Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Aflac Iron Girl Columbia August 24, 2008

After May 1st (ankle spraining day) and an eventual MRI that showed 2 torn ligaments, a torn tendon and a bruised bone, I had to pull out of my planned events for the rest of the spring and summer. With virtually no training I toed the line at IG knowing this would make for an interesting experience. Since Annapolis Tri was cancelled, this was my one and only chance to complete a triathlon for the year! So, I thought I would just look at it as a training day and use it to assess where I stand with my ankle and ham/glute injury.

But, as most of you athletes know, trying not to "race" is tough.

The swim pretty much sucked. I am not complaining here, just my lack of time in the pool and how I positioned myself made for a crazy first third of the race. I could not find a rhythm and was constantly being hit and running into others. This made my breathing rate sky rocket. I finally hit somewhat of a groove after the first turn, by swimming way out. I have used this tactic in the past. You swim a bit longer, but the benefit is that you don;t have to fight and swim at the same time.

I was happy to exit the water and head up for the bike, which I assumed would be my strongest leg. I tried to be careful with the uneven footing through transition. Once at my bike it took me FOREVER to get my ankle brace on. My T1 time was almost 5 minutes! But, as others flew past, I kept telling myself that it was better to be safe then sorry. In the end I am glad I took that time.

Once on the bike, I actually felt pretty good. I tried hard to use the downhills to my advantage and be consistent on the numerous climbs. My quad started to ache right off the bat, but I just ignored it and kept moving. Only 2 ladies passed me on the course and I lost count of the women I passed. But, most were in the older age group that was a wave or two ahead of us.

I rode into dismount feeling pretty good about the bike effort and wondered how the run would go. It was getting hot and this run is hilly (just like the bike). T2 went a whole lot smoother and faster.

Out on the run course, I immediately started passing people, despite that it felt like I was crawling. My ankle was not happy about being asked to run, but it wasn't painful to the point of needing to stop. In fact, the pain shifts around depending on the terrain. What really hurt was my left leg (the original chronic injury). My entire hamstring and butt were in pain and I felt like I was dragging the leg along.

I visually latched onto a lady in my age group and focused on her back. She was going a decent pace and I curbed the desire to try to pass her. The hills were as expected. Painful. Especially "Gatorade Hill", but they had lots of little perks like a ice cold wet sponge at the top.
The last 1/2 mile, of the 3.4 mile run portion, was out in the sun. I was glad I was one of the early waves. I came across the line with mixed emotions. But heck! At least I could do this! A few months ago it was all in question. I had some hope. I know I have a very long way to go, but this was something positive.

Overall I was 5 min slower then my attempt at IG Columbia last year. 2 of those minutes were the first transition. So, without training, I was able to only come in about 3 min behind last year's attempt. Plus, I finally got to wear my cool Annapolis Tri outfit!

Official Results:
.62 mile swim - 17.5 mile bike - 3.4 mile run

Overall Place: 176
Overall Time: 1:56:51
Gender Place: 176
Athletes in Gender: 1665

Division Place: 25
Athletes in Division: 332
Swim Time: 22:17
Swim Place: 525

Transition 1 Time: 4:24
Transition 1 Place: 1040

Bike Time: 59:52
Bike Pace: 17.5
Bike Place: 143

Transition 2 Time: 1:37
Transition 2 Place: 427
Run Time: 28:45
Run Pace: 8:13
Run Place: 158

Sunday, June 01, 2008

National Duathlon Festival, Richmond, VA, April 27, 2008

I write this with heavy heart. Since this race I have become injured and have only run once and it was painful. I would have had this posted earlier, but have been dealing with the injury. But, I will leave that for another post and talk about the Duathlon.

Since coming off the marathon, I thought I could just kind of coast through and do well at the duathlon. I didn't do any heavy bike training during marathon prep, but I was on my bike 1-2x a week as cross training. I naively thought this would be enough prep. Just b/c you are well trained in one discipline doesn't mean you can do well in another.

Plus, having run the "Muddy Pit 10 miler" a week post marathon and then trying to get in some harder bike efforts to be prepared for the Du, I did everything I would tell my runners not to do. I lined up fatigued.

My main objective for this race was to see my good friend Susan. We went out the night before and had a glass of wine and some pasta. The wine isn't something I usually do, and won't again. Not b/c of my lack of performance but I think it may have contributed to stomach problems that morning.

The morning started rough. I woke up late! I had set up for a wake up call which didn't come! What a mess. That combined with stomach issues, I called to tell Susan I would have to meet her there. You don't want to feel rushed when your stomach hurts. Since I had taken lightly to the importance of this race, I was ill prepared. Luckily Susan had some Immodium in your transition bag that I was grateful for!

Though the day before had been very sunny, hot and humid for the off roaders, today was cooler, cloudy and drizzled with rain. Perfect conditions if we were only running. Biking on slick roads can be tricky. And this was certainly the case as I have never seen so many people wipe out, have flats or other biking disasters.

