Guest Post: Sunfish Triathlon

Hi friends! Sam here. I’ve got a special post to share today. Daniel wrote a recap of his race last weekend. He is such a good blogger hubby. His race went so well and his recap is awesome! As per usual, my comments are in pink, he is in navy and any pictures that have been included are courtesy of yours truly. Enjoy!  

I claim this as my first real triathlon, although it is technically my second. Right after college I borrowed a bike from my dad, which was way too big for me, and did a beginner triathlon called Alabama Coastal Tri-it on Triathlon. That race was a 300 yard swim, a 9 mile bike and a 2 mile run, so it was very short and not even long enough to be classified as a sprint (therefore I don’t think it really counts).

Side note: When Daniel and I first met, he had just completed that first race. I know this because he had some pictures from the race (remember when we had actual photos that you could put your hands on … I’m giving myself anxiety just thinking about all of those fingerprints … but really the point is just that it was hard-copy, old school photographs). He brought the photos over one day and asked me to scan them for him. I was happy to do that, BUT there were pictures of him with another girl in there! This was before we were dating and I remember thinking … of course … he has a girlfriend. Boo.

1936855_511227126216_2729518_n

It turned out that he wasn’t dating this girl and he and I were engaged about 2 months later (LOL … but really … true story)!

Fast forward 8 years and (due to some hip/labral issues) I have decided to give it another tri/try (see what I did there). I signed up for Augusta Half-Ironman in September of this year. I purchased a bike (that actually fits me) and started riding and trying to become at least an average biker. After about 2-3 months of riding (usually 3 times per week) and swimming a total of 3 times, my friend suggested I do Sunfish as a tune up race and to get used to the transitions and overall feel of the triathlon. Sunfish was a fairly inexpensive race and it was close enough to home that we could make a short trip out of it, so I figured why not?

071

I booked an inexpensive (read: CHEAP) motel for Friday night near the race. The main reason for staying at this place besides the cheap rate was that it was pet friendly and we decided that we wanted to take Brooks with us. After my check in took over 20 minutes and the front desk informed me they gave away my non-smoking room that I reserved (why is that such a difficult concept) a week prior. At that point, I knew we were in for an experience. We drove around to the back side of the dimly lit parking lot to find several ominous characters sitting in lawn chairs outside of their rooms. The occupants that weren’t outside all peeked out of their doors or windows to size up the new arrival.

Sam, Brooks, and I all unpacked our stuff and tried to settle into the room for some rest. Brooks would not sit anywhere on the floor (I like to think because it was so smelly and dirty, but maybe not, who knows). I think this room was used as a smokers’ lounge before we got there because it smelled terrible and was very dirty. There were lots of loiterers outside of our room and I was worried all night whether I should pack us up and go somewhere else, but Sam was being a good sport about it so I tried to convince myself that it was probably alright for one night. Sam and I shared a pizza and laid down a little after 10 p.m.

We were up in the 4 o’clock hour and were packed up and ready to go by 5 a.m. the next morning. We got to Bonita Lakes Park (which was really pretty) and started setting up my transition area.

048

Being a newb, I brought all of my transition things in a 5 gallon bucket. I thought this would stand out in a crowd and be easier to find once I got out of the water.

045

After getting marked and getting all of my transition things set up like I wanted, we talked with some friends before it was time for me to line up. Each person started individually based on when you registered so I was 178 out of 200 (ish) racers. The race was a sprint triathlon and was a 1/3 mile swim, a 16 mile bike, and a 5k run.

I scribbled some goals for each part of the race based on some of my training beforehand. I planned on 10:40-12:00 for the swim, 53:00 for the bike (18-19 mph) and 19:30 for the run (with 45 seconds per transition).

image1

I ended up starting the swim closer to the 150s because the line got a little out-of-order. This was my first time swimming in a tri suit and a swim cap, but I felt really strong. I knew I wanted to make sighting a point of focus and try to swim as straight as possible. I knew this was a weak area and I didn’t want to swim any extra. After I picked my swim line I was a straight arrow to the first buoy. I had already passed several people and was feeling pretty good about things. I made the turn with the buoy actually touching my right shoulder. After going straight to the next one, I made another right and turned for home. Another guy who I had recently passed pulled back up beside me and we pushed each other into the first transition. My swim time was 9:45.

054

After a few slips trying to hurriedly get my socks on, I was ready to mount the bike and get rolling. T1 was 1:03.

The bike course was an 8 mile out and back route that was much hillier than I expected (i.e., between 750-800 ft of climb in 16 miles). I looked at my speedometer as I approached the first hill to see what kind of pace I was hitting and was surprised to see 22 mph! I felt really good and really dug in on the hills. The first hill was close to a mile long and I think I passed 40 ish other riders. I knew I didn’t want to overdo it on the ride but I just felt so good that it was hard to pull back. Drafting is not allowed in this race, but I ended up leap frogging with 2 other guys and we zipped by huge strings of riders. At the turn around I had been passed by 2 riders. I felt like if I could just keep them close, then I could catch them once we got to the run. One of the guys got a flat shortly after passing me so I got back ahead of him and I kept the other guy right in my sight the rest of the ride back. My bike time was 47:40 (20.8 mph).

