Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Goals: The Year of the Ironman

I can't believe that 2013 is almost over! It truly was an epic year for us, but I know that 2014 has a lot of other great things in store and I am ready for a clean slate.

I actually got sick over the weekend so I haven't added much mileage to my final year totals, but that's alright. There is, literally, next year!

I had a lot of goals in 2013, and even though I didn't accomplish all of them, I did accomplish most of them. 2014, is going to be a bit different. It is going to be the year of the Ironman. We start training on March 10th (really the 11th since Monday is always an "off" day) and the race is on August 24th, that's 6 months out of the year right there. We'll still technically be in our off season in January and February, but we need to start base building with swimming and biking.

We also won't be racing as much in 2014. I raced 29 races in 2012, 20 in 2013 and so far we only have 12 planned for 2014. I'm sure there will be a few more here and there but I doubt we'll top 20 races.

So, for that reason I am going to have less goals in 2014, but I think that they are "bigger" in the grand scheme of things. And we are finally going to be in the year of the Ironman, the race we have had our eyes on since we started Week 1 Day 1 of Couch-to-5K back in April 2011!



 
  • Participate in at least two running relays. 
  • Race in two new states.  
  • Run my 4th marathon (not during our Ironman).
  • Run two trail races. 
  • Continue to run trails as often as possible (we have Thursdays planned during Ironman training).
  • Run a 20 miler on trails. 
  • PR at least one race distance.


  • Finish an Ironman.
  • Finish an Ironman in under 15 hours.
  • Compete in a swim-only event. 
  • Become faster on the bike, I'd like to hold at least 16mph during our Ironman.
  • Ride around at least two of the Finger Lakes.
  • Complete my first Century (100 mile ride), not during our Ironman.
  • Become comfortable with general maintenance of my bike, actually learn how to change a tube!
  • Swim a total of 150 miles, bike a total of 2,500 miles and run a total of 1,250 miles. 
  • Train and race with friends as often as possible, we'll need them during Ironman training!


  • See Crystal (and Joe) every month until they move. 
  • Remain injury-free. 
  • Volunteer at a race at least once.
  • Organize our race medals and start scrapbooking our triathlon photos. 
  • Go cross country skiing with friends. 

There you have it! Those are the goals I am going to try to accomplish in 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Goals in Review

It's that time of year again! Time to review the goals that I set for myself and start thinking about new ones for 2014.

Let's see how I did!



Racing


  • Run a smarter and faster marathon than Wineglass. Both the Cleveland Marathon and the MDI Marathon were faster, MDI was the smartest and fastest marathon of the year!
  • Run a sub-5 hour marathon, at least once. Yep! I ran 4:46:58 at Cleveland and my current PR set at the MDI Marathon is 4:17:37.
  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon. I WILL do this if it is the only thing I accomplish in 2013. FINALLY!! One of my proudest moments of the year. I ran 1:54:22 at the Erie Half Marathon at Presque Isle in September.
  • PR in the 5K with a 24:xx time. Check! My current 5K PR is 24:52.
  • PR in the 10K with a 53:xx time. Unfortunately, no. I did run a 10K PR at the B.A.A. 10K with a time of 54:42.
  • Run a 30K, automatic PR. Check! Around the Bay 30K completed.
  • Finish a marathon with Mike by my side. He might need some convincing but I hope he will run the MDI marathon next to me, rather than ahead of me. No, this didn't happen and honestly I'm glad he ran his own race at MDI and crushed it!

