Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Goals - Recap

I can't believe that there are only a few more hours left of 2014! This year flew by!

2014 will be hard to top, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to try.

Before moving on to 2015, here is a look back at my 2014 goals. I am really proud that I accomplished a lot of what I set out to do!

 Just a taste of my running in 2014

  • Participate in at least two running relays. I half accomplished this, I had to DNS one relay because of my injury but I did race Seneca7 again for the third year in a row!
  • Race in two new states. Done! Raced in New Hampshire in February and Kentucky in August. 
  • Run my 4th marathon (not during our Ironman). Check! We completed the Philadelphia Marathon in November.
  • Run two trail races. Check! CJ's Resolution Challenge, Mess the Dress and Muddy Sneaker.
  • Continue to run trails as often as possible. We ran quite a few trails this year, we didn't run them as often when I was injured, during Ironman training and marathon training but we always managed to run some trails here and there. We just started back up again with some more trail mileage!
  • Run a 20 miler on trails. Didn't happen this year, but that's alright! The furthest I ran on trails was 16.13 miles and then with my injury and intense training it just didn't happen.
  • PR at least one race distance. I didn't think that I would this year, since we didn't race as often, but I did score a few decent PRs during the second half of the year! I PR'd at the Boilermaker 15K with a time of 1:21:25, at the Runner's World Half Marathon with a time of 1:47:41, at the Philadelphia Marathon with a time of 3:58:03 and at It's a Wonderful Run 5K with a time of 23:48.

2014 was an AMAZING triathlon year!

  • Finish an Ironman. CHECK!! If you missed them, here are my swim, bike and run recaps.
  • Finish an Ironman in under 15 hours. Check! My finishing time at Ironman Louisville was 13:20:28. That time blew my expectations out of the water!
  • Compete in a swim-only event. I'm happy to say, after not being sure that this would happen, that we did race in a swim-only event. We competed at the final year of Escape from the Judge (1 mile OWS) and we both placed first in our age groups.
  • Become faster on the bike, I'd like to hold at least 16mph during our Ironman. Yes, I do believe I became faster on the bike. I held 15.9mph during our 100 mile tri, which was an 84 mile bike leg. I held 16.16mph during our Ironman, which was almost 30 miles longer than the 100 mile tri bike leg!
  • Ride around at least two of the Finger Lakes. Check! We added three more lakes to our list - Canandaigua Lake, Seneca Lake and Keuka Lake.
  • Complete my first Century (100 mile ride), not during our Ironman. Check! Not including our Ironman, we completed two 100+ mile rides.
  • Become comfortable with general maintenance of my bike, actually learn how to change a tube! We went to a fix a flat clinic and I practiced changing a flat a few times. I still struggle to change a flat completely by myself and I really need to work on being self-sufficient before our next tri season.
  • Swim a total of 150 miles, bike a total of 2,500 miles and run a total of 1,250 miles. I did not accomplish most of my mileage goals this year, but I made a good effort! I ended the year with 96.5 swim miles, 3,150.32 cycling miles and 1,170.74 run miles. Due to injury, some low swimming months and miscalculations the swim and run mileage goals weren't accomplished this year. 
  • Train and race with friends as often as possible, we'll need them during Ironman training! Big check! We raced with so many friends this year! We met up with friends at races and ran side-by-side with friends. During Ironman and Philadelphia Marathon training, we had so many friends willing to swim, bike and run with us. When I look back at workouts from the year, I would say about 80% of the time we had at least one friend with us and considering the amount of miles we put in this year that says a lot. These people will never know how much it meant to us to have them there with us during training!

 Love our friends!

  • See Crystal (and Joe) every month until they move. I did not accomplish this, Crystal and Joe moved to Alaska in June and we saw them in January, February and May. I miss them everyday, but I am so excited for our trip to visit them in August!
  • Remain injury-free. Unfortunately, no. I was injured at the beginning of the year for a little while.
  • Volunteer at a race at least once. Check! We volunteered at the Beast of Burden 100 and 50 Milers in August. We manned one of the aid stations for a few hours in the afternoon. We also volunteered at the 100 Mile Tri in October and manned one of the run aid stations.
  • Organize our race medals and start scrapbooking our triathlon photos. No, I really need to get going on this! We also have a lot of race bibs that need to be organized now, as well.
  • Go cross country skiing with friends. Check! We went cross country skiing with our friends, Sarah and Mark, in February. 

