Friday, March 26, 2010

2010 Gator Half Iron Tri

Thanks, everyone, for the congrats, ankle condolences and baby shower wishes, too, LOL. I'm happy to report that the ankle is MUCH better now, almost normal looking. It's still weak, though, so I'll be taking things slow. No races until May, which is good.

As for being a superhero? No, not me. I just did what I've always done when I fell down: I got back up and found a way to get home. But more on that in a bit.

First of all, I chose the Gator Half Iron Tri because it was a small race with a flat course and hopefully cool weather being held in March. Last year, my training/racing was all about hills and heat and, to be honest, I was sick of it. I just wanted to see how fast I could go in flat, cool conditions for a change!


I was joined by three fellow BPY Tri Club members. Two of us on the left were half iron vets while the other two were newbs. The other woman, Jacklynn, is the coach of the club, however, and a very good swimmer, spinning instructor and a strong runner so I knew she'd do well even if it was her first half iron. We also had a few other tri club members and family members come out to spectate and support us adding to the fun.


With only ~80 participants, the race had just one "mass" swim start and it was actually my first in-water start (as opposed to a beach start). We lucked out with 68 deg water temps so I went with my sleeveless wetsuit. How that happened, I don't know but I'll take 68 over 58 any day!!


The swim course was two rectangular loops plus some and I swam fairly hard from the get-go, another first. Still, by the second lap I was swimming mostly by myself, as usual. Man, these folks are fast! (or is it I'm still slow?)


Whatev. Except for my wetsuit pull-string wrapping itself around my right arm and my swim cap creeping off my head, I was very pleased with my swim. I was only a few minutes behind many others and with a strong bike would be seeing them again soon.

1.2 mi Swim: 39:07 (1:51/100 yds), a 5-min PR!


In transition, I had a great spot on the end right next to the bike exit as I was one of the first to rack my bike the day before. Gotta love small races where you can rack your bike wherever you want, first come first serve.

T1: 2:25, one of my fastest T1 times but mainly because the transition area was very close to the water.



The bike course was FABULOUS, one big oblong-shaped flat loop. We had a 10-12 mph headwind starting out (notice flags in swim exit photo) that grew to 15-20 mph as a front moved in. But having ridden in much stronger winds the weekend before, it didn't seem bad to me. I just stayed down in aero and kept telling myself the wind is my friend, the wind is my friend ... I passed the two male tri club teammates by mile 20 or so and gave both guys a cheer. Probably never fun being chicked but at least if it's by a teammate or someone friendly maybe it's not as bad?

Mile 29 was where the course turned so we'd have the wind mostly at our backs. I'd averaged 18.6 mph up to that point and now it was time for the fun to begin!



WEEEE!!! I never saw my Garmin go below 20 mph again. Around mile 40, I finally caught up to Coach Jacklynn, who'd come out of the water 8 minutes ahead of me (she will no doubt be much harder to catch in the future). By then it was raining but the roads were straight and I saw no reason to slow down. In fact, I decided to speed UP a little knowing the weather would be getting worse soon. The last 5 miles or so, Dave found me on his bike and a couple tri club members drove by in a car cheering, which pumped me up even more. Thanks guys!!!



The hardest part of the bike course to me was this little maybe 50-yd dirt path between the bike mount/dismount point and the transition area. The rest I give 10 stars on a scale of 1 to 5.

56 mi Bike: 2:45:54 (20.3 mph), not a PR but only 16 sec slower than my fastest half iron bike split which was on a course that was actually 1.5-2 miles shorter.



T2: 1:15, fairly fast but the porta pottys outside of the transition area would be my next stop.



With that taken care of, I was now ready to blast the 2-lap run. The clouds, rain and wind kept temps well below 70 making this the coolest weather I've ever raced a half iron in by far and I felt very strong coming off the bike. I didn't start my Garmin until I got out of the porta-potty but ran my first mile at a 7:52 pace, which felt quite manageable. Hmm, a 1:45 half marathon might be doable?

I saw a couple of paper Gatorade cups on the ground from an aid station I'd just passed. No biggie to step on one, right?