In what seemed like no time I was back to the transition and heading out for the run. I had some trouble re-racking my bike which cost me a few seconds but this one was smoother than the first. T2 was 48 seconds.

063

I felt like I had overdone it on the bike because my legs were HEAVY when I started running. I tried to just keep pushing. This was my first time racing a true time trial and I found it difficult to keep the pace I wanted. It’s also hard to find that next gear when you don’t have any clue where you actually stand against the other participants (people had started at all different times and the bib numbers didn’t necessarily correlate with when they started at this point in the race). My mile splits were 6:25, 6:39, 6:46, and 40 seconds for the last tenth. My run time was 20:35.

066

I ended up being really happy with the swim and bike and really the overall time too. My goal was 1:26 and I did 1:19:49 for 19th overall. This was a great race and I’m really looking forward to Augusta even more now. I will definitely be back to this race as well.

072

P.S. I’m really impressed if you read this far. Let me know some of your beginner/newbie race experiences.

He’s impressed if you are still reading, but I’m going to make it a little longer and share a funny story from the finish line (I should write a race recap about spectating and triathlon with a 110+ pound puppy who loves water … it was interesting to say the least). During the race Brooks made friends with another dog, Red, who was a beagle/mastiff mix (he was precious!). What we didn’t know until later was that Red was helping his daddy propose to his soon-to-be mommy at the finish line.

070

She said yes and it was pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen (except for maybe that first picture that I included of Daniel circa 2009 :))! Love it.

Okay, folks … tell Daniel what a rockstar he is!

Week #5: SOS + Ironman 70.3 Augusta

Hi!

If you are reading this post then I guess it’s safe to say that we survived Tropical Storm Cindy, but man … what a mess. We’ve had so. much. rain. It was ridiculous. I spent more time under an umbrella (ella, ella, eh, eh, eh) this week than I have in YEARS!

006

As usual, I’m in pink and Daniel is in navy.

Monday: 5 miles (8:22 pace)
Monday: 5 miles (8:22 pace)

Starting the week off with a loop has become a fairly standard thing these days. Usually the weekends are pretty run-filled and so it is always nice to have an easy run on Monday to ease back into the next week of workouts.

Tuesday: 7 miles (8:30 pace)
Tuesday: Rest Day

It was back to the whole “we were supposed to do track on Tuesday but got rained out” thing again this week. I begrudgingly got up and did a few miles on the treadmill just in case the RW group run got rained out that evening (which it did). Daniel usually bikes on Tuesday evening, but TS Cindy put a damper on things this week and he took an impromptu rest day.

This is what the radar looked like for 95% of the week …

018 Crop

Wednesday: 2 mi. WU, 16 X 200 (39, 42, 40, 40, 39, 39, 39, 40, 39, 40, 39, 38, 39, 40, 40, 39), 2 mi. CD
Wednesday: 1 mi. WU, 1200 (4:25), 800 (2:47), 400 (1:17), 400 (1:19), 800 (2:48), 1200 (4:20), 1 mi. CD

We were determined to get our track workout in Wednesday morning regardless of what the weather was doing. Thankfully, we had a tiny break from the heavy rain around 5 a.m. and Daniel and I were able to sneak over to the track and get most of our workout in before the bottom dropped out again. I did 200s and he did a ladder workout.

I felt like I was in uncharted territory with the paces for 200s. My workout was supposed to start at 41 – 42 seconds and drop down to the 38 – 39 range at the end. Turns out, I have a really hard time distinguishing between what a 41 – 42 second 200 should feel like vs. a 38 – 39 second 200. It all just felt like “run as fast as you possibly can pace.” I haven’t done a lot of speedwork at less than 5K pace, so this was quite a shock to the system! My paces were fairly consistent, but I was gassed after 16 repeats (I was supposed to do 20).

Daniel’s workout went really well! His goal paces per lap were 88 seconds for the 1200s (close to 5K pace), 84 seconds for the 800s and 80 seconds for the 400s. He pretty much nailed it. He was very pleased with his workout and I am giving us each an extra 10 hard-core points for getting out there and getting this done on a soggy track in the middle of a tropical storm.

Thursday: 8 miles (8:13 pace)
Thursday: 5 miles (8:19 pace)

It was back to easy running Thursday morning to recover from #workoutWednesday.

Friday: 2 mi. WU, 4 mile tempo (6:27 pace), 2 mi. CD
Friday: 5 miles (8:20 pace)

I had a tempo run on tap Friday morning. I took this one to the treadmill, which was a nice change of pace. It’s been a while since I have done a tempo workout on the treadmill (I’ve gotten much better about doing my workouts outside these days). If you are going to do a workout on the TM, a tempo is a good one to do (in my opinion). You are working hard, but not so hard that you feel like you might fly off of the machine.

Saturday: 12 miles (8:07 pace)
Saturday: 12 miles (8:04 pace)

Daniel and I got in a long (ish) run Saturday morning. We waited until about 8:30 a.m. to run, which is much later than usual. It rained on us a little bit for the first few miles and then the rain dried out and it got HOT.