General

 
  • Run at least two races with friends by my side, whether I am pacing them, they are pacing me or it is just for fun. This happened many times! We paced Crystal at her marathon, Amber paced me at Flower City half, Isaac and Crystal ran with me at the MDI Marathon, I tried to pace Sarah at a 5K and Crystal and I ran side by side at our 5K a few weeks ago for fun!
  • Participate in at least three running relays, gotta keep up my status as a relayniac! I'm going to say this happened: Mike and I did the marathon relay in Hyannis, Seneca7 and 100on100 in Vermont.
  • Race in at least two new states. Check! Ohio, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island.
  • Volunteer at a race at least once. Four times! 0SPF, Sodus Point Triathlon, 100 mile triathlon and Ready, Set, Glow!
  • Be Mike's cheerleader at a race where only he is participating.  He did this twice for me this year and I need to return the favor, hopefully he picks a race that I won't be too jealous I'm not running! This didn't happen for a real race, but I did support him at the Corporate Challenge when he walked it.
  • Run 1,500 miles for the year. This didn't happen, I am currently at 1,212.40 miles, I am hoping to get 1,250 total. Still a respectable amount!
  • Race at least 13 times, I'm doing 13 in 2013 (variety of distances). I raced 20 times this year, a solid number.
  • Run another trail race. Check! One of my favorite races this year: 0 Degree W.T.F. 5 miler


Racing



General


  • Go for a group bike ride. We did this a few times! We rode with Amber and Greg and we went for a short ride with Crystal.
  • Ride around at least two more of the Finger Lakes. Ugh, this did not happen but we did put in a good effort. We tried to ride around Canandaigua Lake twice. The first time the hills got to us and we just did an out and back and the second time Mike got a chain suck and we had to stop early. We also tried to ride around Canadice Lake but my bike had some issues with its brakes and we stopped the ride short. 
  • Become comfortable with general maintenance of my bike, and buy accessories that we need for them. This was somewhat successful. We went clipless this year and we also bought new tri bikes in time for our 70.3. I am still not completely comfortable with the maintenance of my bike and this is going to be a goal for next year. I WILL learn how to change a tube!
  • Become faster on the bike, my weakest leg of the triathlon. Successful! During the Keuka Lake Intermediate Tri (24.85 miles) I averaged 14.5 mph and at Musselman (56 miles) I averaged 15.1mph. On the surface that isn't a huge difference in speed, but the bike for Musselman is double that of Keuka Lake. I ended the year with the majority of my training rides clocking in at about 16mph so overall I have definitely gotten faster!
  • Swim, bike and run a total of 2,013 miles for the year (with my goal of 1,500 for running that means I need to swim and bike a total of 513 miles). Check! My current mileage for the year is 2,905.31 miles. The break down is: Swim - 50.02 miles (final), Bike - 1,642.89 , Run - 1,212.40. I'm hoping for more biking and running miles to get me above 3,000 miles for the year.
 

  • Remain injury free! I think this is a yearly goal. Check! Other than a few tweaks here and there, I felt really good all year.
  • Organize and display our race bibs and medals. Half of a check, we did get bib boards from Crystal and they are hanging up proudly. We still need to organize the rest of our bibs and medals.
  • Start scrapbooking our running/triathlon journey.  I fell off the wagon with scrapbooking and hopefully this will get me back in the groove! Unfortunately, no. We need a new printer so I have been unable to scrapbook. 
  • Strength train as much as possible. For awhile there we did well, we did go to the gym whenever we could and also did some Jillian Michaels DVDs. After the MDI Marathon we did a lot of hip openers yoga. 

There you have it! That's how I did with my goals this year. Overall, I accomplished all of my big goals with the exception of 1,500 running miles for the year. Some of the goals that I didn't accomplish this year will carry over to next year and others will be modified. Stay tuned to find out my goals for 2014! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's the Holiday Season

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and time with your family and friends! Mike and I stayed in Rochester since he didn't have a lot of vacation left, we used most of it for races!

We were able to have Mike's parents over to celebrate Christmas this past weekend and my parents and brother are coming this weekend to celebrate. While it will be a bit different from our normal routine, I am actually looking forward to our first Christmas by ourselves!

During the holiday season I think about my family and who I have chosen to be a part of it. The Richard Bach quote, "the bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof", rings true for us.

For some reason, mostly by luck, Mike and I have had amazing people come into our life. Many of these people I call my family, yet, they aren't blood-related to us. When I am feeling sad and out of place, these people make sure to let me know that I am a part of an amazing family and that they would be sad to not have me in their life.