Well, there you have it. That was my 2014! I didn't accomplish everything, but I came pretty close. 

Stay tuned for what I have in mind for 2015!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Happenings

Monday started my first day of vacation for three weeks, yay! Mike and I did not travel for Christmas again this year, but unlike last year no one came to spend the holiday with us. My dad had to work part of the holiday so we celebrated with my family the Friday after Thanksgiving.

 Mike and Bernie during our post-Christmas walk

I'm going to admit, I really enjoyed spending time at home with Mike and our fur babies. The rest of the year was pretty hectic, mostly all good things, and it was nice to be able to relax at home during a time of year that can bring people a lot of stress.

Luckily, our Christmas was 99% stress-free (we did have to go grocery shopping a few days before the holiday and it was a little bit of a madhouse). We did not get each other gifts (our trip to Alaska was our gift to each other) and we did not buy gifts for very many people. 

As I get older, I realize that it is not about the gifts at all, but about the experiences that you have with the people that you love. Even though we weren't with relatives during the holiday, we were able to spend Christmas day with people we consider family. Our friends, Sarah and Rob, invited us to spend the day with them.

 Obligatory post-run shoe photo, thanks Rob and Sarah for the photo!

We started the day with a short 2 mile run and then spent the rest of the day/early evening eating, talking and laughing. I am so sad that they will be moving to San Diego in about a month! (It just gives us another excuse to visit the west coast!)

2014 continues to prove that it was an amazing year, but I am excited to see what 2015 will bring!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and spent the time doing something that made you happy!

Friday, December 19, 2014

I Mustache You Some Questions

Abby at Back at Square Zero tagged me to do this fun "I Mustache You Some Questions" post. Since it is my last day at work for three weeks, and a Friday, I figured I would post it today!

Four Names That People Call Me:

 People should just call me "weird"

1. Jamie (well isn't that obvious)
2. "J" (my mom and dad call me this)
3. James (this was more in high school, but some people still call me this)
4. Jaime (my coordinator at work always misspells my name, ha)

Four Jobs I've Had:

1. Babysitter (not very often, but a few times)
2. Waitress (all of high school and some of college)
3. Notetaker (one quarter in college, in an all Deaf class except me)
4. Sign Language Interpreter (current)

Four Movies I Have Watched More Than Once:

1. The Devil Wears Prada
2. The Blind Side
3. Elf
4. The Lord of the Rings (the series)

Four Books I'd Recommend:

1. Any Jodi Picoult book (I've enjoyed all that I have read)
2. My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso (currently reading and I love it)
3. Divergent (trilogy) by Veronica Roth (I loved this series)
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (I still need to see the movie)

Four Places I Have Lived:

1. Ellsworth, Maine (born)
2. Trenton, Maine (where I grew up)
3. Henrietta, New York (college)
4. Rochester, New York (currently)

Four Places I Have Been:

 In front of Head Harbour (East Quoddy) Lighthouse on Campobello Island

1. San Francisco, California (my brother and I went to visit our aunt)
2. St. Croix, Virgin Islands (swim team trips in high school)
3. Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas (honeymoon cruise)
4. Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada (Mike and I went in summer 2012)

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:

1. Maine (to see my family)
2. Sitka, Alaska (I really would love to see my best friend, Crystal, right now!)
3. Somewhere warm with Mike, we need a vacation!
4. Hawaii, I guess this qualifies as #3 too.