Sunday: 10 miles (8:43 pace)
Sunday: Rest Day

We weren’t able to run until Sunday afternoon and Daniel decided to take a day off. I decided to brave the heat and ran at 1:30 p.m. (i.e., TOASTY). I had to take a few walk breaks (walk of shame … whatever you want to call it), but I got it done. It’s not always pretty, but as long as you consistently put in the work day in and day out, the results will come.

9f0f66f098cc6db0075f5960ff44fc1b.jpg

I hope y’all have a great week!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man.
Colossians 3:23

Week #4: SOS + Ironman 70.3 Augusta

Happy Monday!

8fac1dadc4fb8f5047da1e96b154c794

Our “summer of speed” and Daniel’s Ironman 70.3 Augusta training is plugging right on along. I’m fairly organized at this point in the week (like 5 minutes into things … haha), so we are going to go with a combined recap of our workouts from last week. I’m in pink and Daniel is in navy (so clever … I know :)).

Monday: 5 miles (8:27 pace)
Monday: 5 miles (8:25 pace)

We started the week off with an easy loop Monday morning (Daniel’s watch likes to beat my watch).

Tuesday: 2 mi. WU, 5 X 1200 (4:38, 4:36, 4:32, 4:33, 4:37), 2 mi. CD
Tuesday: 1 mi. WU, 16 X 200 (42, 42, 41, 40, 42, 41, 40, 41, 41, 42, 41, 42, 41, 42, 41, 34), 1 mi. CD

We were *finally* able to get a track workout in on Tuesday this week. Jill, Rebecca and I did some 1200s. I was a little surprised to see a 1200 meter repeat workout on the schedule. I haven’t done 1200s in a really long time (maybe 5 years or more ago). I think I would’ve been slightly dreading this workout had it not been for the mile and a half repeats that I did last week on the track. I did 6 laps around the track for the mile and a half repeats and a 1200 is *only* 3 laps. Granted it is 3 laps that are run at a decent clip faster than the mile and a half repeats … but still. I was trying to focus on the positive.

The 1200s were supposed to be run at close to 5K pace. My times were 4:38, 4:36, 4:32, 4:33, 4:37 (the paces ranged from just over 6:00 to close to 6:10). It was hot and humid during this workout (I know that’s pretty much a given at this point, but for some reason it still makes me feel better to go ahead and type it out) and I was really working to hold the pace during the last 1200. I was happy with the workout and definitely felt like effort-wise, I was right where I was supposed to be. I didn’t know it at the time, but those paces ended up being spot on with my 5K race pace on Saturday.

They guys went a classic race-week staple workout … 200 meter repeats. They did 16 X 200 and crushed it. They were really moving on that last one! Holy smokes.

Wednesday: 8 miles (8:27 pace)
Wednesday: 21 mile bike (20.2 mph)

Wednesday morning I ran some easy miles with Young Daniel and Cody while Daniel biked. Everyone’s legs were definitely feeling the workout from the day before.

Thursday AM: 8 miles (8:29 pace) + 4 miles (9:08 pace)
Thursday: BRICK! 40 minutes of biking on the trainer + 5 miles (8:17 pace)

It was souper humid (translates loosely to: feels like running through a bowl of soup) Thursday morning. Young Daniel and I did 3 miles while Daniel biked and then we met back at the house and all ran 5 miles together. Daniel had a work function to go to Thursday evening, so I decided to do a few treadmill miles while he was gone. Two of my favorite podcasters were on a show together! I geeked out over it.

Friday: 5 miles (8:23 pace)
Friday: Rest Day

I ran 5 miles with Young Daniel Friday morning. We saw a tortoise and a hare (or you know … a turtle and a rabbit) right beside each other during the last mile of the run. It was almost as if they were racing or something. That’s gotta be some sort of sign right?!

c3206954a5d17c99efcc31947991ae8e

Saturday: Hot Trot 5K (19:01)
Saturday: Hot Trok 5K (18:43)

We both did Hot Trot Saturday morning!

027

You can read all about my race in the recap above. Daniel’s splits were 6:02, 5:58, 6:00, 0:43 for a time of 18:43. It seems like the biking he has been doing has helped him aerobically. He’s running great!

Sunday: 13 miles (8:46 pace) + 5 miles (7:55 pace)
Sunday: BRICK! 50 mile bike (19.4 mph) + 5 mile run (7:52 pace)

Our group met for our weekly long run and coffee conversations Sunday morning this week, as pretty much everyone raced on Saturday. We survived a solid, soggy 13 miles. Daniel left the house super early and rode 50 miles on his bike and met us at Warehouse afterwards. His goal in his race is to average above 18.6 mph for the bike portion, so he definitely did that today. Boom! He wanted to do a brick workout and he somehow convinced me to join him for a 5 mile loop once we got home (hashtag bad decisions).

That’s it for now. I hope you all have a wonderful day and a great week ahead!

d42c74e5bb6c6c5d30fcc000f3b7a7a4

Daniel’s Ironman 70.3 Augusta Training Log (Week #2 (of Blog Documentation))

Hi friends! Happy Monday!

Here is Daniel’s Ironman 70.3 Augusta training weekly recap. He has been training since the beginning of May (i.e., that’s when he started biking), but we just started “officially” documenting it here last week. He had a solid running base when he started, so adding in a few rides each week has really been the only difference so far. He has done one triathlon before (a sprint tri) and this will be his first half Ironman.

