August 31, 2011

Chicago Week Five


Yet another week gone by. Once again I tweaked some of the mileage (mostly cutting back a couple miles here and there), but had some really great runs, including a solid 10 miles at marathon pace, a 10 miler with some fast repeats that I nailed, and a new half marathon PR at the Giants Race in San Francisco over the weekend. I was a bit disappointed at first for not hitting the 48 miles that my training plan had scheduled, but now that I'm writing this recap it's clear I still had a very successful week and mileage is not everything! Besides a fleeting IT band issue, it was a solid week that gave me a nice little confidence boost looking ahead to Chicago.


run: 5 mi, 9:20 avg pace.
Easy out-and-back in the am before work!

run: 10 mi, 9:02 avg pace.
Once again I got my medium-long mileage in by running to work. I actually felt surprisingly good, with the majority of the run around marathon pace, and the last four miles at sub-9 pace. I've found on these runs that I get faster toward the end, so I think it just takes me a few miles to get warmed up and into a rhythm. Note to self: warm-up before races! I'd left my stuff to get ready at work the night before, but I somehow forgot shoes... It actually worked out in my favor though since I'd been meaning to order some new shoes, and we just happened to have 3 pairs in stock in my size : ) When I put them on for work, I couldn't believe the difference from my old ones! I guess I just didn't realize how worn down they'd become, but these new ones felt like heaven, and I was so excited to start running in them!

run: 10 mi, 8:55 avg pace.
I was extremely nervous about this workout: 10 miles with 5x1000m @ 5k pace. Both the overall distance (plus speedwork thrown in there!) as well as the longer intervals were a bit intimidating. I decided earlier in the week to save it for a day off. I find that I do better (or at least enjoy more) doing my faster runs in the evening, which isn't really possible on days when I work. It was another hot day, so I was happy to wait til evening to head out. I may have waited a bit too long though because just a few miles into my run the sun was already starting to set, and I ended up doing my repeats in the dark : ) It was a hot August night, but I started out feeling good. I had my new shoes on and the fresh cushioning felt ah-mazing! A few miles in, however, I got a really intense pain in what felt like my left IT band, up toward my hip. I'd rolled before my run so it seemed odd for this to flare up, but I had to stop and stretch. I tried to massage it, too, but later discovered a bruise so I think I was a little overzealous! I managed to continue to the track and once I was moving my leg didn't feel as bad.
 my beloved Scotts

When I got to the Sac State track my worries were confirmed - it was already locked up for the night. Not to be turned away so easily, I managed to hop the fence (in the meantime discovering that it could be pulled forward enough to slip through, negating the need for potentially dangerous fence hopping) and brake into the track! I was worried I would get caught, and had my excuses all rehearsed, but no one ever came (part way through another runner actually joined me, which made me worry a bit less). With a nice 4.5 mile warm-up I got started, a bit nervous about my IT band, but was happy to find that it actually felt better running fast! My goal was 4:40 for each 1000m (a 7:30 pace), and I nailed each one! I felt smooth and strong on every repeat, although I welcomed the 400m recovery lap between each one : ) Here are the stats:
4:25 (7:08)
4:31 (7:18)
4:30 (7:17)
4:37 (7:27)
4:33 (7:22)

Afterward I realized I only had a little over a mile left for a cool-down to get to 10 miles, so I did a final lap around the track then decided to run to my aunt's house, just under a mile from the track, rather than the 2 miles back home. It was pretty dark by then (9pm!), and I didn't want to be out on my own longer than necessary. That last mile dragged on, but I was happy to be done and called for a ride home. As much as I dread them, I love that feeling after kicking butt in a tough workout : )

My body was feeling the effects of two back-to-back 10 milers, and with my half marathon the next day rest was much needed and appreciated.

run: 13.1 mi, 8:50 avg pace.
The Giants Race Half Marathon!
My plan called for 15 miles with 12 at marathon pace, so I planned running the race at MP and adding a couple more with a warm-up and cool-down. I ended up running the race a bit harder than planned (and PRing!), so they extra miles just didn't happen, but I was more than ok with that : )

run: 4 mi, 9:38 avg pace.
My plan called for 6 recovery miles, and while I did slow my pace, I hit snooze one too many times and had to cut the run short to get to work on time. Whoops!