Four Things I Don't Eat:

1. Red meat
2. Seafood
3. Pork
4. Raw tomatoes

Four Of My Favorite Foods:

 Mm, red velvet cupcakes

1. Red velvet anything
2. Peanut butter
3. Chicken (alright, this isn't really a favorite but it's the only meat I eat)
4. Breakfast food

Four TV Shows That I Watch:

1. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
2. 2 Broke Girls
3. New Girl
4. The Following

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year:

 Us with Crystal and Joe in Maine

1. Seeing Crystal and Joe in August!!
2. Lots of fun triathlons, including the SOS Triathlon
3. Running my first 50K in my home state of Maine
4. Spending time with family and friends (and if it is while swimming, biking and running that's just a bonus!)

Four Things I'm Saying Right Now:

....ummm. I'm going to skip this one, haha.

I'm also not going to nominate anyone to do this, but go ahead and do it on your blog if you want or answer any (or all) of these in the comments!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Year of Triathlon-ing

For two years, I have written about my year of "triathlon-ing". Since the year is almost over, I figured it would be a good time to recap 2014! 

Best Race Experience?

I think this is obvious, but Ironman Louisville was the best race experience of 2014.

This is the face of an Ironman

A close second would be the Runner's World Half and Festival. I had so much fun getting to know all of the other bloggers and the race was pretty amazing too!

Crushing my sub-1:50 goal

Worst Race Experience?
 Mike and the rest of the first runners at the start of Cast a Shadow
We didn't race as often as we normally do this year, so 99% of my races went well. If I had to pick a "worst" race experience it would be DNS-ing Cast a Shadow because of my injury. 
Best run, swim or ride?

So many. This year was pretty amazing to say the least. Lots of PRs, lots of runs, rides and swims with friends. I can't pinpoint one specific instance so here is a photo collage of our year!

Best new piece of gear?

 Exiting the water at Ironman Louisville

I didn't buy a lot of new gear this year, but I will go with my TYR Torque Lite Swimskin. Ironman Louisville wasn't wetsuit legal so Mike and I both made the decision to buy swimskins prior to the race. While I don't think it helped me that much, I do think it helped reduce the amount of drag I experienced during the swim.

Best piece of triathlon-ing advice that you received? 

Before the Runner's World Half and the Philly Marathon, my friend told me to "hustle". I think that was pretty good advice for me this year. I also believed that I could do it!

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?   

Instead of one person, I have quite a few this year. Here they are:

 Us with Crystal after her marathon in May

Crystal - What can I say about her that I haven't already said? She crushed her own sub-4 hour marathon this year, all while getting ready to move from Cape Cod to Alaska. She continues to support us, and all of her friends, from afar. I don't think I know anyone who is more genuine than her and I am lucky to have her as a best friend!

 Me and Janell at the Philly Marathon expo

Janell - Janell is an amazing person and we are lucky to have her in our life. I am thankful that Crystal brought us all together! At the beginning of the year, Janell race directed her very first race! Mike and I had the pleasure of being a part of it and I am excited to see it grow in the coming years. In addition to that, Janell works as a nurse, takes care of her family and trains for her own races. She even crushed her very first triathlon this year!

 Isaac ran back to everyone at the Half at the Hamptons after crushing his race

Isaac - He says I got him back into running after a six year long hiatus, but I can't take credit for the kind of runner that he has become. He is always there for other runners, often putting their own goals before his own, and supports us from near (he came to the Philly Marathon to cheer us on) and afar. He also attempted his own self-supported 100 mile run this summer. While he "only" made it to 80-something miles, I am so proud of him! He will be attempting another 100 mile run next year.

Our first ride with Greg this past spring

Greg - Our friend and training partner, Greg, had an amazing year! He overcame an injury and went on to not only finish his first triathlon, but he also finished his first 70.3 (in less than desirable conditions)! He is also rather speedy on the trails, but he is very humble about his accomplishments.

With Sarah at last weekend's 5K

Sarah - I have known Sarah for awhile now and to say that she had an amazing year this year is an understatement. Not only did she PR at every race she ran this year (from the 5K to marathon distance), she also developed an inner strength and mental toughness that I have never seen her possess before. I am so proud of how she developed as a runner this year!