So, during this holiday season I have been surrounding myself with my family. Running through the trails, the roads, taking in the holiday lights and laughing with each other at holiday parties.

 Taking in some holiday lights and seeing Santa! Photo courtesy of Steven

Since Mike and I rarely do anything the traditional way, it would only make sense for us to have a non-traditional family. And to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Happy holidays!
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.
Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/f/family_quotes.html#6XOlFlG6Vf0uATHx.99
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.
Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/f/family_quotes.html#6XOlFlG6Vf0uATHx.99

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rochester River Chase Group Run

Mike and I have been primarily running lately. I have been getting in some swim workouts the last couple of weeks during the day and I have been riding on the trainer a bit, but other than that it has been mostly about the run miles.

This past weekend we got out for another group run with some friends from TrailsRoc. Mike's parents were in town to celebrate Christmas with us and since Mike's mom is a runner she joined us for the run.

There is a race in Rochester called the River Chase and a few friends had been talking about running the course. I thought this would be a perfect option for when Mike's mom was in town since she isn't a trail runner. The route does have about 3 miles of trails at the end but the rest is roads and paved trails.

 Waiting to start the run, photo courtesy of Steven

A relatively large group of us, about 15 people, met up on Saturday morning to run! There were five people who had run the course earlier in the morning and as we were waiting (since some people had mentioned that they wanted to do two loops, they changed their minds though) we saw them running in.

They looked wet and I knew we were in for a soggy, fun run! One of our friends even asked if we had extra socks on us, none of us did though.

We set out on the course and stayed together as a group. The beginning was pretty good, there wasn't any snow on the roads and when we stopped to regroup before entering Turning Point Park I mentioned that it might be slippery.

 The majority of our group, photo courtesy of Todd

This part of the run was pretty tough since it was snow covered. We did stop for a few pictures before and on the boardwalk, though! Our friend Steven was across the river in Seneca Park and took photos of us. They actually came out really well!

 Right before the boardwalk, photo courtesy of Steven

Along the boardwalk, photo courtesy of Steven

Off we go! Photo courtesy of Steven

After running across a bridge, we made our way onto the trails. This was the hardest part, especially since I wasn't wearing my trail shoes! The slushy trails and huge puddles made it really difficult to run through, but it was a good workout for our stabilizer muscles.

 Some of what we were contending with, photo courtesy of Steven

The best part about this 9.5 mile run was the group that we were running with! Our TrailsRoc friends are amazing and I love running with them multiple times a week!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's a Wonderful Run 5K Race Recap

Did you miss my post about the first race of the weekend? Check it out, here!

After thawing out, changing clothes and getting some mandatory Starbucks the four of us made our way to "Bedford Falls" for the It's a Wonderful Run 5K.

The roads weren't too bad on the way there (not the same case on the way back home), so we decided we would go to our second race of the day. When we were planning this weekend, Mike and I didn't want to miss the It's a Wonderful Run 5K since it is my favorite 5K ever! We decided we would do both races, and make it a day of fun racing.

 Love this race, photo courtesy of Crystal

This was our third year racing the 5K and it was the first year that there was actually snow on the ground for it (you can read the two previous years' recaps here and here). Crystal and I decided that we were going to run together and just enjoy ourselves. The roads were slick and the snow was coming down hard so it definitely wasn't a day for PRs.

We made it to packet pickup and then we hung out in the Community Center until the start of the race. We ran into our friend Beth, who had also raced the trail race in the morning, and we took some photos.

 The four of us! Photo courtesy of Crystal

We wore lots of Christmas colors, photos courtesy of Crystal

The race started at 4:40pm and around 4:30pm we made our way outside. Joe wasn't racing this time, so Mike, Crystal and I found our spots on the bridge. There were some pace signs and Crystal and I thought that right in front of the 8:00 minute/mile sign would be a good spot. It turned out that we were wrong.