Monday: 5 mile run (7:56 pace)

Tuesday: 5 mile run (8:05 pace)

Wednesday: 1 mi. WU, 8 X 400 w/ 200 float, 1 mi. CD

This is Daniel’s favorite track workout! However, we just discovered this week that he has neglected to properly count the distance to make the workout a 5K instead of just 3 miles. I won’t say that we had a heated discussion about this at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, but we definitely had a discussion (he also gave me permission to include this in the recap in case you were wondering :)). Haha.

He crushed me on the 200 splits (which I mentioned in my previous post). Here is the data from his workout:

400 splits were 1:28, 1:26, 1:26, 1:26, 1:27, 1:26, 1:26, 1:26
200 splits were 51, 53, 52, 49, 51, 50, 50, 45

The 400s are supposed to be run at close to 5K goal pace and the 200s are supposed to be run at about 1 minute over 5K goal pace. He finished with 18:00 for 3 miles. The workout is supposed to be a 5K, but we were still negotiating this by the time he finished up his run.

Thursday: 5 mile run (8:45 pace)

Thursday was supposed to be a brick day, but after Wednesday’s track workout, a few extra minutes of sleep won over getting up earlier than usual to bike.

Friday: Brick Workout! 19 mile bike (19.0 mph) + 3.5 mile run (7:35 pace)

Friday morning we had a cooler morning, which made for an enjoyable ride (per Daniel). He then met us at the track to get a few miles in with us as we finished up our workouts.

Saturday: 14 mile run (7:35 pace)

Saturday was the typical long run + breakfast combo. They kept the pace pretty consistent throughout the run and it got a little toasty towards the end.

Sunday: Brick Workout! 36 mile bike (19.9 mph) + 5 mile run (7:19 pace)

ySVLkOatjDAAeIH51BEaVgRMHXmtWsilq_dou1srSWI-1043x2048 Crop

Daniel met with a new group Sunday morning to ride (photo cred: Mary Trufant). He enjoyed the company! The group did close to 50 miles total. Daniel did 36 miles with them and got a run in afterwards to finish out the week with a strong brick workout.

His race is September 24th! So only 9,158,400 seconds, 152,640 minutes, 2544 hours, 106 days, 15 weeks or 3.5 months away!

 

Full Steam(boat) Ahead!

Howdy folks! Long time no see!

We just got back from a wonderful trip to Colorado! I am going to share the painstaking details of our trip in this post for any of you who are interested (so … Mom, Dad, Nana … this one’s for you :)). I wrote the shell of this post while we were gone so that I could remember everything we did and filled in the details once we got back. We stayed pretty busy!

I will have a race recap up in a separate post (soon hopefully … in between laundry, unpacking and more laundry), so for any of you who don’t care about the details of my life and just want to read about running … hold tight for a little bit longer.

Edited to add: I’m not sure why, but my recap is showing up as an earlier post, even though I posted it after this one.

As a general overview: We took a 6 day trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I think it was one of my favorite vacations to date! It was just long enough that I feel like we settled in and got a good lay of the land, but not too long that we ran out of things to do or got bored. We LOVED Steamboat and I could totally see myself living there (well … at least for a few months of the year). The temperature pretty much stayed in the sixties and seventies for the majority of our trip, which was perfect and there was even still some snow on the ground.

It was an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and I definitely got my fill of the time in nature that I had been craving. I am typically a major homebody, but this trip definitely piqued some wanderlust that was stirring somewhere deep in my soul. Hopefully we will get the opportunity to wander around and explore more of the world (or at least the country) soon!

Day 1 (Travel Day): Our flight departed from New Orleans at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. We left around 1 p.m. to ensure that we had plenty of time to get to the airport, find parking, etc. and in typical Daniel Gardner fashion we arrived at the airport about 3 hours before our  plane. We drove through some nasty weather and apparently flew out just in time to miss the next squall line that blew through the NOLA area. We had to adjust our flight path to avoid the storms as well, so the flight ended up being about 3.5 hours (instead of 3). Our pilot told us that if we had been delayed 10 more minutes, we wouldn’t have been able to make it out because the weather got so bad.

We definitely put our Garmin Virb camera to good use this trip. You will see lots of “selfie stick” pics included in this post and just a ton of pictures in general. I made most of them into collages so that they wouldn’t completely overtake the post.

157

Not gonna lie, I was a tad skeptical of these $80 round trip flights that Daniel booked. I asked him a few times if he was sure that we had flights or if he had just paid for our baggage fee (side note: my bag didn’t exceed the 50 pound threshold for possibly the first time ever … major packing victory). We flew Frontier and as it turns out, yes, we actually had flights. On the front row! Seats 1A and 1B. We had a little turbulence and a couple of loud, chatty neighbors, overall the but flight was great! We got delayed on the tarmac once we arrived in Denver and all in all, we were about 2 hours later picking up our rental vehicle than we expected.