After the Mini Mussel, where Mike placed in his age group

Mike - My training partner in life and triathlon. What can I say? I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for him. He amazed me this year with all of the training that we put in and how he performed at our races. Mike worked full-time during Ironman training (I am a 10-month employee and was lucky enough to be off during the bulk of our intense training in the summer) and never complained. He accomplished a sub-13 hour Ironman and sub-4 hour marathon in the same year, and PR'd at other distances as well. I am so lucky to have him in my life!

Triathlon-ing Ups:

Here are a few of my "ups" for the year:

Becoming Ironmen

Pacing this lady to a 10K PR

Ending the year with a sub-24 minute 5K PR

Getting in lots of training with our friend, Greg
Triathlon-ing downs:

Luckily, we did not have many "downs" this year. I did become injured at the beginning of the year and had to DNS a race as a result. Fortunately, my recovery time was short and I was back at it in no time.

We also went through some changes this year in regard to our friends. We lost a few friends this year, mostly during Ironman training but a few after as well. It hurt, but it also made us stronger in the long run.

 As long as I have my little family, I am happy

Surprise of the year:

The two biggest surprises for me were my finishing times at Ironman Louisville and the Philadelphia Marathon. I know that I am a strong triathlete, but I never expected to be able to pull off the times that I did at both of these races - let alone in the same year! My goal for our Ironman was a sub-15 hour finish, which I beat by almost two hours.

This was a good day

After our Ironman, I was shocked at how fast we were running. We were pulling paces that I had rarely seen before and I started to believe that a sub-4 hour marathon was possible. Again, to be able to achieve both of these goals in the same year is something that I still have a hard time believing that I accomplished.

2014 will be hard to top, but I am looking forward to what 2015 will bring!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's a Wonderful Run 5K Race Recap

Ever since Mike and I started running we have raced the It's a Wonderful Run 5K every year.  Too bad we didn't start running in April 2010 instead of 2011 because then we would have been on the list of "die hards", the people who have raced it all five years.

 Previous It's a Wonderful Run photos

This race is special for me. It is the race where I first ran a sub-30 5K. It is a race where I have PR'd numerous times. Last year I was able to share it with my best friend, Crystal, and we ran the entire race together through the snow.

This year, it was our first (and last) 5K of the year. Training for an Ironman and marathon in the same year doesn't give you many opportunities to run short races.

After our Ironman, I was running a lot faster. However, after our marathon we hadn't run very much since we were still building our base back up. I was wavering between just running and seeing what happened and going all out. Even at the start line, I didn't really know what I was going to do.

Another thing that I love about this race is that it starts at 4:40pm. Seneca Falls, or should I say Bedford Falls, is about an hour away from our house. Packet pick-up ended at 4pm so we left our house at 2:15ish. This gave us enough time to grab some crackers at a gas station for some pre-race fuel, park and get our stuff. The shirts have the same design on them every year, but the color changes. This year it was blue and they added some snow flakes to the design.

 Part of Mike's outfit

Me and Sarah before the race

We went into the community center and waited for our friends Sarah and Rob. After their family arrived, we all hung out and then went outside to get in the port-a-potty line. It didn't take long to get through it and then we made our way to the bridge (yes, that bridge) where the race starts. We went right to the front, maybe a few rows back, because people don't line up appropriately for this race.

After a few minutes, Zuzu (from the movie) started the race with her famous line, "every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!"

As soon as we started I said, "we should have been further up front!" It was a bit crowded at the start, but luckily once we made the first turn things started to spread out. I saw Mike TAKE OFF. He was booking it!

I tried not to go out too fast, my downfall of 5Ks, but of course I did. My first mile came in at 7:13, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to sustain that for the rest of the race. I just wanted to try to keep every mile under 8:00 pace, if I was able to do that I would PR (my previous PR of 24:52 is about 8:00 pace).

The second mile is a bit of a blur for me, I slowed down quite a bit and I wasn't sure if I would actually PR. I just focused on getting to the turns (a benefit of running this race multiple times). There was this one guy running near me at this point, and the majority of the rest of the race, and he was breathing extremely loud. It was bothering me, but I just tried to ignore it. My second mile came in at 7:54 pace, whoops.