swim - 0 yards
bike - 0 miles
run - 42.1 miles

August 29, 2011

The Giant Race (Race Report)

Instead of my long run this week I got to run the Giant Race half marathon in San Francisco! My training plan called for 12 miles at marathon pace, so I figured a half was a great way to get in some faster miles. I didn't have a perfect day, but I pushed myself a bit more than planned and ended up with a PR by almost 3 minutes! The race itself had a few organizational issues, but overall it was fun and a great way to get my miles in!

I headed to the Bay Area Friday night after work so I wouldn't have to get up quite as early. We drove into the city from Berkeley and I was dropped off right by AT&T park then walked the half mile or so to the start area. I hit up the bathroom then headed to the start line and got situated in my corral. After about 15 minutes or so my watch showed 8am, the supposed start time, but the race didn't actually get going til almost 10 minutes later. Finally I crossed the start mat and started my Garmin and was on my way. I had considered sticking with the 2:00 pacer, but I'd lined up closer to the 1:50 guy, anticipating people starting further up then they should. This worked out well as I didn't have to dodge anyone and had plenty of space for the majority of the race. We wound our way out to the Embarcadero where we made our way along the piers, passing the infamous Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. We also passed the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon(but kept on going!), and it took me back to last summer. I knew I was going a bit faster than marathon pace (9:00-9:09) because I was still pretty close to the 1:50 pacer, so I tried to slow down but kept clocking sub-9 miles. I decided to just go with it and hope that it didn't come back to bite me in the ass later!
waiting to start
Although I was maintaining a pace much better than anticipated, I didn't really feel great. My legs felt heavy and my quads super tight, and I never really fell into a good rhythm. While it was nice and overcast for most of the race, it was more humid than anticipated, leaving me nice and sweaty early on. When we approached 3.5 miles or so all the 10kers turned around and things thinned out a bit more. At mile 5 we hit our first and only hill of the course, short but quite steep. I started to run up it then decided it was smarter to walk the rest and save some energy. On the way up we had a foggy view of Alcatraz out in the bay. After we crested the hill we had a nice long downhill on the backside to make some time up.

Soon after I spotted a man up ahead in the middle of the street cheering on runners. He had a black beard and tattoos, dressed in sweatpants and t-shirt, and looked suspiciously similar to a certain Giants pitcher... As I got closer I high fived him and was able to see his face up close and the eyes confirmed that it was indeed Brian Wilson!! I was a little taken aback, and I looked around to see if anyone else recognized him and was as surprised as I was, but no one else seemed to notice! I started to second guess myself, thinking maybe it was a look-alike, and started to curse myself for not taking a few seconds to stop. I found out later it was him, and then I really cursed myself for not stopping! After a little Googling, though, I  did manage to find some pics to document the sighting. But the high five was still a big highlight of the day : )
it is him! 
whattup BW 

Not long after I passed an aid station and realized I was late on fueling, so I tried to quickly suck down a gel but ended up having a little difficulty taking the Gu and getting some water, spilling much of the latter on the ground. We passed Fort Mason and then Crissy Field, where on a semi-clear day you can spot the Golden Gate, but the fog was too heavy and the bridge was unfortunately nowhere to be seen. At this point you could see where the course turned around and continued along the opposite side of a large pond. It looked like it was close but it was a bit deceptive and seemed to be much longer than it appeared. Finally I rounded the pond and passed the mile 7 marker and began the trek back. The next mile was on crushed granite, and while great on the joints, the footing kind of sucked and I couldn't wait to be back on pavement.