WRONG!!! The next thing I knew I was down on the ground with a familiar sharp pain in my left ankle. ?#@$&%!!! Was there a rock or something in the cup?

I couldn't believe it. The race had gone superbly up to that point and now this stupid misstep. Fortunately, there was no one else around at the time as I HATE falling in front of people (the aid station was unmanned because they were short on volunteers). I got myself back up on my right foot and wiped off the dirt and asphalt pieces embedded in my right palm. My right knee was bleeding from a scrape but nothing major. Then I tried to put some weight on my left foot. OWWIE!!!!!!!

Crap! It was very painful so I was worried at first that I couldn't continue but then I remembered my last ankle incident at the Little Rock Marathon three years ago. Yes, unfortunately it's happened before ... There I'd rolled the same left ankle on, ironically, a little rock at mile 8. It was also very painful to walk on at first but I kept trying not wanting to have to come back and run another Arkansas marathon. At that race, the pain subsided some as I kept moving and eventually I was able to jog/run pretty well and go on to finish -- 16 more miles! Then my ankle swelled up like a melon and hurt like hell afterward ...

So I tried the same here. Sure enough, my initial very painful limp became just a painful limp, then a slow jog with a sorta painful limp, then a slow jog with a less painful limp and eventually a jog/run with tolerable pain on every left footstep. Adrenaline is a powerful painkiller! After a while, probably few could even tell I'd hurt my ankle but I knew. It felt weak and wobbly and I had to be super careful to make sure I didn't roll it again or it'd probably be the end of my race.

After a turnaround on an out-and-back section, I saw Coach Jacklynn coming towards me meaning she was a few minutes behind me. I told her what happened and she gave me some words of encouragement and a high five, which I very much needed. Then I saw a couple other tri club folks cheering for me on a corner which also helped raise my spirits. Then hubby Dave was at mile 3 helping out at an aid station (have I mentioned they were short on volunteers?). Having seen me run countless times, he knew something was not right.

Dave: What's wrong?
Me: I'm going to need ace bandages and ice when I finish.
Dave: What happened?
Me: I rolled my ankle back at mile 1.

Dave knew better than to ask me too many questions or try to baby me when I'm hurting. The next mile I felt my ankle stiffening up and was forced to slow down some more. Grrrrr ... I went through the 5 stages of grief and accepted the fact that Coach Jacklynn would probably be passing me soon but I'd try to hold off any other females if I could ;-)

Meanwhile, Dave hopped on his bike and began working at the next aid station for a bit while waiting for me to go by. He amazed some folks by appearing to be everywhere on the course handing out cups and food, snapping pictures, and cheering for folks, and not just me. What a guy!


Two of my tri club teammates.

As I came back to the transition area to begin lap 2, another tri club member who'd come to support us came up alongside and ran a few steps with me. I tried to tell him how I'd rolled my ankle, had probably blown my PR, blah-blah, wah-wah, but he wouldn't hear of it. He just kept telling me how awesome I was doing and to keep going and finish strong. Dang it, why won't he listen?

Then I realized that Coach Jacklynn hadn't passed me yet so perhaps I was doing OK. Maybe I still have a shot at a PR? No, Silly, your goal is to just finish this race. Focus on the ground and make sure you don't fall again!

The second lap required even more caution and concentration with more people on the run course and the thunderstorm fully upon us. We were running in squall-like conditions at times and everyone was encouraging each other while doing their best to avoid huge puddles, cars and each other. Jokes were being made about the rain coming down so hard that you wouldn't need a shower after the race and the rivers of water on the roads making you wish you had a canoe to paddle your way to the finish. And, the volunteers, OMG, what few there were, were still out there holding onto their umbrellas and raincoats while also trying to do their job in the driving rain and wind. Crazy!!



They actually made me think that running was easier, even with a sprained ankle. At least I was moving and staying warm and would be done soon. That is, provided I was able to stay upright on that same little stretch of dirt to the transition area that also led to the finish line, my least favorite part of the run course as well. Here's a little video clip of me finishing (TRT 14 sec):




So, as you can see, no heroics. I just kept moving which kept most of the swelling and pain at bay. The "No Way" comment was because I couldn't believe my ears when I heard my finish time (the overhead clock was knocked out by the rain but there was someone calling it out). I hadn't looked at my Garmin since my fall and had no clue what pace I was running or what my race time was. It was a total shock!