I actually started to feel a bit better during the third mile, and after making one of the last turns I was able to pick up the pace a bit. Right after crossing the railroad tracks, I heard someone near me say, "we are at 21 minutes". I knew that I had about a half mile to go so I tried to pick it up. My third mile came in at 7:43 pace.

After making the final turn, which has a slight uphill, I made my way down the hill to the finish. Right as I got to the finish line, I heard Mike cheering me on from the sidelines.

I managed to PR by a little over a minute, with a finishing time of 23:48. After finding Mike, I found out that he had PR'd too (just by a few seconds, but a PR is a PR) with a finishing time of 22:00.

We found Sarah and Rob at the finish line, and after hanging out for a bit we all went home.

 I love It's a Wonderful Run!

I love this race so much, and I hope that we can continue to run it every year. It is a great way to end the racing season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Remember Me?

Hi there. Remember me? I used to blog on here regularly.

 In case you forgot what I look like, and my cheesiness.

I don't know what it is lately, but I don't have much to talk about. I think it still feels like I am not doing much, and compared to Ironman training, I'm not.

After the Philly Marathon, Mike and I took the entire week off from running. We did a short run when we got back to Rochester after Thanksgiving. Since we only have a 5K left for the year, we are in our off season right now.

The off season, for us, doesn't mean that we don't do anything. Granted, we typically reduce our running mileage but we increase our swimming and cycling mileage. This was easy to do after marathon training since our last swim was a late season open water swim the second to last day of September. Our last ride was a 23 miler a week before our last swim. Whoops.

 I miss open water swimming

This week, we made up for not swimming. We both swam twice (one time was separately). My yearly goal was a bit ambitious (I didn't count how many miles I had planned before making my goal) at 150 swimming miles. I am currently at just above 91 miles, so my goal now is to hit 100+ miles. I have a friendly competition going with someone (who is close to me in swim miles) to see who has the most by December 31st. I'm pretty sure he'll beat me, especially considering our pool will be closed for two weeks starting on December 22nd. I have some work to do to hit my new goal!

I also started riding on the trainer again this week. Mike needs some motivation to start riding again (maybe for 2015 he should set some mileage goals to help with this!) I was able to get 26 miles between two rides, not too bad. My MPH has been surprisingly good, for me, at around 16mph. I'll take it!

We also brought back two things we used to do a lot more often: trail running and strength training. We did two levels (one and two) of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I think that was a bit ambitious, since we did the levels back to back in one sitting, but it was good to get some strength and core work in.

 This photo is from last year, there was a lot more water on Saturday!

Saturday, we ran 10 miles on my favorite trail. Of course, I fell right at 10 miles. Who does that? Me, I guess. My ankles have felt a little bit sore, so we will be easing back in to regular trail running.

I'm looking forward to some more unstructured, but somewhat structured, training in the next month or so before the hard training starts back up again!

Monday, December 1, 2014


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mike and I had a great time, but I am glad to be back home. I am ready to get back on a normal schedule, while the holidays are fun they are exhausting because of the travel, not sleeping in my bed and being thrown off of our regular workout and nutrition routine. It will be easy for us to get back on schedule, though, since we aren't traveling for Christmas this year.

 My brother, his girlfriend and us

If you didn't notice, the blog has a new look! Last night I was playing around with it and I decided it was time to change it up a bit. Since I race in "watermelon" colors often, I thought this was a good fit. I hope you agree!

Not including today, there are only 30 days left of the year. Where has this year gone?! It seems like yesterday that I was coming off of my injury and getting ready to start Ironman training. Now it has been more than 3 months since our Ironman and more than a week since the Philly Marathon. While we have a lot of fun adventures planned for 2015, I kind of want 2014 to slow its roll.