On the way back I spotted Mr. Wilson again, this time off on the sidewalk, but for some reason, once again I didn't think to stop or even just take a picture in passing with my phone. Definitely going on my list of life regrets : / I was tiring a bit at this point and my pace had creeped up a bit. We approached the backside of that first hill and made our way up, and once again I chose to walk part of it to give my legs a break. I kept my eye out for the next aid station to take another Gu and salt cap and get more water. I wasn't drinking enough and found myself getting really thirsty. Back on the Embarcadero I began playing mental games with myself as each mile seemed to stretch on forever. I just wanted to be done! At that point I knew I was going to be close to a PR so I tried to do some mental math, but I couldn't focus. I started to let myself take 10 second walking breaks at each mile marker and focused on maintaining good running form with a high cadence. About 1.5 miles out we suddenly hit a sea of people - the back pack of the 5k, including many walkers and even jogging strollers! It made for quite the traffic jam and forced many of us halfers to do a lot of weaving. Definitely something to be addressed in future races.

Finally I could see AT&T park in the distance and then I was rounding the park and heading into the stadium with a final sprint on the outfield! I saw the clock and knew I was close to 1:55, but as I approached the finish line I came to a dead halt inches from crossing due to a traffic jam of runners. I managed to push my way across the line and just hoped that it read my chip, but I knew from my Garmin than I'd set a shiny new PR! Found out later my official time was 1:55:47, an 8:50 average, and came 17/115 of F20-24.
 a sweet new PR : )

Everything after was a huge organizational disaster. Since the mass of runners coming through the finish was moving so slowly, they just let us spill onto the field to make more room. I didn't drink enough water and was parched, so all I wanted was a bottle of water, but they were nowhere to be found. I managed to grab my (huge!) medal and take a few pics while we continued to be ushered toward the bleachers. I asked someone about water, and was informed that there would be more up on the concourse, as well as our shirts and bobble heads. When I got to the top of the stairs, however, I encountered a massive clusterfuck of sweaty people. All I wanted was water, but instead I was stuck in a crowd for a good 20 minutes while everyone tried to get their Tim Lincecum bobble head. Suddenly not moving, I got stiff and chilled very quickly, and once I got my bobble head I continued along the concourse on a search for water. To sum things up, I never did find any water. I couldn't believe that after a big race like this there was only one spot handing out water, and I know I wasn't the only one who missed it. I did, however, manage to grab a little bottle of coconut water that I downed in one gulp!
 the mass of runners spilling onto the field!

I finally made it out of the concourse and found my mom and aunt who were waiting for me, then headed back into Berkeley for a nice lunch. I had planned on adding 2 more miles on after, but I was cold and dehydrated, and after pushing myself so hard I decided 13 was enough for the day. On the way home later, we made a special stop in Walnut Creek at Lululemon to get myself a little reward for my new PR : ) While I was aware of all the hype, I'd never bought any lulu stuff, always deterred by the steep prices and not having a local store. But I walked out of there with a new pair of wonderful running shorts and crops, having exercised some serious restraint for the sake of my bank account.

I'm definitely psyched with my new PR, but wish I had felt better throughout the race. In the week leading up to the race (and even now) my legs have felt heavy and tight, so I think I just need to start recovering more after runs with my higher weekly mileage. It's nice to know that I'm capable of running sub-9 pace for a half, and that I'll have 20 seconds more per mile to go sub-4 in Chicago. The race itself has a lot to work on for next year, but overall it was a pretty good experience.

August 26, 2011

Running the Bases

Tonight I'm headed to San Francisco to run the Giants Half Marathon tomorrow morning! The race fits into my training schedule perfectly, subbing for my long run this week. The plan calls for 15 miles with 12 at marathon goal pace, so I plan to run the race at goal pace and just add on a warm-up and cool-down. I'll admit that I've been dreading long runs lately, not so much because of the distance but more so because I've been doing them on the same stretches along the bike trail that I am intimately familiar with from doing the majority of my runs and rides on it. Don't get me wrong, it's a great trail  with 30+ miles of paved, scenic trail along the river with water, bathrooms, and no traffic, but it's become repetitive and soul-sucking lately (dramatic much!?). So needless to say I'm eager to run on some new terrain this weekend!

