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I’ve Moved!

My blog has made a move! I decided that new year = new blog. Come on over and visit me at:

http://lunachickruns.com

Please update your google readers, as My Neverending Story will no longer be active. At the new site I will be blogging about running, triathlon, food, and of course the randomness that is my life. Hope to see you there!

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Six weeks

Somehow time has been flying by at warp speed, and I find myself six weeks out from Ironman. The next four of those six, starting today, will be the most important weeks of my training. I have managed to get this far without missing too many workouts (sometimes I just cannot bring myself to swim three times per week), and without injury.

In the next four weeks I will bring on the miles like never before. Most week days have 2 workouts, and the weekends are long. I have a 3 hour run on Saturday and a 5.5 hour bike on Sunday, and things just increase from there. I am also planning to get out to Verona to ride the actual bike course, which scares the crap out of me. I will pretty much eat, sleep, work, and train. Oh yeah, and spend time with the hubby, attend family functions,  go boating, and throw three nights of camping in there too. Yay summer!

There is still a lot of work ahead, but now the race is close enough that I am getting excited. I can visualize myself during the race, and I can see myself crossing the finish line. I am praying for good weather but mentally preparing for cold, hot, rain and wind. I am determined.

Bring it on.

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Penalized

Well, now my Spirit of Racine finishing time makes more sense. I re-checked the results today, and low and behold, I had a big fat 4 minute penalty next to my name. I wish it said what exactly it was for, but I am quite certain it must have been a drafting or blocking violation on the bike. (Or something like that). Though I didn’t intentionally break the rules, I can’t argue with the race officials and what they saw. So here are my official times:

Swim: 31:10

T1: 3:04

Bike: 3:01:49

T2: 2:02

Run: 1:56:23

Penalty: 4:00

Total: 5:38:26

Darn it. It would have been cool to officially break 5:35, but oh well. I guess I’ll have to be more careful next time.

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Last year in the days leading up to this race, I was pretty much terrified. It was to be my first half-ironman, and only my second triathlon ever. I ended up having so much fun at this event last year, and I was hoping I would feel the same this year, even though the “newness” factor would be missing.

The night before the race, I packed up all of my gear and took a relaxing bath in our whirlpool tub. I read a book for a little while, and then I fell asleep quickly around 9:45. I slept terribly, and woke up before my 3:45am alarm. I got up in the dark and made coffee, ate breakfast, and got ready. My ride came at 4:45 and we were off. We decided to stop at a gas station when we got off the freeway to avoid waiting in line for a port-o-potty at the race. Good decision. We made our way to the race site and found a parking spot, and then it was off to transition.

I got all of my gear set up and chatted with a few people around me. Here is all of my stuff set up:

IMG_2044

During this time, the race director announced that the water temperature was 64 degrees. This was great news, as last year it was only 55, which was ridiculous. Looking at the swim buoys, I noticed that they were definitely closer to shore than last year. The swim is a point-to-point, so we walked a mile down the beach to the start line. I made a point to get in the water before the race and get used to it. It was cold, but not too bad. I stuck my face in and practiced swimming for a few strokes, and I felt ready.

The Swim

31:10

This race has a wave start, so while the elites went off right at 7am, I had to wait until 7:12 to start. I lined up towards the back and slightly to the outside, and when the siren went off, I started my watch and ran into the water. The whole swim is really shallow, so we ran out quite a ways before anyone actually started swimming. Last year, the water was so cold that it literally took my breath away, and I couldn’t keep my face in the water. This year, though the water was much warmer, I still panicked and just could not stick my face in and start swimming. I had the same dreaded feeling of “oh my god I can’t do this.” Again, after a few minutes of flailing around and inhaling/swallowing mouth-fulls of water, I was able to calm down and start swimming.

After a short time, I saw a few people just in front of me walking. Then my hands started dragging on the bottom. I stood up and walked a little ways because it is a bit difficult to swim in such shallow water. Soon it was deep enough to swim again, and I got into a pretty good rhythm. Each time I would pass a buoy, the next one would look really far away, but before I knew it, I was there. I managed to stay on course, and the swim went by really fast. As I was running out of the water, I glanced at my watch and it said 28 min. That’s when I knew that the course was way short. I know I am a better swimmer than I was last year, but I am nowhere near that fast. Like I said, the buoys were much closer to shore this year, yet the start and finish were in the exact same spot.

I ran through the sand up the beach to the transition area, and prepared myself mentally for the bike.

T1

3:04

I got my wetsuit off, tried to get most of the sand off of my feet, put on my socks, bike shoes and helmet, and I was off.