We drove off the lot in a Ford Expedition (we were supposed to have a “small” SUV) and first on the agenda was to get some food! Our options were very limited and we ended up getting dinner from a gas station right outside of Denver (side note: I DO NOT recommend eating an entire bag of dried fruit and a candy bar at 1 a.m. … learned that lesson the hard way). We then began the 3 hour drive to Steamboat Springs. We drove from midnight to 3 a.m. Even though it was dark, we were able to see some snow and get a little peek at a few of the mountain ranges. I even stayed awake for 90% of the drive. I took my contacts out at some point and *almost* lost a contact into the deep, dark crevices of the rental car. I didn’t bring a backup pair (note to future self: this would be smart) and so that would’ve been really bad. As Daniel was looking for a place to pull off the road so that we could search for it, I found it! In my eye! I think the delirium had started setting in.

We arrived at our hotel at 3:20 a.m. and immediately passed out.

Day 2: We lazed around the hotel for a little while Thursday morning, as we were both pretty exhausted from the long day of travel and also not feeling *stellar* (see above warning re: gas station dinner at 1 a.m.). We scoped out a few things that we wanted to do (we don’t really tend to make lots of plans beforehand when traveling … we like to just wing it). We made our way over to Stagecoach State Park (about 15 minutes outside of Steamboat) mid-morning and went for a run around Stagecoach Lake. It was absolutely beautiful!

163 164

This was our first run at altitude and we were anxious to see how that affected us. Given that we live at 100 ft. and we traveled to close to 8,000 ft., we really weren’t sure how our bodies were going to react. Neither of us had any headaches, nausea, shortness of breath or unusual fatigue the entire trip, so we were incredibly fortunate. I felt a whole lot better going into the 50K having gotten this first run under my belt.

After our running exploration around Stagecoach State Park, we decided to get groceries so that we could do a few meals in instead of eating out for every meal. We stayed at The Steamboat Grand and our room was the “apartment” option with a full kitchen, living space, etc. so that seemed like a smart decision. In hindsight, we didn’t eat many meals “in,” but we definitely ate most of the snacks that we bought.

Thursday evening we went into town and walked around. We didn’t realize it, but apparently we were there during their “mud season,” which is the time in between their busy winter season and the summer season. The name comes from dirt paths such as roads and hiking trails that become muddy from melting snow and rain. A lot of the shops and restaurants were closed, but that was totally fine with us. We were digging the “sleepy little town” vibe. We were also digging that we got almost an entire week’s stay for the price of what one night typically would cost!

Day 3: We started the day out with a breakfast adventure run! We scoped out a few good breakfast options when we were in town Thursday evening. We also scoped out a trail that ran right through downtown Steamboat along the Yampa river that we wanted to run. We decided to combine those activities and run to breakfast, eat and then walk back.

I love being anywhere by the water and was very content to be running next to the river. We stopped to check out a botanical garden on our way back. The flowers were beautiful!

159 162 161 160

Friday afternoon we made our way to Lone Tree Colorado. It was about a three hour drive, but the trip flew by because there was so much scenery to take in. We stopped in Breckinridge along the way for lunch. I wish I could say that we stopped at some really cool local place, but we went with Which Wich instead. We don’t have Which Wich in Alabama though, so it felt like we were getting something unique.

We were also super entertained by the changes in the fullness of my bag of chips as the elevation changed throughout our drive. The air pressure is greater at lower altitude than at higher altitude. When the bag is sealed at a certain altitude, the air is pushing out at the same rate it is being pushed on. When the bag is moved to a higher altitude, the air in the bag is pushing harder on the bag than the air around the bag (middle right picture below). Fascinating stuff …

170

We made it to Lone Tree just in time to pick up our bibs for the race, check into our hotel for and grab some dinner before crashing for the evening.

Day 4: Race Day! I’m going to do a separate post for the race (it was a LONG race and I have lots of thoughts to share (as per usual)).

We made our way back to Steamboat Saturday afternoon and found the perfect post-race activity. We went to Strawberry Hot Springs, a natural hot spring located just outside of Steamboat Springs. It is supposedly one of the most spectacular mineral springs in the world. We got to soak in 100+ degree mineral water, which felt absolutely ahh-mazing after running 31 miles.

We also made our way over to the Fish Creek Falls. It was a quarter mile walk down and not gonna lie, we almost didn’t walk down there (that seemed SO FAR!), but I’m so glad that we did. The falls were roaring from all of the melting snow.

168 169

Day 5: We lazed around our room for a while Sunday morning as we were both pretty spent from the race. We eventually ventured out to do some hiking. Daniel had been really wanting to hike up one of the ski slopes, so that’s exactly what we did. If our legs could talk, they probably would’ve said, “C’mon guys … can’t we ever just catch a break?!” In actuality, we both felt much better than we expected to, which was nice because we had stuff that we wanted to do!

We went to the Howelsen Hill Ski Area and made our way up Quarry Mountain. There were lots of hikers, runners and mountain bikers out enjoying the beautiful weather. We made friends with a couple of guys who were hiking up as well. They asked us where we were from and when we told them we were from Alabama, one of the guys told us that he used to live in AL as well. He went on to tell us that he was “ahead of the dispensary curve” (his words) and as a result of a run-in with the law, he had to do some time at the minimum security federal prison camp in Montgomery, AL. He took up walking while in the pen and told us that he walked over 15 miles a day! Now he lives in Steamboat and owns a “bagel shop,” which I find to be highly suspect (but again, his words).