 Yes, it is that bridge. Photo courtesy of Crystal

Ready to tackle the snowy roads! Photos courtesy of Crystal

All of a sudden people were moving forward and then we came to a halt. I guess it wasn't the actually start, and then we got moving. Sort of.

Lots of runners, photo courtesy of Crystal

 We love running! Photo courtesy of Crystal

Crystal and I were stuck behind people who were going really slow, which is fine but they shouldn't have been up in the 7:00 minute/mile area. We probably were running in place for a good five minutes before we started to dodge and weave through the crowds. As a result our first mile came in around 11:30 pace.

We finally found some open space and made our way through the snowy roads. We all should have worn our YakTrax that we had used during the trail race, but we didn't. The one unfortunate thing about it snowing is that I couldn't see as well and I focused on the ground more so I couldn't take in the sights as much.

Our second mile came in around 9:30 pace, which was a lot better and we continued on our way. I only slipped a few times and as we came toward the final turns I told Crystal that there wasn't much left. We were both wearing our sparkle skirts and I could hear some people commenting on them.

The final road, before the downhill finish, has cones separating cars and runners. We really had picked up the pace and we were passing a lot of people. I couldn't believe how fast we were going considering the amount of snow on the ground and that it was our second race of the day.

As we made the final turn, onto a small uphill, a guy on the sidelines said "it's all downhill from here". Crystal and I made a comment about how, at that moment, we were literally running uphill. This part of the course was slick and we stayed in the middle where everyone else had been running.

We made it to the downhill finish and I heard Mike cheering us on. Crystal and I crossed the finish line together in 30:15 (our final mile was 8:30 pace and then .14 was 8:01 pace). Mike had finished in 25:08.

 So snowy and cold! Photo courtesy of Crystal

After a quick finish line photo, complete with snowy/icy eyelashes, we grabbed some water and went inside to find Joe. We ran into Beth and her friend, Kirsten, and got a photo taken together.

We didn't get to stay long since we had to drive back to Rochester and the roads were BAD! Mike did a great job getting us back home safely.

The races weren't the only wonderful things about this weekend, but it was so much fun sharing some of our favorite things about running with Crystal and Joe. I can't wait to see them again in a few weeks!

Monday, December 16, 2013

0 Degree W.T.F. 5 Mile Race Recap

How can I even begin to describe this weekend?

One word: epic.

 Yea that's epic, photo courtesy of Alex Tong

I'll start with the first race of the weekend, the TrailsRoc 0 Degree W.T.F. (Winter Trail Festival) 5 mile trail race. The premise of the race was simple, three different distances (5, 10, 15) costing only $1 per mile. Mike and I actually got a free voucher for the 5 mile race because we volunteered at the Ready, Set, Glow Run back in October.

We convinced Crystal and Joe to come run some races with us and the wheels were set in motion for a weekend of awesomeness!

After going to bed semi-late since Crystal and Joe were contending with the winter storm that hit Western New York over the weekend, we got up at a reasonable time and got ready to go to Powder Mills Park for the start of the race.

 Some of us prior to the 5 mile race

When we arrived we just missed the start of the 15 mile race and we found some of our other friends who were racing. Our friends, Amber and Greg, even braved the cold and trails for the race! Some people may have even started the day with a pre-race shot of Jameson (I didn't).

 We're all ready to go! Photos courtesy of Crystal

Before we knew it, it was time to start the race! We all went down for some final pre-race announcements (including talk of a crazy dog out on the course) and then we were off!

Mike at the start, photo courtesy of Alex Tong

 You can see me and Crystal, photo courtesy of Alex Tong

I went into the race thinking that I wasn't going to "race race" it and I took the first mile relatively slowly. We were on single-track in the beginning and it was almost impossible to get around anyone anyway. I was behind Crystal in the beginning and she was having fun enjoying the sights and taking photos.

 Along the course, photo courtesy of Crystal

The course has three major hills, the first hill is really a baby compared to the rest and people were slipping while they tried to get up it. I took my time and got my footing before taking a step. It also helped that I was wearing my YakTrax.