Final race time: 5:12:22, 1/3 F45-49, 7/22 Females
12* mi Run: 1:43:42 (8:38 pace).
*Again, the course was short.



Then I headed straight to the EMT to get my ankle wrapped up and iced as I knew it was going to balloon up as soon as I stopped. Coach Jacklynn finished a few minutes later with big smile on her face.



Oh, as for gators? The only gator I saw at this race were chunks in a rice dish they served at the finish. Tasted like chicken :-)



Thanks to Dave and my tri club buddies for a great day of racing, smiles and photos. And thank YOU, Dear Readers, for your patience!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Precursor

I know, I know. I still owe you a race report but something arrived in my e-mailbox today that I thought was the perfect precursor:

______________________

Here's to us, those born between 1930 - 1979 !!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets on our heads.

And when we had our sleds, we tied them to the bumper of a car and had a really neat ride as long as you made sure you didn't slide under the car when it stopped.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts, air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter or lard and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight ... WHY? Because we were always outside playing. That's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps, and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We didn't have Play Stations, Nintendo's and X-Boxes. There were no video games, 150 channels on cable, video movies, DVD's, surround-sound, CD's, cell phones, personal computers, Internet or chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS, and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms didn't live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house, knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

______________________

Next up will be my race report, I promise!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gator Half Results


The run was about a mile short but no complaints. It would've been a PR either way.



Euwwww, a cankle.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh No, Not Again!!!



As some of you know, I have weak ankles. I can almost just look at a rock and roll my ankle on it. In fact, this one I never even saw and still went down. But, I did finish the race. Back with more after the final race results for the Gator Half Iron are posted.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Did You Get This Way?

This is a question that I often get asked and was asked again this week while running with a fellow tri club member in his 20's. What I think he meant was "How did an old lady like you get so fast?" OK, maybe not quite that but along those lines.

Of course, I am NOT really that fast but it has become apparent that I am faster than average when it comes to running, especially for my age (48). But how did a math/science geek, someone whose parents discouraged her from doing sports, who often finished last running laps in P.E. classes, who never did any competitive sports growing up, who has no remarkable weight loss or cancer victory story ... GET THIS WAY???

To be honest, I think it's just simply consistency and stubbornness (Dave calls it strong will). While I don't have any sports background, I did get into jogging/running back in the 70's when I was about 16. My parents hated the idea because they thought girls shouldn't be out running but my best friend had a crush on a guy who ran XC and, well, it was more important that our clique do everything we could to help her see him, which meant running (even though most of us weren't runners!).

Throughout college, grad school and into my mid-30's, I was very career driven and took pride in studying/working 60-80 hours a week. I continued to ignore my parents and jog/run off and on for some semblance of fitness but largely for stress relief. Running was a good way to get away from the desk, solve problems and let my mind relax so I could go to sleep or go back to work and get more done later. The last thing I wanted to do was put more stress on myself, however, so I never pushed myself to go fast, never kept track of mileage, pace, time or how often I did it (maybe once a week, once a month, who knows???). I do remember running fairly often when my dad was dying of cancer, though, but that was just a phase during a very stressful time.

In 2002, at age 40, I finally entered my first race, a half marathon, while visiting Kona with my sister and her husband. They'd run races before and encouraged me to sign up. I was actually in great shape (one of my 40th birthday goals) from taking karate and gym classes but I remember being terrified. I was so afraid of being timed, of having to run with other people, of having to drink out of a cup, of finishing last. No one was more shocked than I was to discover that I could run sub-8 minute miles! Maybe ~25 years of slow off and on jogging/running had given me a good aerobic base?

