trail Series Medal that said “Mission Gorge” on the back. After gathering all my goodies, I went right to my car and got out without any congestion or traffic. Best logistics ever. Thanks XTERRA!

If YOU want to race this SoCal Trail Series check them out at trailrace.com

Finding Time to Tri

Triathlon is hard. Finding time to train for triathlon is even harder.

Most people, like myself, are married and have kids and/or a full time job. Finding time to train for THREE different sports is a task in and of itself. However, when you add all the other things to the mix, it becomes even harder. We live some, oh, more than 2,000 miles from any family whatsoever; and, I will not leave my kids with a stranger so I can go workout. If my husband is gone for a business trip, then I make it work at home. What does this mean?

This means that we all need to stop making excuses. Buy an indoor bike trainer and set the kids up with a movie while you go on a one-three hour training session in the house. If you can’t afford a personal treadmill, buy a jogging stroller and take the kids with you. Of course, if the kids are older then you can just make them run with you (even if it’s a slower pace than you’re used to you’re teaching them about taking care of their bodies–a body that has been entrusted to them to take care of!). I know the swimming thing is a little harder to get around, but most communities have a pool. If that’s not an option, then swim another day…it won’t kill you to miss a day or two here and there.

What I’m ranting about here is to stop making excuses. I’m actually writing this for me at the current moment; I’ve been making excuses like nobody’s business here the past few days. And, what will I get out of excuses? Nothing. So today I’m going to ride my bike trainer indoors, and listen to my kids goofing off in the background. It may not always be the ideal situation, but it works. That’s what balancing life looks like…and it is still just as rewarding in the end.

Carlsbad Half-Marathon Race Recap

The Expo

The Health and Wellness Expo for the Carlsbad marathon was held two days–Friday and Saturday. We chose to go on Saturday and I have to admit it was a bit crowded for only getting there two hours after it opened that day. It was held in a large, big-top white tent in a mall parking lot (not sure if that was also why it was crowded in that area). We walked right in to get our bibs first thing, then around the corner into the heart of the expo. The t-shirts that come with race registration were not immediately next to the bibs; they were on the other side of the tent. So, having to weave through the sea of people felt like it took forever. However, we went back to the entrance and got some official Carlsbad marathon clothing and the checkout was super fast. That was nice. All in all, not too bad, but I’ve seen better organized race expos.

It helped that evening to have a pretty sunset:

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The Race

The full marathoners started early! The half marathon started late (well, according to my previous experiences with other races) at 7:45am. The race began where the expo was (at the mall) and the half marathon ran along the coast. It was a beautiful race because we could see the Pacific Ocean the entire time. I think I might have been a bit distracted with the waves crashing on the beach down below the cliffs. There was a lot of course support, aid stations were every mile! That was really nice. The aid stations were also clad with screaming people and motivational signs. This was the best part of this race…I have never seen this much spectator support before. Carlsbad definitely does spectating right.

I even saw some funny signs along the course. I think my favorite was a cute little dog who had a sign around his neck that said, “You forgot me!” I think it meant the runners forgot to take him along on the run. He was really cute. Only one pet peeve about this race was that the website said it was a flat course. Now, I’ve ran flat courses, and this definitely was not a flat course. It was rollers the entire way. The rollers weren’t bad since I’ve been hill training for Ironman, but it was a little disconcerting when I found out about the rollers minutes before the race started. Oh well. I am happy that it was such a beautiful course, and I got a PR by over 8.5 minutes!

I would definitely do this again, and would recommend it to any one who wants to come race in beautiful weather in January.

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Quick Tidbit

This weekend I’ll be running a half marathon as a test race to see if my time has improved at all.

With Ironman 70.3 coming up, I need a few more half marathons in order to accurately predict my finish time at St. George in a little less than four months. Crazy to think it is that close!

I’ll be back next week with a race recap for the Carlsbad marathon! Good luck to all those racing this coming weekend.

Excuses, excuses.

Before every run is a race between your mind and an excuse.

I once read this somewhere, and it seemed so relevant today. Why? I’m sick.

I woke up this morning as I have the past few mornings with a cold, stuffy nose, puffy eyes, the whole enchilada. I was going to go on a semi-long training run gearing up for a race I have in a few short weeks. However, I made my excuse. I am sick.

Sick or not, I have the opportunity to run. I shouldn’t let something like this get in the way. I mean, it’s not like I’m throwing up or anything. TMI. Sorry.

Then, I look at the piles upon piles of articles I need to read for my PhD work. How am I going to get through all of this? Simple. Running gives you energy. (Insert corny Legally Blonde quote here about endorphins)

Let’s all just stop making excuses for 2014. Get out there. Run. Walk. Jog. Something is always better than nothing. So, I’m going to get off this blog and do something that I need to do. RUN. See ya!

Goodbye 2013

After spending countless hours perusing blogs about New Years resolutions, and race recaps, I find myself thinking about where I fit in the midst of it all. New Years resolutions fade with time, things get hectic, life happens. But, it’s the hope that lingers and leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment amidst the trials that come with life.

Even if we don’t make all of our goals for 2014, the main thing is that they should be driven by hope. Every day we should wake up and want to make ourselves better, and maybe even do something selfless for someone else. Maybe it’s buying someone a coffee, or offering to help a friend get started running. Whatever it is, it should be filled with hope. A resolution driven by hope.

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is the tree of life.” We can apply this to our running, or tri-ing, because when we hope in something greater, when we put our best foot forward, that sense of accomplishment can’t be beat. Now, ultimately, as a Christian athlete my hope is in the Lord. And, I can hope and trust in Him that He will use me to accomplish great things, and push through the pain because after all, He suffered and paid the ultimate price for all of us. Nothing that I complain about can even compare to His suffering on the cross. So, let us hope. Let us hope that in everything we do, we do it with excellence and a strong heart.

Happy 2014!