He gave us some great pointers on where to hike and told us that we were crazy (after hearing about my 31 mile running adventure the day before) and that we fit in perfectly in Steamboat. We definitely felt like locals at that point. We ended up hiking 5 miles with close to 1,600 ft. of elevation gain. This was probably one of our favorite things that we did the entire trip! The views from the top of the mountain were phenomenal!

165 166 167

Day 6: We RESTED! We actually didn’t set an alarm the entire trip except for the morning of the race and the morning that we left. Even though we had a very active vacation (we wouldn’t have it any other way), we also got some good rest in as well. By Monday neither one of us had any desire to do anything but lay around and rest. We discovered that our hotel had a steam room, which was quite relaxing. The steam room was the only place that I actually broke a sweat the entire trip I think! The air is just so dry (and glorious) that you don’t sweat. I mean … technically you still sweat, but it just evaporates and so you don’t *feel* sweaty.

This seems like a good place to show you some of the delicious food that we ate. I didn’t get pictures of all of it … sometimes we were too ravenous to stop for a picture. There were mud season specials at a lot of the restaurants. Buy 2 entrees and get the lesser one for free? Pretty sweet!

171

Day 7 (Travel Day): Our flight left Denver at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. We had to leave Steamboat around 8 a.m. to make sure that we had plenty of time to get to the airport, return our rental car and get checked in for our flight. We stopped on the way out for one last snow pic!

DCIM100_VIRB

We came up with a new game to play in the car. There aren’t too many billboards out there and so playing the sign game is tough. We listed to ONEderland on Sirius XM, which is a medley of pop artists (with one big hit and that was it!). The game was who would be the first to name another hit by one of the artists. It is a tough game for the musically challenged. Over the course of our trip, we probably listened to over 5 hours of ONEderland and we only knew a second some for one artist … and it was Afroman. LOL! Definitely showing our true roots with that one.

We made it back to New Orleans around 6 p.m. and were back home by 9! Thankfully Mrs. Donna picked up our little booger from the Dog Ranch for us and so we were able to get lots of Brooksy cuddles and kisses when we got home. We had a wonderful vacation, but it is always SO GOOD to be home!

Tell me: where is somewhere that you have traveled that you LOVED? We need to start planning our next adventure!

50K Training: Week 11

Hi there! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend. It’s been a good one here. This week was the last big week of 50K training. It’s officially taper time now! Before we recap this week’s runs, let’s take a step back and chat about this whole, “I’m running a 50K in less than two weeks thing.”

If you’ve been reading for a little while you might recall that I decided to “take a break” from marathons last year. My last marathon was NYC in fall of 2015, so we are coming up on two years “off.” I have been focusing on shorter distances and increasing my speed. I haven’t met all of the goals that I set for myself by any means, but I did get a couple of PRs (2 mile, 10K, 12K) and came really close to a few others (5K, 10 mile and half marathon).

While I am still not ready to tackle another marathon quite yet, I decided that what I was ready to attempt was a 50K. In my mind, the training was going to be less grueling … so basically more long, slow runs than speed workouts. To an extent this has definitely been the case. It’s also been a tad grueling as well though.

A few thoughts as to why in the world I would want to do this:

One of the reasons that I want to get this done now as well is that I ran my first marathon when I was 26 and I want to run my first 50K (31 miles) when I am 31. You know I am a numbers person.

I have been craving time in nature (being stuck working inside all day during tax season gives you a new-found appreciation for time spent outdoors and in the sunlight). Our trip to Colorado has been planned since Christmas (Daniel found some awesome $80 flights … major score). We are planning to do lots of outdoorsy things while we are there. I can’t wait! As we were browsing the interwebs of things to do, I stumbled across a 50K (by stumbled across I mean that I googled “50Ks in Colorado during May”) and I found one the weekend we were going to be there. I think it was meant to be!

The race I am doing is called the Greenland Trail 50K. The race advertises itself as “Colorado’s fastest 50K.” We will be running on dirt trails with Pikes Peak in the background. With the wide, smooth double track trails, the Greenland Trail 50K is supposed to very beginner friendly (which is great to hear). There are several shorter distance races as well and Daniel is going to run the 4 mile race.

There is about 1,900 ft. of elevation gain and also 1,900 ft. of elevation loss. I feel like that is probably “easy” to people who are used to running on steep terrain, but I don’t know how well my legs are going to handle that. The whole race is at over 7,000 ft. (2,000 ft. higher than Denver (the Mile-High City)). It says that if you are traveling from elevations below 2,000 ft., be prepared for some shortness of breath. So yeah, I’m traveling from an elevation of 100 ft. We’ll see how that goes!

A few thoughts as to what the training has looked like:

I started building my long runs up in February. I kept 16 miles as my long run even during training for shorter distances, so my base was still pretty solid. There is a big difference in running 16 miles and 20 miles though. I still remember miles 17 through 20 mile of the first 20 miler of this training cycle. Rebecca and I ran the entire run together and averaged 7:50 pace. I remember thinking to myself at the time, “this is why I don’t run marathons anymore.” It was a solid run, but a struggle nonetheless.