And similarly in 2005 at my first triathlon, I got a big surprise. First, I had no idea how tough swimming 400m would be. I hated swimming back then and didn't really know how to swim except to save my life. I freaked out when others touched me and went off course into some weeds (where gators were surely waiting to eat me). I eventually got back on course thanks to a kayaker and came out of the water nearly dead last after the longest, scariest 15 minutes of my life. Then was I was soooooo relieved (and then pissed) that I went on to hammer on the bike and run. When I finished, all I could think of was that I had to learn how to really swim so I could do more tris! So I signed up for an Ironman ...

But one thing for sure, I don't think of myself as a natural or hardcore athlete at all. I enjoy training and racing, yes, but what I'm looking for is simply more variety and quality in my life. As I've mentioned before, I had a fairly sheltered upbringing and a lot of fears growing up. There are a lot of things I didn't do because I was too Type A in school/work, too worried about trying new things and sucking at them, too uptight about not being able to control things the way I want, too whatever. Karate challenged me to look at things differently and in endurance sports now, I am quite different, or at least trying to be. I'm continually finding ways to keep things fun, keep active and keep improving myself *without* running myself into the ground. That's what I think has allowed me to "Get This Way" and whatever happens Sunday at the Gator Half Iron Tri, I'm keepin on keepin on.

Thank you for your kind comments on my previous post. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Winter Park 10K

Alternative titles for this post:

46:05, I Survived!
Slip & Slide
Twist & Turn
B Race, Be Careful
Zone 4, Ouch

I gave myself an extra day before writing this race report to allow me to gain some perspective. Because I was not really pleased right after my race. I'd hoped to run a negative split and finish in 46:00 or better. Instead, I ended up with a positive split and 5 seconds over my time goal. 5 SECONDS!!!

BUT, when I set that time goal awhile ago, I had no idea how technical the course would be: 25 turns (click on the map above to enlarge), half on uneven brick roads (yuck!) and quite wet and slippery thanks to two days of heavy rain. Have I mentioned that I train almost exclusively on fairly straight, smooth roads and bike paths that are relatively free of puddles, slick leaves, slimy algae/moss and toe-catching surfaces?

Man, my heart rate was over 100 just waiting at the start. Coach's last instructions to me echoed in my head:

Be very careful with the cobbles and the crowds - this race is a tough one because of the course and people - stay out of harms way.

Plus, he'd assigned me a 60-mile bike ride to do after the race and a 10-mile run the next day. Gee, thanks Coach ... Perhaps that was his way of making sure I didn't overdo things at this 10K. After all, it was only a "B" race while the half iron tri next week is my "A" race.

Yet, at least I'd made it to the start line. Since my last post, I actually had some serious doubts. On Wednesday my left calf mysteriously began feeling like I'd done a hundred heel raises. WTF? I haven't a clue why but it was same calf that bothered me most from the half marathon back in December and I was quite worried. I bailed on all runs this week and only swam, stretched and foam rolled hoping I could run by the weekend. By Friday it was better, thankfully.



Before the race began I found Running Geezer 26.2 and Sheri (photo of us above but from after the race), who'd run 10Ks before and this particular course a couple times. I wanted to make sure I didn't start out too fast and hoped to run with Jim the first mile or so as he'd told me he'd be shooting to run 7:30-ish pace. But, that was before we knew the course was going to be slick. At the start he told me he was going to back off his original pace to make sure he didn't slip and fall. The gun went off and I followed him for about the first half mile through two 90-degree turns until the crowd thinned out. I hit mile marker one where the course clock said 7:30. Right on target.

But how long did it take for me to get across the start line?

Of course, that answer would have been easy if I'd just looked at my Garmin and computed the time difference but I was WAY too busy. Avoid running on slippery leaves! Don't run on the painted line! Pick your feet up on that brick! Watch out for sneaky depressions! Stay clear of puddles! Whoa, felt a little slide on that last step -- be careful! Don't slip, don't trip and whatever you do, DON'T FALL!

And all the twists and turns on the course were driving me nuts. I never felt like I could get into a rhythm. Ack, another turn! Which line to take? Hop up on the grass to avoid the big puddle? No, go wide, go wide! No, don't go wide, there's someone passing on that side! Slow down and get up on that grass! Eeks, it's squishy. Don't roll an ankle! Whew, made it. Now speed back up!