Although duathlons may seem like an easier sport then triathlons, the opposite is actually true. I find that duathlons offer a whole different and more difficult challenge then triathlons. Running first is the kicker. Learning to pace that first one can be tough.

With my transition set up, I do my usual running warmup and a few extra stops at the port-a-potties. Susan and I line up. She had tried to cancel on me a couple weeks ago, but I wouldn't let her. I knew her 50 year old butt would kick every one elses! And I was right. She ended up qualifying for World's!

The first run, a 10k, felt real sluggish for me. I had no plan and no expectations really. The course was rolling with short hills. Lots of twists and turns. I decided to just try to keep Susan in my sites. Well, that plan didn't last too long. I came in at 51:36, frankly a little embarrassed.
T1 was 1:18. Not bad since I felt like I was moving in slow motion.

The bike was tricky. The wet roads, windy conditions and hilly ass course made my thighs cry for mercy. The bad thing was that it was a 10k loop, so we got to revisit those monster hills a few times. There were also a few hairpin turns and tight turns. One guy wiped out right in front of me. My husband, Porter, and kids, Addie and Thomas, saw a really bad one-man accident at dismount. He ended up in the ER.

I managed the bike, although admittedly with caution for a good portion of it. I tried to open up on the downhills to make up for it, but the wind on the bridge, coming back, was a killer! I finished the 40k in 1:33.09, a 16 mph average.

I walked into T2 with my bike. I wasn't about to run yet. I was feeling pretty darn beat up at this point, so I figured what the heck. Somehow, and I have no clue how this happened, this transition was faster then the first! 1:11. I can never really figure out where the transition time starts and ends. Maybe it started later then I thought and the walk with my bike was included in the bike ride leg?? I don't know.

Run two was the same as run one but only one loop to make it a 5k. Mentally I wasn't really fighting anymore. Just wanted to finish and eat something, like a big fat doughnut. That's not to say I didn't put some effort into this last run, I did, it just didn't show itself as such. I finished the run in 26:40. Blah!

I would like to try to do well in a Duathlon one of these days. I'd consider going back to this one, but it'll be right after Boston next year. Below are my official results:

Christine Hinton #1236

Clock Time: 2:53:51
Overall Place: 231 / 284
Gender Place: 60 / 87
Division Place:11 / 13
Divtotal: 14
Sextotal: 94

Run1Time: 51:36
Run1Pace: 8:19
Run1Place: 238

Tran1: 1:18

Biketime: 1:33:09
Bikemph: 16.0
Bikeplace: 248

Tran2: 1:11

Run2Time: 26:40
Run2Pace: 8:35
Run2Place: 203

Monday, April 07, 2008

Cherry Pit 10 miler April 6, 2008

Cold, wet, windy, muddy, slippery, HILLY and tough 10 miler.
The Striders had to alter the normal road race due to restrictions on getting permits at the last minute. What's up with that county officials?

The plan was an easy recovery 10 miler one week post marathon. Despite the seemingly slow pace I ran, this run was a booger!

My Results:
107/266 overall
3rd in 30-39 age group
16/90? females

Pictures speak louder then words. So, instead of my usual commantary, I'll let the pictures talk.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The National Marathon March 29, 2008

Wow! What a day and what a race.

My training for this event had gone pretty well except for a good solid week or so off dealing with the flu. I also had the help of my chiropractor, Dr. Kibby and also some last minute help from Dr. Lee with a couple trigger point injections in my glutes, which had been causing some pretty bad pain.

I arrived at the start with about an hour to spare and took care of a few things, got dressed, ate a snack, etc.... I had worried about the weather, but although colder then normal, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was cold and breezy enough to warrant ear warmers, a long sleeve shirt and gloves for most of the race. I ended up tossing all but my gloves around 18 or 20. For runners is was pretty good. For spectators a bit cold.

About 15 min pre gun, I am in line for a final bathroom trip. Time was ticking and those of use in line were stressed. Right after exiting the stall I had to run, climb over the barricades and hop into the race which was already moving to the start! But, it was all fine in the end.

The start was crowded as most of the 7,000 (I think) were half marathoners. They were easily identified with a big "HALF" bib on their backs. Trying to find my groove, I weaved in and out some, slowed, picked it up. Basically, trying to find my own space. This lasted most of the first 10 miles or so.

The course was more challenging then it appeared on paper. Rolling would be an accurate description. I felt like I was either climbing a hill or coming down a hill the entire time. I tried very hard to relax on the uphills and use the downhills to pick it up.

Right before the half way mark the half marathoners headed to the finish and the marathoners continued on. I asked a half-er for a spare GU, before he parted. There was suppose to be GU on the course and I had not seen any. I had only tucked one in my shorts, that was already consumed. I was stressed. Turned out that GU was offered during the 2nd half of th race. This was a relief b/c I had planned out all my fueling details based on what they said would be available. I am not one to carry my supplies. All in all my hydrating and GUing went perfectly. I alternated Gatorade and water and took a total of 4 GUs. One pre race and then one every hour.
Note to organizers: red Gatorade is not the best choice to offer runners in the later stages of a marathon. I think I do fairly well getting most of the fluid in my mouth, but even the best can have trouble when fatigued. There was no mistaking my miss on my white shirt! It ended up getting thrown on the side of the road anyway.