The Bike

3:01:49 – 18.5 mph average

I really wanted to improve on the bike this year. Last year the story of my life was getting passed, and passed, and passed. Well, this year, the story of my life was pretty much getting passed, and passed, and passed. I am just not a super-fast biker compared to most triathletes. My goal was to come in around 3 hours, and I felt really strong in the beginning. I also wanted to really nail my nutrition and take in enough calories. My plan was to eat 2 Clif Blocks every 30 minutes, and also take in sports drink and water.

The weather was pretty chilly, so I knew it was going to be a struggle to stay hydrated. I just never feel like drinking a lot when I am cold. Thirty minutes in, I grabbed my first pack of Clif Blocks. I opened the pack with my teeth, and promptly dropped the whole thing on the ground. Doh! There goes half of the nutrition I had with me. I tried not to worry about it too much, and was able to grab a gel pack at the first aid station.

The thing that probably surprised me the most was the amount of time I spent in the aero-bars. In training, I don’t use them too much because I am always afraid of the traffic and the bumpy roads throwing me off balance. During the race, I spent probably 95% of the bike comfortably in aero. This definitely helped me improve my speed over last year. The course has a lot of rolling hills, and they were starting to take a bit of a toll towards the end. My training rides have been pretty much completely flat, so my legs aren’t used to the rollers. I was glad when the bike was over and it was time to run.

T2

2:02

I racked my bike and quickly changed shoes. As I was grabbing my nutrition, I could hear the announcer at the finish line. “We should have our winner crossing the line at any minute!!”  The elite athletes just blow my mind.

The Run

2:00:23 – 9:12 average pace

As I exited transition, I glanced at my watch, and it read 3:38. I was really happy because I knew at this point that I would come in under 6 hours, which was my goal. I started out slow, knowing that there are two short steep hills right at the beginning. The run is a double out and back, so it is easy to break it into 4 sections. I took the first section really easy, and was feeling good. At the end of section 2, you come within about 100 ft of the finish line, but have to turn left for lap 2. At the start of the second half, I glanced at my watch. It read 4:37. Holy crap, could I break 5:35?? I picked up and decided to see what would happen. At the  last turn around, I was still feeling good, so I picked it up a little more. I was passing a lot of people, and felt strong. As the finish line approached, I glanced at my watch again and knew it would be close. I ran as fast as I could and had a great finish. I stopped my watch and it read 5:34:32. Woohoo!

IMG_2045

I was estatic. I couldn’t believe how much I improved in one year. I was also really happy that I ran in under 2 hours. Or so I thought. 

When I checked the official results online, my finish time was 5:38:26, and my run was listed as just over 2 hours. I know for a fact that my run was faster, so the only thing I can think of is that I somehow got a penalty on the bike that added a few minutes. I can’t imagine that I actually had a drafting violation, but the times just don’t add up. In any case, I am still thrilled with my time, which was approximately 35 minutes faster than last year.

I was able to accomplish this with no taper at all, in fact I had a really heavy training week leading up to the race. I did take off the day before to give my legs a rest, and they felt really good all day. One thing that was weird was my lungs got really sore. I think it’s probably because I inhaled so much water in the swim, and I wasn’t able to take a really deep breath during the bike or the run. They were still sore this morning, and even now over 24 hours later, I still have to tightness when I breath deeply. Like I said, weird.

So here’s a look at the numbers:

                                2009                    2008

Swim                      31:10                     38:56  

T1                             3:04                       4:34

Bike                      3:01:49                 3:14:51

T2                             2:02                        3:41   

Run                       2:00:23                 2:11:15

Finish                    5:38:26                 6:13:18

Overall a great race and I know I have a lot of room to improve, especially on the bike. Ironman, here I come.

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We came, we stormed

One of my favorite local runs every year is the Storm the Bastille 5k, kicking off the 4-day Bastille Days festival downtown. The run starts at 9pm, which always makes for beautiful conditions. Last night I went and met up with a bunch of runners, including my brother who was running in his first ever 5k. Before the run he said he was going to try and keep up with me, and I was skeptical. He barely ever runs, but by the time the race started he was so pumped that he was talking about training for a marathon. Woah Mike, one step at a time.

The start was very crowded as usual, so it took us a while to get any speed going. I hopped onto the sidewalk to start passing people, and assumed I had left everyone else behind. A minute or two later, I heard “hey sis,” over my shoulder. Mike was still with me. We picked up the pace and ran together. About half way through he was breathing pretty hard. I asked if he was ok, and he just said “gotta do it.” We slowed slightly and pressed on. I decided at this point that I would not take off on him, I wanted us to finish together. The last mile is a gradual uphill, and he was definitely struggling, but he dug deep and held on all the way to the finish. We ended up crossing the line in 22:56, for a 7:24 average pace! I was so impressed and proud of my little bro. Here he is shortly after the big finish, clearly on a runner’s high:

A few minutes later my new sister-in-law Omoleye met up with us, she also had a great run. Here’s a crappy camera phone pic of the three of us:

And yes, I did say new sister-in-law! They tied the knot in DC a couple of weeks ago, and are planning a wedding celebration for family and friends next summer. They had photographer Abby Jiu meet them for breakfast the morning of, and captured some great shots, shown here. I get to hang out with them for a couple more days before they head back to DC.