From looking at the course map, the half is basically an out-and-back along the Embarcadero toward the Golden Gate bridge, quite similar to the San Francisco Marathon course actually. If I'm remembering correctly, this part was mostly flat with lots of great scenery, so hopefully I'm not forgetting any major hills : / I'm also hoping for some typical San Francisco weather, too, which will undoubtedly be a nice break from the 90s we've been having in Sac. Perhaps the most exciting part, we get to finish on the field! I was just at AT&T park a couple weeks ago for a Giants game and it really is a gorgeous stadium. Plus, being a big Giants fan, finishing on the field is pretty darn cool : ) So while I won't be aiming for a PR, with my game plan I should sneak in just under 2 hours, putting me pretty close to my current best of I guess we'll just have to see! Either way I think it should be a fun race!
can't wait to finish here!

August 25, 2011

Chicago Week Four


This week was an actual "recovery" week, giving me three rest days instead of the usual two. I actually followed my plan pretty closely (except for cutting the medium long run a bit short) and nailed most of the workouts, including a killer tempo run! This week was just what I needed since I'm now in the middle of a build week that is testing my limits!

While no running happened today I did get the opportunity to participate in a 4 hour training session on Trigger Point Therapy through my work. Not only did we get to learn more about the tools and how to use them to aid recovery, but we also got to practice on ourselves. I felt bruised and exhausted by the end but also felt much looser and I learned some awesome new techniques. I could feel the difference in my next few runs, reminding me that I definitely need to use my kit more often! For those of you who aren't familiar with TP, I plan on doing a post with more information soon.


run: 10 mi, 9:09 avg pace.
I didn't have to work til 11:30 so I took advantage of the later start and ran to work again. Commuting on foot once a week has become such a convenient way to fit in my medium long run and get it out of the way first thing. This week I felt great from the start and by mile 2 I was consistently within 5 seconds of marathon goal pace for the remainder of the run, even clocking a few sub-9 miles in the second half. Finished at the Starbucks near work to grab a smoothie before heading in to work!


run: 9 mi (4 tempo), 9:02 avg pace.
I don't know if it was due to all that Trigger Point I did on Monday or if it was just a good day, but this was just one of those awesome runs that leaves you smiling. It was longer than my usual tempo runs, but only had 4 at tempo pace so I just did a longer warm-up and cool-down. I had the day off so I waited til early evening when it had cooled off and it was just gorgeous out on the bike trail. I hit my goal pace, 8:30/mi, easily and felt smooth and strong with consistent splits: 8:26, 8:27, 8:23, 8:16. I often have to stop for quick breaks during my tempos, but this time I only stopped once to get water. I ended up back at home with a couple cool-down miles to go so I grabbed my pup and finished the run around my neighborhood. It's runs like these, even if they only happen once in a blue moon, that make running worth all the time, energy, pain, and sweat.

I also wore a new outfit for the first time and loved it! I got some compression-style Nike shorts to hopefully help with the chafing issues I've been having as well as a bright pink Nike tank. Despite the hot weather we've had the last few months I realized I only had a few tank tops, so I decided I needed to add another to the collection (even though fall is fast approaching!). The color is fun and the material is really light and airy. I've worn it at least 4 times in the last week! The shorts definitely did the trick, too. They have a tighter hem at the bottom of the leg so they don't ride up even a tiny bit, the material is ridiculously soft and stretchy, and they are the perfect length coming just a few inches above the knee. And of course, no more chafing problems! Both winners in my book.
my new favorite outfit : )

run: 5 mi, 9:24 avg pace.
I randomly had Saturday off and had a recovery run planned for the morning, but slept in instead and didn't head out til late afternoon. After having such a great run the day before I was hoping for the same but it was pretty lackluster. Not good, not bad.

run: 16 mi, 9:36 avg pace.
I set out for my long run solo this week since I had to fit it in before heading to work. I got started a bit later than planned but was pleased to find the morning nice a cool with a bit of cloud cover. I didn't really have a solid route planned; I thought maybe I'd do an out-and-back one direction then add on a loop the other way, but the further I got the easier a straight out-and-back seemed. The plan didn't call for any specific paces this week so I kept it fairly easy and tried to just listen to my body. I kept telling myself that long runs should be a bit slower than race pace and not to push it, and I consistently hovered between 30-40 seconds slower than marathon goal pace.