 Everyone making their way up the hill, photo courtesy of Crystal

Around 1 mile into the race, I saw Joe off to the side. Crystal had slowed down to make sure he was alright and after asking him if he was ok, I continued on my way. I was running behind our friend, Jenn, for a bit. We were jumping over logs and cheering other runners on.

My favorite part about the course is that there were plenty of opportunities to see other runners coming from other directions. I wasn't even paying attention to pace and I was just enjoying myself out on the snowy trails. About two miles into it, I heard someone say "Go Jamie"! I had no idea who it was, I couldn't see them, but then later found out/figured out that it was our friend Steven who was running the 15 mile option.

I passed some friends running the 15 mile race and continued on my way. About 2.5 miles into it I looked down and saw Mike! I cheered him on and he waved, though he didn't realize right away that it was me cheering him on.

Since we had previewed the course twice, once at night and once during the day, I knew that we would be approaching the second hill around 3 miles. This part of the course included crossing the road, and as Amber, Sonia and I approached a car was coming. We didn't have the right of way as runners, but the car stopped for us and I told the volunteer "I'm going across!"

 Right after crossing the road, photo courtesy of Stacey

After Sonia caught up to me she said, "I see you just wanted to pass me!" She was joking of course and we continued on after seeing some more friends who were out volunteering at the water stop.

Right before the huge hill I caught up to our friend Liz, running the 15 miler, and we chatted a bit. This hill literally makes your heart want to jump out of your chest! Some of the #trailsroc boys were at the top of the hill cheering people on and one of them said something like "come on Jamie you have to earn that Ironwoman status!"

When I got to the top I high-fived Liz and our other friend Steven and continued on my way! Sonia and I were running together and we just continued on. I could see Amber in front of me and eventually we caught up to her. As we came back to the road crossing we had to stop for a second for a car and then we got to the part of the course dubbed "hell on roots".

 Mike at the top of "Hell on Roots", photo courtesy of Mike Lesher

This part of the course included the steepest hill that required the addition of a rope and we all slowly made our way up. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, maybe since it was my third time braving the hill, and after catching my breathe at the top I continued on my way.

I knew that there was about a mile left and I just focused on keeping up a good pace. At a little turn around on the course I saw Steven and Liz and they cheered me on. I loved that about the race, everyone was encouraging everyone to do their best!

There was one downhill that was a little slick and then before I knew it we were back at the lodge! Unfortunately, we had to run around a field before we could make our way to the finish line. I saw Jess, Mike and Greg cheering me and Amber on and I tried to pick up the pace. Amber and I almost collided as we rounded the corner, whoops, and she picked up the pace as well! I am so proud of her for doing something that she doesn't like to do, and even though she didn't 100% enjoy it I hope she at least had some fun!

Right before the field, photo courtesy of Jess

 Happy to see my people! Photo courtesy of Jess

I got tired as I made my way around the field and Mike and Greg cheered us on some more. Soon I was making my way around the final tree, I saw Susan (a volunteer) and she cheered me on. I could hear Eric cheering me on and then I crossed the finish line of my second-ever trail race!

 Mike at the finish, photos courtesy of Alex Tong

 Pure finish line happiness! Photos courtesy of Alex Tong

Mike finished the race in 52:26 and came in 7th overall and 5th for men and I finished in 58:16 and came in 17th overall and 7th for women. 

Some of us after the race, photo courtesy of Alex Tong

Love my friend! Photo courtesy of Crystal

Old and new friend, photo courtesy of Crystal

We waited for everyone else to finish, Crystal and Joe did amazing and really enjoyed themselves! We cheered on our friends that were running the 10 mile and 15 mile races, and then we went to change for our second race of the day!

I cannot even begin to describe how happy this race made me feel. Everyone that was cheering me on during their own races, while they were volunteering and at the finish line made me so happy. I cheered on our friends, some that we haven't known that long but feels like we have known them longer and others we have known for awhile.

