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Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 2016.

The original plan had me running the 25 miler, and Matt running with me, and then Matt turning around and running back to complete the 50 miler. The reality is that we got caught up in helping Kate train for her first triathlon, and training for our first triathlon in years, and maybe neglected some of our longer run/trail training.

Introducing Kate to the concept of cookie stops at her first ride event, the Autism Ride! She took to it like a natural.
Training with Kate. Plus cookies. Worth it.

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Texas State Tri 2016 race report.

Holy crap, I did a triathlon! The last triathlon I raced was Ultraman in 2014 (and the last "traditional" one-day, swim-bike-run triathlon I did was earlier that year at HITS Marble Falls). Even more impressive was Matt, whose last triathlon was Ironman Florida in November of 2013! So maybe we were sorta due for one.

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Lost Pines Trail Half Marathon 2016 race report.

Oops, it's been a while since there's been anything on my blog. I should really write even when I'm not actively racing. But hey, I've reentered the world of racing (well, "racing", anyway), so let's jump back in!

Matt and I are signed up for the Collegiate Peaks (CP) trail run again this year, mostly as an excuse to take the dogs up to Colorado and finally let them play in snow (hopefully). We've been doing some trail runs, but we decided it would be fun to have a supported training run, so we signed up for the Lost Pines trail run out at Rocky Hill Ranch!

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California International Marathon 2015 race report.

Some time in 2014, I decided that 2015 would be the year I ran another marathon, and maybe tried again to qualify for Boston. I had vague memories that I suffered a lot the last time I ran a marathon (New Orleans in 2012), but it's been several years, so the pain had faded to where it seemed logical to do another one.

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Turkey Trot 2015 race report.

Turkey Trot! The only event I've done every year since I started this nonsense!

I never have any goals for the Turkey Trot beyond doing as well as I can, given the circumstances that year. Last year the Turkey Trot was less than a week after I ran a 50k trail run, which meant I was pleased my legs agreed to let me run at all. Some years I'm in the middle of marathon training. Some years I've done no running for months. This year, the Turkey Trot fell a week before California International Marathon, my current goal race. That meant no racing, nothing crazy, just some measured speed work.

In order to make sure we kept things easy and fun, we decided to dress up ridiculously.

Turkey Trot 2015 - Amy and Karen

Karen, Kate and I all had matching outfits, but Kate ended up in College Station for her Turkey Trot, so she had to look ridiculous on her own.

Turkey Trot 2015 - Kate

The bad news is, it was 72 degrees and intensely humid. Arm warmers and knee socks are not appropriate for that weather. But we were really cute, so we went with it.

Karen asked if I wanted to do a warmup before the run, and I told her my coach had given me a plan: 5 miles (which is how long the Turkey Trot is), with the first 2 being warmup, then progressive pace from marathon goal pace down for the last 3, ending no faster than 10k pace. (She is my coach: this was her plan.)

So Matt, Karen and I lined up together, and it started to rain as we waited, and then we all took off together when the gun went off. And were together for about 4 seconds, as Karen pulled away slowly into the distance. I tried briefly to stay with her, but with the intense humidity and immediate uphill, plus the way-too-warm outfit, I was breathing really hard immediately. And this was supposed to be 2 miles of warmup pace, so I just kept my ego in check and ran my pace, and Matt stayed with me. I was a little bummed about how slow I felt until we got to the mile 1 marker and my first mile was ~8:45. Since my marathon goal pace (MGP) is 8:30ish, I was warming up too fast.

The second mile continues to be hilly, and I continued to overheat and be pretty miserable. And run another 8:40something.

At mile 3, Matt took off to do his progressive pace finish, and I tried to do the same. And felt pretty horrible. 70-80 degrees with humidity in the 90s is my weather kryptonite. It started raining somewhat in earnest, which helped a little, but not much. I slid my arm warmers down to my wrists, then finally took them off completely and anchored them to my tutu.

The last 3 miles were just hard. I tried to run as strong as I could, but I knew I wasn't getting anywhere near half marathon or 10k pace in those last 2 miles. The last mile was that damn last mile from Run For the Water again, and I felt just as bad as I did then (fortunately with no sun in my eyes this time).