Not long after passing William Pond Park around mile 4.5 I passed an older gentleman shuffling along. Oddly enough though, as soon as I passed him he picked up the pace and started running just behind me like I had a shadow. I figured I'd lose him after a while, or maybe he'd try to pass me, but he just stuck with me for the next few miles until I headed back! I kept thinking I should turn around and say something, but then I thought maybe he just liked the company or was using me as motivation (or maybe just for drafting purposes?). Admittedly it kept me moving over the looong 3 miles til the turnaround (I didn't want to get passed by him!), so I guess I didn't mind too much : ) I stopped to stretch and refuel a few times over the course of the run, but in looking back at many of my long runs, I think I spend too much time doing this. I know that these are training runs and I don't intend to eliminate these breaks completely, but the clock won't stop on race day for me to take a break, so I'll hopefully be cutting back on future long runs. With my late start I didn't finish til much later than planned and had to rush to get to work, but made sure to make myself a recovery smoothie to take with.

swim - 0 yards
bike - 0 miles
run - 40 miles

August 20, 2011

Chicago Week Three


Wow, I'm really bad about getting these weekly recaps posted in a timely manner! Gotta work on that. Anyway, this week did not go according to plan. I was scheduled to run 48 miles, but due to my work schedule, a prior engagement with my dad, and a race over the weekend, things had to be rearranged and it turned into an impromptu cut back week. I was nowhere near the total mileage for the week, but I still managed to fit in some quality workouts and had a great time racing at the Folsom Sprint Triathlon. I did learn some valuable lessons this week, too, after having a couple less-than-stellar runs. I'm not too worried about the cut back as I'm feeling much better this week, so I think my body may have needed to extra rest. Moving forward!


run: 5.1 mi, 9:18 avg pace.
Easy morning run with my pup before work! I'm glad my training plan still includes easier, shorter runs like these because sometimes they are just what I need mentally.

Back in June I got my dad tickets to a Giants game for Father's Day and this was the day! It was an absolutely perfect day in San Francisco, and we had a lot of fun, even though the Giants got killed. It was the first time for both of us attending a game at AT&T park and we were both impressed with the venue, sitting right on the Embarcadero with amazing views of the Bay! While we were looking around I couldn't help reminiscing about the SF Marathon last summer and I ran right past the stadium. That was such an incredible race!

Bay Bridge

run: 17 mi, 9:30 avg pace.
Since I was racing a sprint triathlon over the weekend, I had to move my long run to earlier in the week. I decided on Thursday because I had the day off and liked the idea of actually relaxing after a long run (a novel idea, right?). I intended to get up fairly early still to get it out of the way and beat the heat. In actuality, I didn't get started til after 12pm. Whoops! I decided to break it up so it hopefully would go by faster, but in the end that seemed to backfire. I took my dog for the first 6 mile loop and felt pretty good, then dropped her off at home and set out to run the same loop backwards. This is when I started to drag, which is not a good sign when you have 10 more miles to go. It got hot real quick and mentally I was just struggling.

When I hit 11 miles I started a a final out-and-back section. By that time it was smack in the middle of the day and I felt like sh*t. I took a lot of breaks, but I made it home, utterly spent. In trying to keep with my new goal to be smarter about recovery, I immediately made a smoothie with some chocolate Hammer Recoverite that tasted absolutely delish after 2+ hours of running and sweating profusely. I also did an ice bath, which I haven't done in dayyyyssss. Later that day I actually felt pretty good, and I can only assume it's thanks to these two things! Note to self: don't attempt long runs in the middle of the day, and don't run the same stretch multiple times, you will hate yourself.


swim: 0.5 mi, 17 min.
bike: 14 mi, avg 17.1 mph.
run: 3.1 mi, 8:24 avg pace.
Folsom Sprint Triathlon!

run: 8 mi (5 tempo), 8:36 avg pace.
My tempo run somehow ended up at the very end of the week, the day after my sprint triathlon. After a looong day Saturday I wanted to sleep in a bit, so I decided to do it that evening after work instead. Big mistake. When I got off at 5pm, it was hot, I was tired, and the last thing I wanted to do was run, let alone try to run fast. My plan called for 10 miles with 5 at tempo pace, but that was quickly dropped to 8 miles. I'm not a fan of tempo runs with really long warm-ups and cool-downs, and 10 just seemed like too much, especially after a long day at work, so 8 it was.

