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What's Next: Summer 2017 Edition.

Usually my What's Next posts happen because I've signed up for my next big race. An Ironman. A marathon. 3 marathons. Whatever.

This edition is extra complicated, because I've signed up for.. several things. Several very varied things. I will not get bored, is what I'm trying to say.

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Ironman Texas 70.3 2017 race report.

It's not uncommon to do a half Ironman when you're training for a full Ironman. And it's not uncommon for people training for Ironman Texas (IMTX) to do Ironman 70.3 Texas (Galveston) as a training race. However, normally Galveston is ~2 months before IMTX, so it's right as you're peaking, and you have plenty of time to recover. This year, because they moved IMTX earlier in the year, there's only 3 weeks between Galveston and IMTX. For that reason, a lot of IMTX folks opted not to do Galveston.

A couple months ago, Karen and Trista decided to do Galveston. Once I found out, I was jealous and decided to do it, too. (Plus, you know, I hadn't done a triathlon in a year, and I hadn't done a half Ironman since uh.. 2013?) And then Cecilia decided to join, as well. Suddenly we had a Girls' Weekend on our hands!

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Salado Smokin' Spokes 2017 ride report.

Our 100 miler! After a winter of riding on the trainer, maybe even when it wasn't strictly necessary, we've actually been riding outside for our longest rides. We did 70 at Pedal Thru the Pines, 85 on Parmer the next Saturday, and now finally our century, 4 weeks before the big race (and one week before our half Ironman).

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Training update, March 2017.

I was giving Trista a hard time for not posting an Ironman training update on her blog the other day, then I realized maybe if *I* posted one, she'd feel guilty and have to post hers. Hi, Trista.

44 days until Ironman Texas! Though technically I'm mostly counting down until the Galveston half Ironman, which is 23 days away. After Galveston, we have one more build week, then some taper, then IMTX.

I can sum up my training just like I've ever summed up any triathlon training: The swim and the run are going great. And then there's the bike.

But my swim and run really are going great. I'm where I need to be, distance-wise, if not a little ahead of where I've been in the past. Not having a coach, I have nobody to tell me I'm running too far on my long runs, so I've decided I'm not! It's an experiment. My swimming is going great, and has been 99.999% Masters swimming. And one very cold Quarry swim on my birthday. I feel strong and confident in the water, which will probably not translate in any way to a lake full of other people trying to kill me.

5. Quarry swim.
2 laps in the 58 degree Quarry on my birthday!

Aaaaaand then there's the bike. With 45 days to go, I have done exactly one ride outside in this training. All other rides, during the week and on the weekends, have been done on my trainer. (That's not strictly true: I've ridden outside to commute to work, but I don't really count that.) That's not ideal. And it's not enough volume on my long rides. But I have grand plans to change that, by cramming a lot of long rides in during the remaining weekends! We're doing Pedal Thru the Pines and Salado Smoking Spokes, which will force me off the trainer and make me get in longer rides. I'm excited, because I love charity rides. I just do not love the fact that all cars seem to be trying to kill all cyclists lately. So I've just been pretending that I live up north, where they CAN'T ride outside, and have to ride on the trainer.

First outside ride of the season! Turns out, Parmer still has a stupid headwind. Good to know!
Our one outside ride!

Otherwise I'm just trying to stay awake. This training has featured a lot of early mornings. Even for me. With only one car, I depend on the bus to get me to campus. And no bus that I can walk to gets me to campus early enough to do Masters swim. So I've begun riding my bike to work once a week, usually leaving the house at 4:45am. Unless swim practice is early, in which case I leave the house at 3:45am. Surprisingly, I feel 99% safer riding that early than I do riding any other time. No cars on the road.

I'd like to thank Big 12 Swimming and Diving (and the Masters swim cancellations and reschedulings resulting therefrom) and Being a Single-Car Family for this new Earliest Bike Ride personal best.

I've also started doing back to back Something To Work during the week. Like riding to work to do Masters on Wednesday, then running to work on Thursday. That requires a shocking yet satisfying amount of pre-planning. On Tuesday I have to bring in my lunch and snacks for that day, plus the next 2 days. I have to bring in two additional sets of clothes and shoes, which I then swap around at the end of the day, according to what I want to leave at work to be available the next day. This is still a work in progress, which has left me having to wear still-damp running shoes for a whole workday, or end up going home wearing a bonus tshirt I had at work on top of my other shirt, because I miscounted bras, and have to leave the one I'm wearing to wear when I get to work tomorrow.

Sadness is the beautiful Swim Center pool drained and under emergency repair until May.
Unfortunately a pipe burst in the main pool, which means we have to swim in the diving well, which means sharing the diving well, which means reduced practices, and probably a lot more 5am practices, which means a lot more 3am alarms. YAY.

So basically what I'm lacking in cycling, I'm making up for in early rising and ridiculous logistics. This pleases me, right up until the moment when I have to ride 112 miles on 4/22. I'm sure it'll be fine. You can fake an Ironman, right? Right.

Fortunately this is all for fun! My goal is to go out and enjoy the day as much as possible, finally share another Ironman with Karen, and most importantly, cheer for Trista and Cecilia as they do their first Ironman!

