Monday, February 9, 2015

CrossFit Open 14.1 Redux

I woke up this morning an checked Wodify the way I always do and was elated to see the workout was an Open workout from last year.   The workout was 14.1.  You can read about my workout from last year here.

The WOD consist of a 10 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of:

30 DU (Double Unders)
15 Snatches (55 lbs)



Last year I scored a 106.  That means I got through 2 rounds and 16 DU.  I went back and read my recap of 14.1 and I was shocked at how hard the workout was for me.  Going into 14.1 I did NOT have my DU, I decided to do them single, single, double and I made it through.  Going into today I've gotten my DU but have never really been able to string any meaningful number together and certainly not consistently.

I was so excited when the 10 second countdown began.  I was excited to see how much I could improve.

I started off with the double unders and I couldn't believe it, but I actually strung some together.  I strung together quite a few actually-- like 15!  I was so excited I actually screamed.  How did that actually just happen.  Each time I attempted, I strung a decent number together.  6, 7, and even 20!!!!!  I can't even tell you how happy this makes me.

The only problem is, I do the "pike" (feet kick forward) and I expend sooooooo much energy doing the DU.  By the time I got to the snatches I was hunched over the bar trying to take some time to compose myself and get my breathing under control.

I don't care though.  I will take stringing DU together using a lot of energy versus not being able to do them at all.  I can continue to tweak things until I get it right.  I've come a far way so far and I hope I just continue to improve.

The snatches were definitely hard, but I took them a little at a time (5) and got through them.  I was working hard and was out of breath, but nowhere near what I described last year.  That AND I scored much higher than last year.

I made it through 3 full rounds, 30 DU and 4 more snatches.  Score = 169!  Hell yes!  I will take it.

Week after week I go to CrossFit and wonder if I'm even improving.  Well this shows me, I am absolutely improving and it makes me very happy.  Bring on 15.1


Sunday, February 8, 2015

2015 Race Plan

I've kind of been hemming and hawing about my race schedule this year.  As always, things can (and most likely WILL) change, but this is my plan for 2015.

January:  3M Half Marathon.  Yeah that already happened.  You can read the recap here.

Kortni, Me, Val 

February:  I wanted to do a 10k on Valentine's Day, but it has a late start time and conflicts with my son's hockey schedule.  Whomp Whomp.

March:  Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon.  Somehow I got talked into doing a race I did NOT want to do, but I'm excited about it.  It's super hilly and I didn't want to do it because of that, but I decided to run with my friend Jaime and we plan to just HAVE FUN!  Those are the best races.  Seriously.... going for a 2:30 finish time.  Here's the elevation.

Elevation Chart.  HILLS!!!!!!!!!

April:  Pirates 5k Home Run.  I don't want to run another 5k, but I have to because I know I can improve my time and this is a flat fast place to do it.  Plus it's the Pirates!

At my last 5k in September 2014 

May:  Indianapolis Mini Marathon and Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  That's right 2 half marathons in one month.  In fact, they're on back-to-back days.  The Pittsburgh Half Marathon is my favorite race and it is ALWAYS the same weekend as the Indianapolis Mini.  I've always wanted to do the Mini, but didn't want to miss out on Pittsburgh.  I concocted this crazy idea to do the Indy Mini on Saturday and the Pittsburgh Half on Sunday and even managed to talk 4 other crazy ladies into it with me (pictured below).

Tracey and Kim

Kate (in the front).  Jaime (in the back) was sparred some how 

June:  MS 150.  I really enjoy this 2 day bike ride.  It's torturous, but it's for a good cause.

2014 MS Escape to the Lake 

Runcations 5k (in the Outer Banks).  This race will jut be for fun.  It's run on the beach on a Wednesday.  It's just a fun thing to do on vacation.  The last time I did it, was NOT fun and SUPER slow.

2013 OBX Sunrise 5k 

The Dam Tri.  This race (olympic distance) is the Sunday that I get back from vacation.  It's not ideal for sure, but after all the rest and relaxation, I should be good to go... go slowly.

2014 Dam Tri 
July:  Lake Latonka Friendly Frolic.  This is the 2 mile race I do with my family every year.  It's challenging for me (I hate running fast) but one of these days I'll beat Nicholas or my dad.  One can dream. 

2014 (less people attended than normal)
Moraine Butler Sprint Tri.  This race is low key and fun.  I think I'll always do it if I can because I enjoy the short swim and bike course.  I need to step up my game this year.  


Liberty Mile:  Maybe.  This is a one mile all out race.  

August:  I don't do anything when it's hot.  Haha.  I can't believe I don't have anything planned (that I can remember) in August.  I better remedy that.  Maybe my wallet could use a break.  

September:  The Great Race.  I need a FLAT FAST 10k and this is it.  It's actually down hill.  I've never done this hometown race but there's a conflict..... see below.  If I happened to not do Ragnar, I'll do the Great Race. 