Before I set out I decided to try out the interval setting on my Garmin so I punched in all my info and off I went. Usually I just use my current pace to gauge my tempo pace, but with the interval setting I couldn't find it! As a result I had no idea what pace I was running, and it wasn't until after that I realized I went waaaayyyy too fast. My goal pace was 8:30, and here's what I ended up with: 7:41, 7:48, 8:04, 8:06, 8:17. Fail. I was sweating buckets immediately and it felt like such an effort just to put one foot in front of the other. I took multiple breaks but finished the tempo miles feeling pretty wasted. I swung back by my house and picked up my pup for an easy 2 mile cool-down. Note to self: don't do tempos after work, the day after a race, or in temps over 90.

swim -  0.5 miles
bike - 14 miles
run - 33.1 miles

August 16, 2011

Folsom Sprint Triathlon (Race Report)

I went into the Folsom Sprint Triathlon looking to push myself but also have some fun at the same time. After Vineman the sprint distance seemed refreshing to me, sort of how a 5k seems after training for and running a marathon. I didn't really train for the race, but I knew I had enough fitness left over to carry me through, and I was curious to see what I'd be capable of at a shorter distance. It was also a unique experience because I got to see my coworker, Heather, complete her first ever triathlon. This was extra exciting, because just a few days after I registered for Ironman Cd'A she did, too, jumping into the triathlon world head first! My times were within a close range of the goals I'd set, so I was pleased, and overall the race was a great time.

We arrived at Nimbus Flats just past 6am and already the park was buzzzing with eager triathletes. There was also a long course race that started earlier and was underway not long after we arrived, adding to the excitement of all us sprinters. We checked in, got our packets, our child-sized t-shirts (boo), and then headed into transition. The majority of bike racks were reserved for tri clubs, and the rest were already pretty full. Heather and I managed to squeeze in together on a rack with a few other younger women and started setting up our stuff. Our packets were wet for some reason, as were the contents, which made attaching our bike numbers nearly impossible because the damp paper kept tearing. Once we got everything set up in transition we got body marked then headed to the potty. Before we knew it it was time to wiggle into our wetsuits and head down to the water.

The 800m (1/2 mi) swim was a rectangular course in Lake Natoma. It was a wave start in-water, which allowed us to acclimate a bit before it was time to go. The water was much colder than I anticipated, and my wetsuit for the day didn't fit me as well as my usual one. I knew once we got started we would warm-up and it would be on to the bike before we knew it, so I was eager to get started. Soon enough we were treading water amongst the other women in purple caps and then we were off! The swim has been my favorite leg in my races this season, but for some reason this once wasn't as smooth or enjoyable. I think part of it was a drop in fitness as I hadn't swam in a couple weeks, and part of it was the cold that I just wasn't used to. I never got into a good rhythm, but managed to keep moving forward steadily. After the second turn I noticed Heather was to my left, and so for the rest of the swim I just focused on staying with her. I swam until I could see the rocks on the bottom of the lake and then I was done!
 Lake Natoma
 start of the swim course
 purple caps
swim time (800m): 17:20

I made my way up the chute toward transition, stripping my wetsuit as I went. Transition was just a short way from the lake so I was at my bike in no time. Went through my usual routine, sucked down a Gu, then was off with the bike!