The only issue I had, that started in the first half, was stomach related. There were port a potties on the course, but I was not going to stop! So, I kept telling myself that the feeling would pass and it did, for the most part. It came and went for the rest of the race, but I just tried to ignore it.

The second half gave me more room, but also more wind to face on my own. I tucked in where I could, but found myself passing people and not wanting to slow to get wind relief. I checked my watch every mile (that I didn't miss) and compared it to the pace tattoo I had on my arm. If I followed those splits I would go below 3:45 and qualify for Boston!!

I also paid close attention to each mile split to make sure I was as close to an 8:23 pace as possible. Sometimes having to control myself and sometimes having to remind myself to pick it up. I liked my Garmin for that reason. Although I did run through some tunnels that caused me to lose reception. Luckily the Garmin is capable of connecting the dots, so it kept the pace, time and distance nicely.

I hit my lap button at each of the mile markers on the course (that I saw). Almost right away I noticed that my watch was not clocking an even 1 mile b/w markers. Many miles were .01 to.o4 longer! I started to worry a little b/c I feared the extra distance may dash my Boston dreams. I decided I need to take this into account, change my race strategy and pick it up ever so slightly. But, even with the extra distance I was able to gauge that I should make it in time (thanks to the pace tattoo).

After the race, with some help from some knowledgeable friends and my husband, we determined that the extra HALF MILE that I raced was most likely due to just running a little extra each mile. The course had many turns and people, so that could account for the extra distance. As my friend Steve put it: " 1 mile is 5280 feet, 1/2 mile is 2640 feet. Divide by 26.2 is right at 100 feet. So it is only 100 extra feet per mile, that is not a lot on a course with lots of turns."

It would be interesting to see the actual distance the elite runners run, vs. more average runners, during a marathon... or any road race.

Back to the race:
I was feeling good, aside from some aches I had expected and could deal with. Coming up to the dreaded 20 mile mark and I was fine (well, you know what I mean. As fine as you can be)! 21 miles and fine! 22 miles and my thighs were aching on the downhills. 23 mile started (I think) on a pretty steep climb and I slowed a lot, my hamstrings and hip flexor started to hurt a lot. I forced myself to look up, use my arms and keep the pace. I felt so focused the entire race. I was anxious every once in awhile, but I never had any strong sense of self doubt or negative talk. I prayed almost the whole time, and kept telling myself that as long as I did, I would be alright. I didn't freak if my pace was too fast or slow, I just adjusted and continued to focus on the task at hand.

I tossed all the extra clothes I was wearing. I didn't care if I was cold at this point. Miles 24 to 25, were windy, I think. I can't remember. I know that I hit my lap button at the 26 mile marker, which lay flat on the road. My garmin read .74 mile for the split. I wondered if the wind had blown the sign, that looked more like a kite, from further up the road. A cruel joke. I had more then the expected .2 still to go.

There was a lady in front of me that seemed to be feeling pretty good. I locked my eyes on her and used her to pull me along. We ran up the final hill to the finish. I considered passing her, but why? I could see the clock and knew that I had "won"! (I was also shocked to later see that my final mile was in the low 7s pace.) Upon crossing the line, I thanked the lady who I had clung to. We hugged and congratulated each other. Both of us smiling.

I finished right behind DC mayor Fenty. My husband and kids ran up to me to congratulate me. Seeing their excitement and love was a better feeling then just having crossed the line.

My Garmin Results:
26.70 miles covered
3:41:40 (8:18/m)

Official Race Results:
26.2 miles
3:41:38 (8:28/m)

I placed:
15th in my age group, out of 75
426th overall, out of 1386 marathoners

Now I am sore (the next day) and am trying to get my kids to massage my legs for me! This day is something that really made me realize that we can all do so much more then we think we can. Don't ever let your thoughts limit you!

Rest of 2007

Here is a summary of the rest of my races in 2007:

10/13/07: Run For Kathy 5k in Bowie, MD 2nd place female OVERALL!! 22:51
This day was interesting as I planned the race as part of a long run for the day. I ran 4 miles before the 5k another 3 afterwards to give me a total of 10 miles that morning. Finding myself in 2nd place was a total bonus! I got a dinner at a fancy resturant in DC that I have yet to use.

11/18/08: Cold Turkey 10k in Edgewater, MD 1st place in age group. 46:26
A challenging course! Event was run very well by the Annapolis Striders (who I have since joined). Won my age group and was awarded a big frozen turkey!

12/9/08: Anniversary 15k in Annapolis MD's Quiet Water Park. 5th in age group. 1:12.58
Through the twists and winding paved trails of the park. It was raining, almost icing/snowing during the race and, obviously, pretty darn cold. Did this one just for fun. Won a big tin of Christmas popcorn! Just barely though. Some fast ladies were out there! Enjoyed having my sister and daughter cheering me on.