My long runs steadily built up from there. 26 miles was my longest training run. I ran 26 miles with Rebecca the day of her 50K race.

001

You can see the other workouts that I have done on my February and March recaps. As the long runs got longer, so did the other workouts. The paces were slower, but the workouts were still tough. It wasn’t exactly the easy, breezy 50K training I envisioned in my mind, but it was very enjoyable. If given the choice I prefer the training of longer, slower miles to shorter, quicker miles (I like both … don’t get me wrong).

I like the idea of having different seasons of training. I will probably go back and focus on speed again at some point in the near future, but I’m not entirely sure when or what that will look like at this point.

Now that we’ve gotten the overview out of the way, here is what this week’s workouts looked like:

Monday: 5 miles @ 8:40 pace

This week started off similarly to last week with an easy 5 mile run recovery and again, I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t too sore and my legs felt good.

Tuesday AM: 10 miles @ 8:21 pace

Tuesday morning I ran while Daniel biked. We went opposite ways on our loops so that we could see each other every few miles. He biked 4 loops and I ran 2 loops, which worked out great for both of us.

Tuesday was tax deadline day at work. Thank goodness! One more year is in the books! Our coffee pot saw us through to the end and conked out on the day of the deadline (it has been on its last leg for quite some time, but it’s almost as if it *knew* that we needed it to pull us through to the end).

002

Tuesday PM: 6 miles @ 8:06 pace

I got to leave a little bit early Tuesday afternoon and even had time to sneak in a quick nap before the group run Tuesday evening at RW.

Daniel came through with some beautiful flowers. He never forgets a deadline day! I’m pretty sure he has the flowers on auto re-order at this point, but still … sweet and smart. I think I’ll hang on to him for a while!

011

Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 8 mile aerobic threshold tempo (6:51 avg.), 2 mile cool down

Workout Wednesday struck  again and man oh man, this one was tough! Thankfully Jill joined me for the majority of this run. I don’t know if I could’ve done it without her. The goal range for the tempo portion was 6:40 to 6:50. It took us a few miles to settle into the pace, but once we did, we clicked off some steady miles. I ended up with an average of 6:51 for the 8 mile tempo, which I was definitely happy with.

I decided to stop by the track for my two mile cool down (this seemed easier than trying to come up with a 2 mile route somewhere else … when all else fails, just run in circles around a track). Our neighbors Mollie and Corey were at the track doing some intervals and I got to run my cool down with them, which made the miles fly by! P.S. Check out Mollie’s blog → here. She is training for her first marathon, which she will run in Utah on the actual day of her 26th birthday. So cool!

Thursday AM: 8 miles @ 8:25 pace

Young Daniel and I ran 3 miles while My Daniel rode the bike trainer for 30 minutes and then we all ran 5 miles together.

Friday: 8 miles @ 8:24 pace

I was off work Friday and I did a new thing! RW has a group run on Friday mornings at 9:30, so I decided to take advantage of my day off and ran mid-morning. I guess it’s not really so much that I did a new thing as I did a normal thing at a new time. Haha. I enjoyed waiting until a little bit later to run (even thought it did get a tad toasty out), especially because it meant that I got to run with Lizzie and Jill! I think we stayed at the store chatting for close to 2 hours after our run (luckily my schedule was wide open :)).

Friday evening we celebrated the end of tax season with a crawfish boil. I don’t do crawfish (it’s too much work for not enough meat (IMO)), but I do enjoy all of the sides (potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.). It was delicious!

014

Saturday: 16 miles @ 7:57 (with a few “brisk” miles (7:10, 7:01, 7:00, 7:13, 7:31))

The last long run is officially DONE. I was technically supposed to do 18 miles, but I couldn’t seem to recruit anyone to join me for any additional miles. Daniel was nice enough to get to the group run a little early and bike with me for 4 miles before everyone else got there. Everyone else did 12 and so I called it a day at 16. I felt good and got a few brisk miles in at the end of the run as scheduled. No complaints here.

Of course we did the usual post-run coffee and breakfast thing and I got to spend some quality time with Rebecca and Jessica. I hadn’t seen them ALL WEEK and that is just plain unacceptable.

Daniel did his first swim of triathlon training mid-morning on Saturday. Brooks got to play fetch and swim a little before we got started. Here is our “old man of the sea.”

DCIM100_VIRB

We hoped that he would get nice and worn out so that he would “ride” on the paddleboard with me instead of jumping on and off while Daniel swam. He will ride with me sometimes, but turns out he does NOT like to ride when “daddy” is in the water. Swimming w/ daddy > sitting on the paddleboard w/ mommy.

He looks content in the picture below, but as soon as Daniel took off … so did Brooks (which left me in a bit of a pickle). I had our shoes, Daniel’s shirt, our camera (it’s waterproof) and Brooks’ leash as well as my paddle to keep up with. I definitely had a lot going on. Brooks got on and off the board about 10 thousand times (which is every bit as challenging as you can imagine it would be).

DCIM100_VIRB

Daniel had a really good swim. He will be swimming with the current in the Savannah River river during his race, so swimming in the bay is much tougher (i.e., great training). Brooks made a really good training partner too! Daniel outswam him, but Brooks stayed right on his heels (when he wasn’t taking a break on the board with me).

