Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Catching up... Running ahead

Riz and me: this is what
good coaching looks like!
Between coaching the tri team, and everything else last summer/fall, I kind of got out of the habit of posting new updates! Here's the cliffs notes on the pat 6 months or so:

I finished up coaching the Greater LA TNT Tri Team with my amazing fellow coaches and staff. All of our people had a great race at Vineman 70.3, and finished before cutoffs- some with some really stunning performances! The highlight of my day was being able to be there on the run course for our people- I went on a stealth coaching mission and took my bike out on the run route to support people out in the depths of despair in the hotter and lonelier parts of the course. I saw people digging deep and really giving it their all. I even had the great opportunity to ride a good portion of the run course with Cole, who was having a tough day physically and emotionally. She battled it out though and was able to keep her pace up and finish with time to spare!

 After Tri season, I turned my attention to some more personal goals- some "normal people" activities like socializing in a non-spandex wardrobe, ceramics class, and training for the Hood To Coast Relay, and my first marathon (not attached to an ironman)!

Van #2- Luke, Elisabeth, Monica, Me, Adam, and Marvin
Hood to Coast is a relay race of 199 miles up near Portland, OR. Teams of 12 runners in 2 vans run from Mt. Hood, all the way to the coast - non-stop - over the course of about 40 hours or so. Each team of 12 generally comes up with a team name, and costumes that differentiate them from other vans/runners out on the course. Our team name was "It's All About ME" in honor of our friend Mari (initials ME). She had planned to run the relay with us- and we wanted to honor her memory and carry her with us throughout the event.

High-fiving Adam after his 2nd leg of the relay
  Each runner in the team of 12 runs 3 legs of the race- of varying length and difficulty. My first leg was great- I felt super fast, and did pretty well. My second leg was in the middle of the night - in the rain, and would have been great, if my dinner hadn't decided to disagree with me.

Keeping track of how many legs were done on the windows of the van

The weather turned very hot and dry for my third and final leg, on which I had unfortunately decided to make a bet with my iron-teammate Travis. If I ran it fast enough, he would come back to ironteam this fall, if not, he was off the hook for this season. (Un)Luckily for Travis, I was able to tough it out and just made it fast enough so that he would have to join Ironteam again for Hawaii 70.3 this summer (you're welcome Travis!).

Ready for the hand-off from Luke for my last leg

Post-finish team photo 

After the race, we did some sightseeing in Portland, visited the coast, saw the Goonies house, ate a lot of donuts, and had a really great trip.

 After Hood To Coast, it was time to focus on the marathon...

Scotty and me 

I convinced about a dozen of my friends to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC at the end of October- a race I've been wanting to do for a little while now, especially because it's so close to home for me.

Marvin and me running by the Capitol
I wasn't going for any big time goals, just doing it "for fun", so I may not have trained as hard as I could have for it in the end. Regardless, I flew to DC with about a dozen friends, and we all had a great time.

The race itself for me was a challenge. It is definitely different to run a marathon by itself vs running the same 26.2 miles after a  2.4 mile + 112 mile warm up. The morning of the race was freezing cold and I have now learned that I need to bring a throw-away blanket to the start of a race like this. That said, the start of the race was just EPIC! They had an a cappella group sing the national anthem as paratroopers glided down from planes/helicopters that few overhead- the parachutes were American flags and each jumper had a huge flag attached to them waving in the wind as they glided down. It was probably the most patriotic thing I've ever seen- super cool.

Marvin, me, and Scotty at the finish

The race takes you from Arlington cemetery, out and around DC, past monuments and the national mall and back to the cemetery ending at the Iwo Jima memorial. Luckily for me, my very good friends Marvin and Scott decided to run the whole race with me, so we were all together the whole time, staying on interval, them keeping me in a positive mindset through the tough parts of the race.

All in all I was impressed with the way the different parts of the race were handled- especially with tens of thousands of people. The start, the aid stations, the finish line- the whole race was very well organized- with military precision, naturally.
At the finish line, a Marine hands you
your medal and salutes you-
really, really inspiring

My best friend Katelyn, my college roomie Jessica, as well as my Mom and Dad, and Aunt Didi came out to watch and cheer, which was awesome!
After the race went out for food and drinks and I even got to see some of my friends in northern VA who I don't see enough of (Jennifer, Scott, Kenneth J). It was a huge treat to get to spend a little time with them (while drinking a beer and eating chicken n' waffles, yumm). 

The following weekend marked the start of iron team season! Yes that's right, I'm at it again! This time I've signed up to fundraise for LLS and train for Ironman Mont Tremblant in Quebec Canada this coming August! 
More updates coming soon - I promise! 

Please consider donating to help LLS and "sponsor a mile" or two of my upcoming ironman!