Adirondacks Ragnar Relay.  I had SO MUCH fun with Ragnar last year that I really want to do it again this year.  Our team isn't set in stone yet, but we're getting there.  Hard to commit this far out.  

Van 2.  Love these ladies.  

October:  Quick Chick 10K.  If I don't do the great race, I'll do this race.  I want to race it this year and see what I can do.

Buffalo Creek Half Marathon.  It's just a must.  Small, local and flat.

2014 with Kim 
November:  EQT 10 miler.  I want to do this race and it will probably work out well for the taper, but I'm kinda hoping I'll be on a cruise when this race is happening.  Sacrifices.  We shall see!  

Philly Marathon.  My 4th attempt at 26.2 and hopefully a PR for me.  

December:  Christmas is here.  My wallet needs another break!  

So There you have it.  13 to 16 races/events.  Please don't add up the money spent.  Running is a cheap sport, remember? ha!  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I'm a Runner XXXVI: Running a Sub-2 Half Edition

This is the 36th edition I've written of the I'm a Runner "series."  Wow, what more could I have to say about running?  You don't care?  Why are you here?   This is a running blog.  Well let's see if there's anything new to say.


I started running because someone believed I could and challenged me to run a half marathon.  At that time, I only wanted to survive.  I don't think I had "sub 2" half marathon dreams until I ran a 2:09 in Pittsburgh in 2010.  

I was a clumsy kid who never played sports in high school.  In college I met a friend who ran 5 miles a day and she mesmerized me.  I didn't realize people ran 5 miles for fun.  26.2?  Mind blown.  

When I ran my first half in November of 2009, I ran at a 10:29 pace.  Going sub 2 meant running a 9:08 pace.  That's 1:20 off per mile.  It took just over 5 years to get there, but the moment I crossed the finish line, I knew all the work was worth it.  

I ran most of the race with thinking about running (the worst kind of run).  Meaning, I was focused on what I was doing and couldn't focus on much else.  Often times I pictured myself suffering through a CrossFit WOD and how bad that sucks and just decided to treat every moment like the last 20 seconds of a WOD-- push no matter how bad it hurts.  

When I was just starting running, I don't think I cared about time.  It wasn't until I was a few races in that I put any pressure on myself to run "fast."  I'm excited to see where my running goes from here. 

My best marathon time is a 4:54.  I KNOW I can do better than that and (spoiler alert) I will when I run Philly in November.  

When I ran my sub 2 half, I got passed by a guy pushing a double jogging stroller.  True story.  

If I had to pick one race distance to run and could only run that distance for the rest of my life it would definitely be the half marathon.  It's my favorite.  Not too far, don't have to go too fast.  

As I crossed the finish line at 3M half marathon and went sub 2, I literally fell to my knees (pictured above).  It was a combination of physical exhaustion and being mentally overwhelmed.  It was a dream I didn't really let myself dream and.  I wasn't even 100% sure I had done it when I crossed.  It was that close. 

I love running in Austin in winter.  The weather for my race was perfect.  I miss Austin running.  

I almost always eat a bagel after a race, but after 3M I didn't eat any post race food that was provided.  I gave my son a banana and mini bagel, so he ate my share. 

I like that I've accomplished a running goal.  It took me 5 plus years to get here.  I can't wait to see what's in store for me in 2020.  Ha!  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Our Trip to Austin Edition

Airport with Franco 

Airplane "selfie" 

First day in Austin.  Seriously?  



Pork Green Chile.  My fave.  

Our old house :( 

More food 

Chopped baker 

I'm detecting a trend here 

Me and BB (and she is beautiful) 

Packet pick-up 

The boys 



Cream  cheese frosting right to my hips 

Carb Load 

Runners (we missed you Val) 


Time to say goodbye 

Ella and host Elise 

Nicholas and host Owen 

Last meal in TX (BBQ from The Salt Lick) 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

20 Loves

We have about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground right now.  Yesterday, that resulted in a snow day for my kids, which meant no CrossFit for me.  Today I've got a sick Bear at home (no CrossFit AGAIN) and so I haven't gotten out of my pajamas.  It's noon.  The only thing that would make it better is if I could just have a day and relax and NOT feel guilty.  The guilt hasn't really made me productive, however.  I've done laundry and read blogs.

I was reading Lindsey's Happy or Hungry and she wrote about her 20 loves.  I thought it was so fun to read so I figured I'd give it a try myself.  So here goes, my 20 loves (in no particular order really).

1.  My family (how could this not be number one).

2.  My amazing friends.  I've surrounded myself with some pretty awesome women.  

3.  Black and white Chapstick.  I'm severely addicted.

4.  That first sip of coffee in the morning.  Best when it's taken in complete silence while everyone else is still asleep.

5.  CrossFit

6.  Pepperoni that gets crispy on the edges and curls up and is filled with a little grease.  Basically any pizza really.  Even when it's bad it's still good. 