So they say this is a very scenic course but all I saw was the ground below me. I ran mainly by effort but began feeling like I was working way too hard by mile 5. There wasn't much shade on this stretch of road we were on and the temperature was now about 60 degs F, which with 90% humidity felt hot (esp. having run in cooler, drier conditions much of this year). Blech! To make matters worse, we went around a traffic circle that made me think I was still somewhere back on mile 4 (I got it mixed up with a lake we were supposed to go around, a lake that I missed seeing!). AHHHH! Slow down, you've still got 2 more miles to go!

Obviously, I'd lost my mind at this point in the race. I'd lost count of the miles. I'd forgotten the last course clock time. I finally glanced down at my Garmin, saw 83 and assumed it was 4.83 miles (it was HR 183!). I glanced down again a little while later and it still said 83. Gah, screw it, just keep running!

But a couple turns later I saw a familiar stretch of brick (like the road we started on) and glanced up to see finish line straight ahead -- Woohoo! There were two women not far ahead of me, one further front who was in her 20's and another one who was possibly in my age group (AG). Is it just me who wishes people's ages are written on their calfs at every race? The second one kept turning around to see where I was and made me decide to drop the hammer and leave nothing out on the course. I'll figure out how to do the bike ride later!

As I passed her she told me "good job" and I tried to say "thanks" but I think all that came out was a grunt. After that I just focused on the bricks to make sure I didn't do a face plant on the final stretch. I didn't even see the finish line clock as I ran under it!


Gun time: 46:12
Net time: 46:05 (7:25 pace), 5/113 F45-49, 41/979 Female

FWIW, here are my Garmin splits:
mi 1, 7:23, AHR 165
mi 2, 7:21, AHR 177
mi 3, 7:15, AHR 184
mi 4, 7:19, AHR 185
mi 5, 7:29, AHR 183
mi 6, 7:35, AHR 183
0.27 mi, 6:34 pace, AHR 184
Tot 6.27 mi in 46:07, 7:21 pace, AHR 180 - zone 4*
*Ouch. Perhaps I started out a bit too fast but I think the slippery, twisty course really made me work a LOT harder than I expected!

Whatever, being my first 10K, it's a PR either way :-)


I stuck around afterwards to watch my friend Marathon Chris finish with a 2:32 PR. Congrats, Chris!

Then a couple hours later, Dave and I rode 60 miles on one of the windiest days this year (steady winds shown in the left, gusts in the right). Averaged only 16.9 mph, but I'm just glad we were able to get it done.

Sunday (today), 10 miles run on a cool, breezy, low humidity day. 9:10 avg pace, AHR 153. Zone 1 bliss!

Next Sunday, the Gator Half Iron Tri!!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Pie Training

Pie? Did someone say pie???

This may sound funny but I am more nervous about the 10K than I have been about my marathons or iron tris. There's so much more time during a long race to settle down, get into a groove and even fix things if they don't go right at first. To me, there's more reliance on endurance, my strength, and less on guts and speed, which don't come easy for me. Some may disagree but here's how I view long races vs. short races (Other includes nutrition, weather, luck, etc.):



To improve as an athlete, though, I need to be eating more red and yellow pieces. Any more blue pieces would be like just eating more "fat". It may taste good but it's not going to help me meet my goals. Bringing out more racing guts and speed is mostly mental for me. That is, I know I have some but they're tucked away deep behind some big mental barriers. This week I experimented with a few things to try to break them down.

#1 - Run for your life

Hearing the about Chelsea King's recent murder, I was reminded about Nicole Ganguzza, another young woman who was slain while running on a popular bike path near where I live, and the two times I've been nearly attacked too. You want motivation to run fast? Run past where Nicole's body was found four times and remind yourself how fast you ran when chased by a crazy naked guy and a hooded villain on a bicycle. Not the most pleasant of thoughts but effective for last Thursday's run:

6 mi, get faster every 2: 7:46, 7:54, 7:30, 7:30, 7:09, 7:03
7:29 avg, AHR 172. A solid solo run for me!