T1 time: 2:38

I followed the signs toward the bike out exit and hopped on just after the line. They had a photographer set up right at the mount line which I thought was a little strange since most folks look a little awkward as they're getting on their bikes. Luckily I didn't look like a complete fool! I got going on the bike path, and barely minutes in I came to a split in the path with a volunteer assigned to direct athletes. One way was for the long course while the other was for the sprint, but as I approached I got no direction, and the bikes in front of me didn't seem to know what to do either. I had to slow way down, losing my momentum, to shout at the guy for directions. His reply as I rode past was that it "wasn't his fault, it was all just messed up". I was a little peeved at the poor direction, but I tried to let it go and focus on what was in front of me.
bike mount
After a couple miles we emerged from the bike path onto the streets of Folsom. All I can say is holy hills! Until the turnaround it was one after the next. Most weren't super steep, but after barely riding for the last month, and being weak on hills to begin with, it was slow going on the first half of the course. Soon I reached the turnaround, excited to finally get to go down those hills! Around mile 8 I saw Heather heading toward the turnaround looking good which was a relief. She's been dealing with a persistent illness for a while and I was just a wee bit worried about her. I continued on, finally feeling warmed up and pushing the pace on the flats and cruising down all the hills. My speed went from anywhere between 14-16 mph on the way out to 18-20 mph on the way back, ensuring a nice negative split : ) I even clocked my fastest mile ever on the bike at 21 mph! The ride back was much more enjoyable and the time I made up brought me in right in the middle of my goal time range, ready to run and finish strong.

bike time (14 mi): 48:32

I racked my bike, gulped down another Gu, a salt cap, and water, switched to my run gear, then I was off!

T2 time: 2:32

The run was essentially an out-and-back on a stretch of the bike trail. I know that running after riding distorts my perception of pace and I'm usually running faster than it feels like, so I decided to go more off of effort than my watch. I felt pretty good in the first mile, my legs warmed up from the bike. There was some decent competition out there with all the tri clubs and more young women than I expected, so I kept an eye out for numbered calves in my age group and made an effort to pass them if I could. About a mile in we passed an aid station, where I proceeded to snort the entire cup up my nose, and then promptly blow it back out! It was a bit disorienting but funny all the same. Finally we came to the turnaround, and I was excited to be so close to finishing! I was still feeling fairly good and was maintaining a consistent pace, focusing on a fast cadence and good form. Just after passing the water stop again I saw Heather, looking a little tired but otherwise great. In the last half mile I felt the twinges of a side stitch, reminiscent of my long run just a couple days before, and was glad I had such a short way to go. With about a quarter mile to go we veered off the bike path onto a dirt trail, then finally reemerged with the finish line just ahead!

run time (3.1 mi): 26:34

I was glad to be done and pretty happy with how I did, but the first thing I did after I crossed the line was hurry back to transition to get my camera to get a finishing shot of Heather. About 10 minutes later I saw her come in and got a nice shot of her coming down the finish chute. She had a great first triathlon experience, and I was glad I could be a part of it. Fun fact: Heather actually cheered me on at my first triathlon in Tahoe, just a month after we started working together, since her roommate happened to be doing the same race : ) It was fun to look back at that first sprint triathlon almost a year ago and see how much everything has changed! Anyway, after we grabbed some water we headed over to the results tent to see how we did. I don't use my Garmin for the swim, so I didn't know my swim time or my overall time. I finished well under 2 hours, and placed 6th in my age group (I later found out that F 20-24 was pretty competitive - the top 3 women in my a.g. also were the top three women overall).
 Heather finishing strong!

total time: 1:37:36

Even though it was only a sprint we actually received pretty nice medals (makes up for the baby shirts) so to commemorate the event we decided to get them engraved on-site with our names and times. While we waited we sat through the raffle, in which I joked that I'd win the lame prize of a Starbuck's coffee thermos, only to actually win it moments later. Ha! Then we watched the awards ceremony up through our age groups before heading back to transition to pack up our stuff. After loading everything in the car we headed back to pick up our medals and take some final finisher pics. By that time it had warmed up quite a bit, and that cool water was looking pretty inviting! I was definitely glad I was done for the day. I had previously considered fitting in a few more miles before heading to work that afternoon, but quickly nixed that plan as it was way too hot out and I decided I'd done enough for the day. Every time I actually race a triathlon, no matter the distance, I remember why I keep coming back. The excitement and fun is what makes them so addicting, and the Folsom Sprint was the perfect way to finish off the season while leave me ready to pick things up again in December for the big IM.