But I lived! And I think I managed to get in a decent speed workout, if not as fast as assigned. And I managed to do a "race" a week before my marathon and not injure or cripple myself in any way, aside from some pinky toe pain on my right foot, because those socks were not tech socks, and my feet were completely soaking wet for several miles. I'm sure it'll be fine.

Splits according to my watch, which didn't line up with the mile markers on the course at all most times:
8:20, 8:44, 8:19, 8:15, 8:15

42:41 (8:32/mile)

2004: 52:24 (10:29/mile)
2005: 52:45 (10:33/mile)
2006: 47:54 (9:35/mile)
2007: 44:35 (8:55/mile)
2008: 39:48 (7:58/mile) (suspect it was short)
2009: 40:59 (8:10/mile)
2010: 36:35 (8:05/mile according to official time) (definitely short)
2011: 40:29 (8:06/mile)
2012: 38:58 (7:48/mile)
2013: 39:45 (7:57/mile)
2014: 43:51 (8:46/mile)

Slowest not-after-a-50k trot for quite some time. I'm gonna claim it's because I was being smart in light of my upcoming marathon, but honestly I'm not sure I could have run those miles any faster.
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Run for the Water 2015 race report.

Man, the last time I did this race was 2007 (the first year it was held!). Hell, the last time I trained for and ran a road race (so, not Turkey Trots) was the Donkey Dash in 2012. (And I only know that because I checked athlinks. Then spent a long time scrolling back and back and back, through triathlons and trail runs.) So I was surprised how not-all-that-stressed I was about this race.

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Pure Austin Open Water Race Series, September 2015 race report.

I actually didn't intend to do this swim. Our Tuesday runs have moved from earlyearly morning to afterwork (so much warmer, but less humid, and we often get post-run popsicles), so I expected to be running Tuesday night. Then Karen had a board meeting that evening, so moved our run to the earlyearly morning again. So I could swim. Did I want to swim? I wasn't really sure. But it was probably my last chance to do this swim this year, so I went.

I hadn't swam since Thursday, and while I'd run twice (including hills that morning), and felt decent doing so, I hadn't really used my arms. I got in the water early and warmed up, and .. my arms felt pretty rough. Tired, sluggish, sore. But I warmed up for 15 minutes, then headed back to the start.

MUCH smaller turnout this time, and I lined up 2nd row at the front, just figuring I'd see what happened. We started, and I began battling with everyone else. Amusingly, even though this was the smallest start group we've had, it was also the most aggressive and took the longest to spread out. I didn't really feel like I wasn't swimming on top of people until we got to the first dock.

Then I suppose I settled in, but I never really felt like I settled in. The whole swim felt difficult. I tried to stay as strong as I could, but I just felt like I was flailing the whole time. My form felt wrong, my arms felt tired and bad, and I just couldn't find any sort of rhythm. I wondered whether I'd even consider stopping after one loop, but I didn't feel THAT bad, so I just kept trying my best.

It seemed to take forever to swim those two loops, and I never really warmed up or felt better, but I got through it. Came out of the water at 26:04 on my watch (no official results yet), which is a full minute slower than last month, 1:04 slower than July. Given how consistent my last two were, I'd say it's pretty telling that this was an entire minute slower. However, I can't be at all upset about swimming a 26:04 out there, given that my slow and steady laps are still 15 minutes each, so yay!

In case I wonder in the future whether it's a good idea to do a swim race 5 days after swimming 10k? Yeah, maybe not. My arms and entire body felt worse the next morning than they had after the 10k. Definitely some resting in order now. Well, for my arms anyway. Marathon training continues!
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Colin's Hope 2015 got2swim 10k swim report.

Every year I've donated to someone doing the Colin's Hope swim, and been jealous because the training and the swim looked like so much fun. But I was invariably training for something else that didn't lend itself to so much swim training, or had just finished my big event. This year, however, all I did the first few months of the year was swim, swim and more swim (since I couldn't run due to heel pain), so I figured I might as well channel all of that swim training into something productive!

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