I was so happy that we could introduce Crystal and Joe, two friends that are more like family, to our #trailsroc family. Seeing my friends coming together and getting along was the icing on the cake to a wonderful race!

Stay tuned to see how the second race of the day went!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Triathlon-ing Year in Review

Another year has almost come to a close, only a few more weeks to get those goals accomplished! Last year, I wrote this post about my year of triathlon-ing and some bloggers are doing it again. I am going to stick with last year's questions because I like them!

Best Race Experience?

It is always so hard to pick a "best" race since there are so many! I guess as far as the "experience" goes, it would have to be the MDI Marathon.

Friends and running!

Finishing my third marathon

I ran the entire marathon with friends by my side, Isaac was with me the entire time and Crystal was with us for almost 21 miles. I had a HUGE PR (by over 29 minutes) and finished under 4 hours and 20 minutes, something I didn't really think I could do. 

This was also my hometown race, so that makes the experience even more special for me. If I could re-live this marathon over and over, I would. 

Worst Race Experience?

Honestly, not too many bad experiences this year. I was a little bit disappointed in myself at the B.A.A. 10K since I didn't achieve my goal of a 53:xx 10K time. And it was ridiculously hot that day!

Friends!

But we got to be with our friends, so it wasn't all that bad. 

Best run, swim or ride?

I've had so many great training runs, swims and rides this year! I think that any time we worked out with other people was a quality time in my book, and it happened a lot! We met up with people for training rides, open water swims and group runs constantly. 

 Trail friends, a long training ride and a run with Crystal and Joe!

The one run that does stand out in my mind as a "best" run was the 18 miler that we did in the middle of the week since we were going to be surprising my mom at a Boston Red Sox game that weekend. The pace was killer for a mid-week long run!

The proof

Best new piece of gear?

This one is easy, our new tri bikes!


I love my Trek Speed Concept 7.0 and Mike loves his Felt B12, it was definitely a wonderful decision to go the tri bike route!

Best piece of triathlon-ing advice that you received? 

I can't really think of anything specific, but lots of people encouraged me and told me that I could continue to train without Mike while he was recovering after his bike accident. Specifically, Crystal, Amber and Mike were there for me when I doubted myself, and was scared to train alone.

After my first solo ride

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?

This year, I am going with Crystal

 Love this lady!

We like bright colors!

Not only has she excelled in running, she is crushing goal after goal. This lady is amazing and I strive to be half as wonderful as she is, in life and in running.

In 2013, I had the honor of running with her multiple times. We met up to run (and tri) six races (our seventh will be this weekend!) Mike and I paced her to her first marathon finish, an experience that I am never going to forget. She went on to crush her marathon PR at the MDI Marathon, and I know that more great things are to come for her!

During the Hyannis Marathon

Ha, post-marathon faces!

I am honored to have Crystal as a friend, and as an inspiration!

Triathlon-ing Ups:

Here are just a few, I will recap more when I talk about my 2013 goals.

Becoming a Half Ironman

Placing in my Age Group at the Rochester Tri

FINALLY, getting my sub-2 half marathon!

Triathlon-ing downs:

The worst thing that happened to us in 2013 was Mike's bike accident. I am thankful that I didn't actually see it happen (I rode up to it after he had already crashed), but it was still one of the scariest moments of my life. 

The scan of his fractured mandible 

In the end, the worst that happened was that Mike has a pretty significant scar under his chin. He was still able to compete at, and finish, our first 70.3 two and a half weeks after the accident. The experience forced me to train alone, as I already talked about, and proved that I am tougher than I think. I still do worry about Mike, especially on the bike, but I know we can get through anything!

Supporting Mike on a training ride after his accident

Surprise of the year:

You can probably guess what I am going to say, falling in love with trail running!




Even though we had gone trail running prior to this year, and even earlier in the year, I didn't truly fall in love with it until after the MDI Marathon. I have been enjoying exploring the trails and running with our #trailsroc friends!

How has your year gone?