 The Bern makes me happy

The rest of the year, I am going to focus on me. I am going to run when and how much I want (not to the point of injury), and get back into swimming and cycling. I am ready to unplug more often, go for walks with Mike and Bernie, go to the movies (we have quite a few coming up that we need to see) and enjoy the things in life that truly make me happy.

 My little family

I am looking forward to our final race of the year, a 5K that we have run every year since we started running, and spending time with friends around the holiday.

Pretty soon it will be time to get back to business and we will be working hard to get faster and stronger. I think taking the month to focus on things that make me happy will put me in the right mindset to do just that!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap

On September 27, 2013 while out for dinner, Mike said that he wanted to run the Philadelphia Marathon in 2014. I was a bit hesitant because the race date was only 3 months after our Ironman, but we went ahead with the plan. Back in April, before we finished our Ironman, we registered for Philly.

After an 11-week training plan, race weekend arrived. Our friend, Janell, and her friend, Kelli, were also running the race so we made plans to meet up with them at the expo. Our friend, Isaac, drove from Maine to spectate and cheer us on, amazing!

 Me and Janell

The five of us met up on Saturday and made our way through the expo. Packet pick-up was a breeze and I made my way through the corral change line quickly (I had put 4:10 as an expected finishing time and based on training knew I needed to move up a few corrals). After walking around for a bit, we said our goodbyes to Janell and Kelli and got some food with Isaac.

We wrote this for Crystal, so she knew we were thinking of her!

 All of my stuff ready to go for the morning!

We went to our hotel, about fifteen minutes from the start, and hung out for a bit. Then we met up with Isaac for dinner at Bertucci's. We sat at a "high performance" table, good vibes for race day (that was an auto-correct fail by Mike's phone, we were really at a high top table)! After dinner, we went back to our hotel and got ready for race morning.

Our alarm went off at 4:40am and we got ready relatively easily (it's amazing how that hour isn't as bad when it is for a race)! The race instructions advised people to get there around 5:30am in order to get through the security line, go to the bathroom and get into corrals on time. We ended up parking, with relative ease, around 5:30am and then had to walk a bit to the race start. It didn't take any time at all to get through security and after sitting around for a bit, we stood in line for the port-a-potties.

Since I had moved up two corrals, Mike and I were in the same corral. About 10-15 minutes before the official race start we made our way into the corral and said our goodbyes. I shed my throwaway clothes at this time (except my gloves) and then went a little further back in the corral than Mike (I could see him ahead of me).

After the National Anthem, the race officially started! It took a few minutes for our corral to even start walking, but eventually we were moving. I crossed the start line at 7:13:12am, and like that I was running my 4th full marathon!

The first few miles (really the first 10K or so) were really crowded. I tried to not dodge people too much and I just kept in mind that the crowds were helping me keep my pace in check (but I was very thankful that I had moved up corrals!) Isaac had told us to stay to the right of the road, so after going through the left arch at the start, I slowly moved over.

Throughout the race I fueled really, really well! I took energy chews every 2-3 miles, depending on how I was feeling/where the water stops were. The last time I took an energy chew was at mile 22, which is the latest in a race that I have fueled. I also took water often and Gatorade 4-5 times (one time the Gatorade splashed and hit me in the eye, that wasn't really fun).

Since the race was really crowded in the beginning I tried to not worry about my pace. I saw Isaac around mile 2.5 and waved to him. The entire race I broke it up into chunks and would tell myself to get to mile 5, the 10K point, mile 10, the halfway point, mile 15, etc. It was a nice way to break it up and I never had to go too far to hit one of those mile marks.

After seeing Isaac again around mile 5.5, I hit the 10K point in 55:14 at 8:54 pace. At this time, I knew that I had to try to pick it up. I still kept my pace under control but there were a few 8:30ish miles at this point. There was also the biggest hill of the course at mile 7 and another big hill at mile 10 (but then the rest of the course was relatively flat with some up and down).

My favorite part of the race was when we started to loop back toward the half marathon finish and where marathoners would split off to continue on to the second half of the course. It was a pretty road with lots of trees and you could see some people on a small out and back section. I looked for Mike but the out and back was so small that he was already past it at this point.