I’m pretty sure this will become a semi-regular thing. Daniel has biked with me A LOT over the years as I trained for various races, so this is a great way for me to return the favor … not that I mind one bit. It was a beautiful day out and there isn’t anywhere else that I’d rather be.

Sunday: 8 miles @ 8:21 pace

Sunday morning brought more quality friend time! We did an easy 8 miles and followed it up with coffee and breakfast again. I’m so glad that I got lots of quality runs with friends in this week. It made celebrating the end of tax season even sweeter.

I’m headed to play tennis this afternoon. It’ll be the first time I’ve played in well over a year, so who knows how that will go down. It might take me a minute or two to get back into the swing of it (see what I did there :)). I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

See ya soon!

The Ironiversary

Hello! We spent our anniversary weekend in Birmingham. 6 years is the candy/iron anniversary. You are probably supposed to choose one or the other, but we kind of went with both.

It just made sense to get candy for the drive. Road trip!

img_5280

We worked on our Dave Ramsey homework on the way up. It was a thrilling car ride. Ha. It also just makes sense to work on Dave Ramsey homework and eat a payday. Am I right?

img_5281

We stayed at the Ross Bridge. We got there around 7 p.m. Friday evening, just in time to catch the bagpipe man playing right outside of our balcony.

img_5284

Saturday morning we met up with one of our Ragnar teammates, Elena, that lives in Birmingham. We did a long run with her training group. I was blown away by how many runners were out that morning. Hundreds! I guess I forget how much bigger Birmingham is than where we live, but it was just crazy to me. Crazy good! I loved seeing so many people out training.

According to my schedule, I needed 14 miles between 7:25 and 7:45 pace. I got exactly what I needed. The route was a little hilly (not as hilly as it could’ve been though … they took it easy on us) and the weather was a little iffy (very humid with some rain sprinkled in every now and then), but otherwise I felt great!

img_5288

Daniel ran 16 miles and then we did the usual post-run coffee hangs. We met some really nice people. I felt oddly comforted by the fact that post-run coffee is a universal running ritual.

img_5287

The rest of our Saturday was pretty typical, we just weren’t in our typical setting. We did a little bit of shopping, I took a nap and Daniel watched plenty of football. After the Alabama game, we wandered out to find some dinner. There was a restaurant less than half a mile from the hotel called The Front Porch, so we decided to walk over there to check it out.

It was a good choice! We aren’t fancy restaurant people and this was the right up our alley. We Daniel was able to watch football and we got a really good meal. Win-win.

In the spirit of eating more fish and iron-rich food (hey that goes along with the anniversary theme too!), I ordered the Power Salad with Ahi Tuna. It had a little bit of everything on it (kale, cabbage, red onion, edamame, grape tomatoes, blueberries, dried cranberries, cashews and sunflower seeds) and it was delicious!

img_5293

We ordered key lime pie for dessert and were surprised to see it served in a mason jar. I think it was a bigger serving than if it had just been a slice. Mason jars are so trendy these days.

img_5294

I got a really pretty picture of the hotel all lit up at night on our way back.

img_5295

Sunday morning we went on a short run to explore the area around the hotel, since we hadn’t run there Saturday morning. We found some neat trails and hills. We found lots of hills!

img_5296

img_5303

We had a 10:30 tee time (that sounds so fancy). Neither one of us had played golf in years. Daniel played in middle school and I played every now and then growing up. I was hoping that we might get some beginners luck working in our favor. Golf can be a super frustrating sport (especially if you aren’t any good at it). We hit a few shots from the driving range before deciding that “this is as good as it’s gonna get” and heading out to tackle the actual course.

img_5310

Speaking of the course, it was tough. Lots of hills, water and sand traps (basically a beginner/non-experienced golfer’s nightmare). When we rented the clubs, the guy in the pro shop made sure to let us know that we would need to buy an extra 12 pack of balls because we were definitely going to need them. Ha.

img_5313

After our first drive, we made the executive decision to play best ball. There were big groups playing in front of and behind us and we really didn’t want to hold anyone up with our lack of skillz. I am so glad that we played this way! We would both hit a shot and then we would just use whichever shot was the best, pick up the other ball and go from there.

We actually made a pretty good team. We used 90% of my drives (I have one club that I can hit well and the rest of my game is no good) and 90% of Daniel’s approach shots and putts. Every now and then one of us would hit a good shot outside of our usual strength and so we’d use that one, but for the most part it was pretty predictable.

img_5314

The course was beautiful! We actually scored fairly well (in my opinion). We shot 45 on a par 36. It’s not great, but it is certainly not horrible either. We actually returned the entire pack of extra balls because we didn’t use any of them. Hashtag winning.

img_5311

We decided that playing best ball helped us to avoid the IRONY of splitting up on our iron anniversary trip. Not that it was a competition by any means, but when you put two highly competitive people in a competitive environment, things happen. We avoided those things!

Thanks for reading. I’m sure that wasn’t the most interesting post ever, but I know that one day (when I am old and gray and have probably lost my marbles), I’ll want to look back and see how we spent our time together. Anyone have a good anniversary story to share?