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to wear...
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3M Half Marathon 2017 race report.

This was the second of the races in my half-baked, ill-conceived training plan for Ironman Texas. The first was the Decker half marathon, and my general plan was to run Decker undertrained as a baseline, then try to run 3M a little faster. I kinda figured that would take care of itself, given how much easier the 3M course is.

Then life happened.

As it always does. But I went into 3M not at all where I'd planned to be, training-wise. I won't drone on about excuses, but as an outline of what I WOULD drone on about, if I were to drone, I just didn't make myself do the speedwork I intended, the first two weeks of 2017 were probably the worst work weeks I've ever experienced, I had a COMPLETE motivational failure of an 18 mile run that turned into a 6 mile (this almost NEVER happens to me, so I can't even be too surprised or upset; mostly I just find it kinda scientifically interesting), and I had a random evening where I went from Fine to Unable To Walk Without Limping Terribly. What happened remains a complete mystery, but 24 hours of sitting or being in bed with a heating pad on my leg, then a week of no running seems to have cleared it up. All of that combined into some non-ideal preparation for a speedy half marathon. Then I spent the day before 3M walking, standing and marching. If I really cared about my time at 3M, I would have stayed at home on Saturday, but instead I went out to show solidarity with the women (and many men) at the Austin Women's March. Did it impact my race? I'll never know, but even if it had meant a 4 hour half marathon the next day, I would have zero regrets. I can run 3M next year. This was something so much bigger and more meaningful to me, and I'm glad I got to be part of history.

Women's March Austin

That's a pretty dramatic paragraph! All that being said, I'm actually just fine with my time at 3M. I didn't have a formal goal, and if I had, it would have been faster than what I ran, but I'm not upset about it.

I decided to run to the start line, to get my warmup in, and so that I could leave Matt the car, since we only have one. It ended up being 2.7 miles from home to the startline, and it was into a generous cross or headwind the whole way.

Ohyeah! The wind! After 60ish degrees and terribly humid at Decker, for 3M we got 60ish degrees and 20mph winds, gusting to who knows what. Warm AND windy?! My favorite! So I intentionally overdressed for the warmup, knowing it would be dark and windy and early and bleh.

I got to the start line just after 7, hit the portapotty, which took forever, dropped my long sleeve shirt at the clothing drop (I had run with my dry clothes bag wadded up in my pocket!), and waded into the start chute. At like 7:25. Not my best idea. I shoved and pushed and weaved, but I could only get up to where the fence started, which was behind the last pace group (2:15). Buuut there was nothing I could do, and it was my own dumb fault, so I just stayed there and froze in my short sleeved shirt as the wind buffeted us.

It took me a couple minutes to get over the start line once the race started, but then I just tried to settle in, while simultaneously weaving around all the people who had seeded themselves appropriately.

People had been saying "hey, it's a point to point run, so it'll be a tailwind most of the way!" That was not true. It was a crosswind for most of the way, a headwind for a small part, and then some tailwind at the end. The crosswind was pretty demoralizing at times, though. If you let your guard down, you'd suddenly find yourself staggering a couple steps to the side, as the wind rudely shoved you. It was annoying, but hey.. at least it kept the temperature a little cooler? I was comfortable in my short sleeved shirt, would have been fine in sleeveless.

3M 2017

I never looked at my watch, just tried to run comfortably hard in the beginning, settling in, trying not to fight the wind too much, just lean into/against it. As always at 3M, there were tons of friends out running and cheering, and I cheered back at them as I saw them. Including Matt and the dogs just before mile 6! I knew they planned to be there, and I looked forward to it the whole first half of the race. I saw them way before they saw me, and I ran up and the dogs were So! Surprised! Suddenly mom! I stopped and got a million kisses, left the small handheld water bottle I'd been carrying with them, and headed out for the second half.

3M 2017

Which was pretty uneventful. I just plodded along, survived Great Northern, trudged up 45th St directly into the sun, but with a lovely tailwind, and then down Duval into campus. I tried to pick it up for the last two miles, but I felt pretty stiff-legged. That last uphill after campus is always supremely unwelcome, but Rogue was out with a big cheering squad, and that helped motivate me up, around the corner, and across the finish line.

Amy and Karen after 3M 2017

As I said, I'd never looked at my watch, but I really felt like I'd run a stronger race than I had at Decker. So I was briefly a little surprised and bummed that my 3M time was a 1:56:03 (compared to Decker's 1:55:32, which I had been surprised and happy with). Who knows which of those excuses played any role in the difference in performance, or if I'm just stronger on hills than flat courses, or if it's just random.

But it's another half marathon in the books, my first 3M in 5 years (13 minutes slower than my 3M/half marathon PR of 1:42:23), and a lovely day to see so many friends, so I'm gonna call it a good race!

And a strong finish!

9:10, 8:47, 8:52, 8:53, 8:52, 8:53, 8:49, 8:42, 8:52, 8:55, 8:28, 8:31, 8:34

Well, that was windy. Thank you to everyone who was out cheering, and congratulations to everyone who ran!