At the next water stop they were announcing where water and Gatorade would be, and one guy was yelling "hamburgers on the right and cheesesteaks on the left". That made me laugh.

I was still feeling good at this point and I just focused on my nutrition and keeping my pace in check. I saw Isaac right before the halfway point and he told me that Mike and Janell were both doing well. Then we had to follow signs for marathoners to go to the left and half marathoners to go to the right. This is always the cruelest part of a race for me, but with so many marathoners it wasn't that bad this time.

I crossed the half marathon mark in 1:56:20 at 8:53 pace. I still felt good and hoped that I could keep up the pace for the second half. Around mile 14 or 15 I felt someone tap me on the arm and when I looked to my right it was Janell! I asked her how she was doing, and she said not so great and asked how I was doing. I told her I was ok and then kept going on my way.

Right after that, the leaders of the race were making their way by us! They were running so fast, it is amazing to see runners like that.

At mile 17, runners turn down a short out and back section. As soon as I turned on to the bridge I started to not feel that great but then I saw Mike! He didn't see me so I yelled out to him and then he saw me. That gave me the boost I needed to push harder.  On my way out of that section, I saw Janell and cheered her on.

I crossed the 30K point in 2:45:41 at 8:54 pace. I did start to tire at this point, and for a second I worried that I wasn't going to make my goal, but I just kept pushing. There were more crowds near the turn around point and this helped boost my spirits. There was another big-ish hill, but I just told myself that I would be running down it on the way back. I saw Mike, and he still looked great! We high-fived and kept going our separate ways.

After the turn around point, right before mile 20, I knew it was now or never. I had started to do math in my head and I knew I had to keep my pace below 10 minute miles. I was nervous once I hit 20.5 miles, my previous furthest distance run without walking, but I just kept pushing. I told myself I could slow, not too much, but that I couldn't walk. I took my last energy chew at mile 22, which was right around when I saw Janell for the last time.

Isaac appeared at the perfect time, mile 23! I was still running and I knew that I had about a 5K left. I told him Janell was behind me and then kept going.

 The lighthouse from the road while we were driving out of town

Around mile 24, I saw the Turtle Rock Lighthouse (I missed it somehow on the way out) and it made me smile. The last 6.2 miles were broken up in 2 mile chunks in my head and I told myself to keep going. I was hurting at this point but I wouldn't let myself walk! I saw Janell's friend, Kelli, around this point and we cheered each other on and high-fived.

I was still doing math in my head, but I knew that I could do it. As long as I didn't walk, I would hit my goal. I took water at the last water stop and for a brief second contemplated walking with less than a mile to go. Then I told myself that would be really silly to possible miss my goal because I wanted to walk with .8 miles to go, and I just kept pushing. Sure, I had slowed to a 10:00 mile during mile 26, but that didn't matter.

As I made my way toward the finish, I could hear the announcer. He was saying that all of the people finishing at this time were running sub-4 hour marathons, and in a few seconds I knew I was going to be one of those runners! I picked it up (where does that final burst of speed come from?) and as I got to the finish chute, I threw my arms up in the air! I had done it!

I was a sub-4 hour marathoner! I finished in 3:58:03 at 9:04 pace.

 It was a great day!

After making my way through the finishers' area, slowly, I eventually saw Mike waiting for me! I sat down in a chair and asked him how he had done. He did amazing and remained fairly even-paced throughout the entire race. He finished in 3:47:21 at 8:40 pace! We both had scored approximately 20 minute PRs!

After sitting for a few minutes, we slowly made our way out of the finishers' area. We got a photo taken together and then walked back to our car. We texted Isaac to see if he was still in the area, and after changing we walked back to get some food with him before we went our separate ways.

Last October I predicted that 2014 would be the Year of the Ironman and the Year of the Sub-4 Hour Marathon. I didn't know if it was possible, but I put everything I had out on the course and made it happen! The Philadelphia Marathon was the icing on the already well-frosted cake that is 2014!