#2 - Ride like a roadie

Established group rides can often be very intimidating to newcomers with other riders (mostly guys) all decked out in their fancy kits (club/team uniforms), $$$$ bikes and legs of sinewy steel. Dave and I showed up at an Eastside Cycling Club (ESCC) group ride for the first time last Saturday. Dave looks like a strong rider and fit in right away. Me? I'm sure some of the guys there were probably thinking "Who's this little chickadee? I think we'll eat her for lunch." The A (fast) & B (not as fast) groups started off riding together but then split up on this one stretch of road. Dave was up ahead with the A riders and I got stuck back with a few Bs. When it became my turn to pull, though, Dave just got done with his pull and was now in the back of the A group ahead and sort of lagging to see if we'd catch up. That was just the motivation I needed. I pulled at 23+mph to get the groups back together and then hung on for dear life. Note to self: Do this more often!


#3 - Swim fast or freeze

The lake looks harmless enough but it's hiding a dark secret. No, no lurking gators, amoebas, Lochness monsters or other open water nastiness. The water is just cold, really COLD! And it'd have to be in the mid-90's for two straight weeks for lakes to get even close to 70 so we'll probably have mid to high 50 deg water temps at the Gator Half Iron next weekend too. In other words, get used to it, Princess. I mentioned in my last post trying to find a neoprene swim cap. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one of the cool ones below:


But then again, I'd have to wear a swim cap over it during the tri ... So I settled on a plain "hot head" that I got from a local dive shop.


I know it looks dorky as hell but all swim caps do on me. The important thing was that I got my butt (and head) into that cold water after the group ride to lead some tri newbies on their first-ever open water swim. Did you think I would do it on my own? Man, I tell ya, if you want motivation to swim fast, cold water will do it. If you swim slow, your hands will go numb!

After a long brick (bike-run) workout on Sunday I rewarded myself with another cold dip. This time no "hot head" worn as it was just for my legs. Who needs an ice bath when your backyard pool is 52 degrees!?!


But my legs are feeling good and I think I'm as ready as can be for my 10K on Saturday. Thank you everyone for your advice and input!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Quick Updates

I'm short on time (again) so I'm going with bullets:

* Hawaii - Thanks to everyone for your phone calls and emails over the weekend. Dave and I were in Florida when the tsunami hit Hawaii but our area of the Big Island was evacuated. Fortunately, there were no reports of damage. Unfortunately, there is no reason for me to fly back to Kona immediately ;-)

* Swimming - We're still having unseasonably "cold" weather here in FL and water temps of nearby lakes are currently in the high 50's(!). I'm going to try to find a neoprene swim cap for the Gator Half Iron in 19 days. Last Friday I did a swim time trial with my tri club and am happy to report that I was 3rd fastest out of 12! Disclaimer: There are a lot of folks who are fairly new to swimming in my club. Still, my swimming has improved a lot the last month since I got back in the pool.

* Biking - I rode my first 60-miler of the year last Sunday. YAY!!! But if we have 20-30 mph winds like we had on Sunday, a fast bike split will be tough at Gator. My current half iron PR (5:42:32 @ Miami Man 2008) is actually on a bike course that was ~2 miles short. But, one can always hope for a PR at Gator...

* Running - The week before the Gator Half Iron, I'm actually running my first-ever standalone 10K. Gulp! I've been running 3x/week with one run a week involving some faster running (1/2 mile intervals, 2-3 mi @ 10K-1/2 mary pace). I'm hoping to finish the 10K in 46:00 or better (7:24 pace). How did I come up with that goal? Well, I ran one 5-miler (~8K) in 35:21 (7:04 pace) way back in 2002 before I got "fat and happy" running slower paced marathons. Last year I ran a hot & humid 12K in 56:20 (7:34 pace) the day after running 16 miles. I basically just split the time difference to come up with what I thought I could run a 10K.

If anyone has some advice/input on running a 10K I'd love to hear it. How do you decide what pace to run? How many miles do you run to warm-up beforehand? Do you carry your own fluids? Do you race with a Garmin or HRM? If so, what HR zone(s) are you in? Do you bring an energy gel for before or during the race? How many days did it take for you to feel fully recovered?

Happy March, everyone!!