After the run, I just need to mention that I ate the most amazing crepe at Bastille Days. It was stuffed full of mint chocolate chip ice cream and smothered in chocolate sauce. My friend Cammie got one stuffed with vanilla ice cream and covered in strawberry sauce, which was almost equally delicious. I may have to go back to Bastille days just to try another flavor. So good.

Now I am gearing up for another fun-filled weekend full of running, boating, eating out, biking, and likely more boating. Man I love summer.

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Oh, hi. It’s me. Obviously I haven’t had much time to devote to the old blog lately. It’s summer, by the way, officially. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the happenings of last Thursday night. Also known as Summerfest opening night, or the day I went to the Bon Jovi concert. That’s right, my friends, Bon Jovi. The man who’s New Jerseyalbum cassette tape insert I would bring to school in the 6th grade. Because I could not survive one day apart from dear John, and could not go one recess on the playground without kissing him. Oh, that trench coat was so sexy. And the long flowing hair. And the smile. I was ob.sessed.

Lucky for me, my aunt and uncle once again purchased season passes for the Marcus Amphitheatre this year. Also lucky for me, they are super kind and generous. My aunt Beth invited me and two of my cousins to go to the concert, and bask in the spoils of being a VIP at Summerfest.

First up, the Captain’s Deck. Located above Louise’s on the south end of Summerfest overlooking the lake, the fun began. We staked out a table and the free drinks started flowing. Here we are enjoying the moment:

Kelly, Amy, and Beth

Me, Kelly, and Amy

The people watching was fab from our aerial vantage point. We partook in the free Saz’s buffet at 4:00, as well as the free ice cream treats. It was also during this time that we first heard the news about Michael Jackson, and it will be forever etched in my mind as a “where were you when…”

Around 7:30 we made our way over to the Marcus. The opening act was playing, but since none of us had heard of them before, we headed over to the VIP beer garden. Here we were given more free drink tickets, as well as exclusive access to private, air conditioned port-o-potty trailers. That’s right, we even got private bathrooms. We had a drink or two, and it was time for Bon Jovi.

We headed to our 12th row seats just as he was taking the stage. When we reached our seats, we promptly hyperventilated because John was right there. Oh lord have mercy, let me tell you something. The man is 47, and he’s still got it. The second song was You Give Love a Bad Name, and the crowd was pumped. The digital zoom on my camera sucks, but this is a pretty good representation of our proximity.

The show was awesome. John and Richie had some moments:

They played pretty much all of the older hits, as well as some new stuff. I liked all of the newer songs they played even though I didn’t know some of them. When it comes down to it, I think he just knows how to put on a show. They ended the encore with Livin’ on a Prayer, and the crowd was going nuts. It was the most fun I can remember having at a concert in a long time.

After being so spoiled with the VIP treatment, I don’t know if I really care to go to Summerfest the “normal” way. We are going out of town for the weekend, so I don’t know if we will get down there or not, but I am completely satisfied with my Summerfest experience already this year. Thanks John, for rockin’ the house.

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End of May update

Wow, things have been a little crazy the past couple of weeks. No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth. I have just been ridiculously busy. Between a new full time job, two video side projects, and training 11+ hours per week, there hasn’t been much time for the blog.

The job – I really like it so far. I do not like the 30 minute each way commute, but I knew that would suck going into it. My day was made on Friday when I stopped at the one place on my way to work that looked like they may deal in coffee. Imagine my delight when upon further inspection, I discovered that not only does this little cafe have a drive through, but they serve Alterra coffee! And they have a punch card. Jackpot!

Side projects – Yuck. I have one really crappy one on my plate that needs to get done today. On a Sunday. And it is sunny outside. Boo!

Training – It’s going well. I haven’t missed a single workout since I started officially training for Ironman. That means I have completed 1-2 workouts per day every day since May 10th. After my long bike ride today, I am headed into a taper week. The schedule I am following consists of a three week build, and then a one week taper, and then repeat. Taper weeks also come with one day off, so this coming Friday I have a rest day. Weird. I have gotten used to waking up between 5 and 6 so I can work out before work, and I am much less tired than I thought I would be. I guess my body is just getting used to it.

That’s all I got. Hopefully once things calm down a bit with my side projects I will have time for more updates. And with that, it is just about June. Are you listening mother nature? JUNE. I expect temperatures at least in the 70’s from now on. Thanks in advance.

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