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Almost the Off Season

This year is flying by! It seems like yesterday that we were training for our Ironman and now here we are less than two weeks away from the Philadelphia Marathon. I am so excited to put our training to the test and see what we are made of (by the way, I already know what we are made of: awesomeness)!

 How was this day almost 3 months ago?

After the marathon, we will start our "off" season. We don't actually take much time off during the year, but we only have one more race planned and it is a fun 5K that we do every December.

As much as I love marathon training, I am looking forward to a few things in the "off" season. First of all, we really cut back on swimming and cycling (read: we haven't swum or rode at all in the last month or so). As much as we know that swimming and cycling help keep us injury free, as soon as we start to ramp up our running mileage we always drop the other two sports. I think that this time around it has actually benefited us to take a break from them, but that doesn't mean I'm not ready to get back in the water and the saddle!

We are planning on doing a few group trainer rides in the winter. As much as I hate the treadmill (I won't use one), I don't mind the trainer as much. That said, when you can ride in a group it is always better!

That's another thing we will be adding again, group training sessions. We haven't really been running with friends lately since we have such specific goal paces for the Philly Marathon. After the race, we are hoping to swim, bike and run with our friends again.

This Saturday, we did run with an informal running group and it was a lot of fun! They meet on Saturdays and Sundays all year, so we will definitely be running with them more after the race. We also have a bunch of friends who run trails, and since I have my 50K in May we'll be joining them more often!

 The trails are calling! Especially this trail, the Seneca trail is my favorite!

One very important thing that we'll be getting back into during the winter months is strength training. Whether it be at the gym or a group fitness class, strength is a must! And, I'm hoping that we'll make it a habit and continue to do it during our peak training season. 

So as you can see, our "off" season isn't really any different than what we normally do!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Do I Have What it Takes?

I wish I could say that I was the kind of triathlete who is content with just having the ability to swim, bike and run.

I am not that kind of triathlete, however. Granted there are races where I am content with just doing it for fun, or running with someone else to help him/her achieve his/her goals.

 Runner's World Half - fun and hard work

The Philadelphia Marathon (and basically every marathon I have done) is not one of those races. I have made a few statements about my intentions for this race before, while keeping in mind how I felt after our Ironman could be a game-changer.

Well, I have felt GREAT after our Ironman! Yes, there was some soreness in the beginning but our paces have drastically improved since the end of August (I think that the fact we aren't putting close to 200 miles on our legs a week has something to do with that).

Run after run has felt great, there have been a few that haven't felt the best but I was still able to push through and finish. Yesterday, was not really one of those days.

I had my dose of reality yesterday. Attempting to run a sub-4 hour marathon is going to be hard work, hard work that I am willing to put in and that I think I am ready for, but hard work regardless. Yesterday's 22 miler was my worst long run of this training cycle. On the surface it doesn't look that bad, 22 miles at 9:35 pace in the cold and the wind.

 Ah, the MDI Marathon.

However, I felt mentally defeated during this run and nothing pulled me out of it. I even said, "I don't know if I can sub-4 at Philly" to Mike. I said, "I can't", "I don't want to do this anymore", etc. The one reason I even planned a 22 miler, rather than just a second 20 miler like we normally do, was so that I could get past my 20 mile threshold (the furthest I have ever run without walking is 20.5 miles). Unfortunately, yesterday that didn't happen either. I didn't even make it to 20 miles before I "had to" walk.

In the end, no one cares if I run a sub-4 hour marathon except me. And maybe Mike. Even he will be proud of me no matter what I end up doing. Most people will be proud of me no matter what I do (and those who aren't, don't matter), the time on the clock is inconsequential to everyone but me.

I am still going to give it my all, I know that I have a sub-4 hour marathon in me somewhere, and try my best. I am hoping that my best on November 23rd is 3:xx:xx, but if not that's alright too.

I am happy that I am able to run a 4:xx:xx marathon. I am happy that I am able to finish a marathon. I am happy that I am able to run at all.

But, something in me wants more. Hopefully I have what it takes.