7.  My house lit with good smelling candles. 

8.  Setting a goal and accomplishing it. There's no better feeling than working hard for something and accomplishing a goal. 

9.  The feeling of the cool morning on the beach or at the pool, lying on a chair and letting the sun warm up my body.  

10.  New car smell see also clean sheets.  

11.   When all the laundry is done, folded, AND put away. 

13.  My pupster 

14.  Queso.  I don't really discriminate, but Torchy's Tacos in Austin is my favorite. 

15.  Doing anything with just my family.  My kids and my husband.  It doesn't matter if it's snuggling on the couch or being on vacation.  Being alone with my family is probably my biggest love. 

16.  Watching my kids play sports or perform in what they love.  

17.  Watching  my kids get off the bus after school.  I've truly missed them and can't wait to hear about their day. 

18.  Sleep.  I want to be a 4 hour a night kind of person, but NO.  Sleep.  Sleep is good. 

19. Feeling empowered.  My empowerment comes in many forms at different times in my life.  It might be fitting in my skinny jeans (just being real), or setting a new lifting PR, but feeling empowered is one of the best feelings.  

20.  Laughing until my cheeks hurt.  

Now it's your turn.  Tell me your loves!  

Monday, January 26, 2015

3M Half Marathon Race Recap

For those of you who don’t know (eh hem those not following along on Instagram @momswimbikerun) I went to Austin this weekend to run the 3M Half Marathon.   This is my recap and most likely it will be long winded.  You've been warned. 

You might remember back in October, the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon and my sub 2:00 hopes and dreams crashing and burning to the tune of 2:01:09.  Well, 3M was to be my redemption race—the race where I’d FINALLY run a sub 2:00 half marathon. 

Of course as time got closer and closer, I began to doubt my abilities to run sub 2:00.  You may or may not recall, but I made a conscious decision to put running a bit on the back burner in hopes of improving my CrossFit game.  Basically, since Buffalo Creek (October), I’ve been running just once per week.  I would do one long run on the weekends and that’s basically it. 

Having said that, I was still doing CrossFit 4 days a week most weeks so I wasn’t exactly sitting around eating Bon Bons.  Even still, a sub 2:00 half means running about a 9:07 pace.  That’s fast (for me) and I didn’t know if I could do it.  All my long runs had been at a slower pace too.   It just didn’t seem likely.  My friend Kortni was coming up from Houston to run with me and when I told her of my doubts, she told me I had to at least try.   Try I would. 

As I thought about the race throughout the weeks leading up to it, I wouldn’t allow myself to really get nervous.  I would just push all thoughts of it to the back of my mind.  Even on Saturday (the day before the race) I wasn’t nervous.  That was because I just didn’t allow myself to think about the race.  When I woke up Sunday morning, however, my nerves were a wreck.  OF COURSE, I couldn’t eat and barely drank and I realized I’d forgotten any fuel for the race course.  Doubt was no longer just creeping in my mind, but rearing it’s ugly head. 

Trust me, I’m all about believing in yourself, but you also have to be realistic.  I mean the likelihood of running sub 2:00 when I hadn’t run anywhere near that pace for 3 months wasn’t looking good.  I had to try. That’s what Kortni said and I didn’t want to disappoint her.  I also didn’t put THAT much pressure on myself.  Sure I wanted to do it, but I promised myself if it didn’t happen I wouldn’t be disappointed.  

When we got to the race I lined up with Val and Kortni with the 1:55 pacer.  I knew we were not going to run a 1:55, but I really didn’t want to waste any precious time weaving around anyone slower.   Let’s face it, I needed ALL the seconds I could get.  Time wasted on weaving could NOT be tolerated. 

We started off running and right away I looked at my watch every 5 seconds.  Are we on pace? Speed up, slow down, what’s my average. Everything was racing through my mind.  I quickly realized that was no way for me to run the race and I told Kortni to set the pace and promised myself to only look when we hit the mile markers to make sure I was on track. 

Mile 1: 9:04 
Mile 2: 9:03
Mile 3: 9:02

Everyone was going exactly according to plan.  Tony (Val’s husband) had picked up Nicholas to come cheer us on and I knew they were going to be at mile 4. Mile 4 came and went and no Nicholas. 

Mile 4: 9:11
Mile 5: 9:04

At about mile 5.5 we finally saw the boys and it felt good to get a little cheer from Nicholas.  He told me “Don’t fall on a banana (like Idid the last time I ran this race) and I got a good laugh with that.  It felt good to see someone I knew and it was a nice boost. 

At the next water stop, I got water and slowed a bit and Val took off.  I thought to myself, “oh no I’m falling behind” and saw Kortni was waiting for me.  She told me Val had to use the restroom and she was running ahead and would catch back up.  I was relieved that I hadn’t actually slowed down that much. 

Mile 6: 9:12
Mile 7: 9:01

I really don’t remember much about this portion of the race.  I know I started to hurt around mile 6.  MUCH earlier than I had anticipated.  By mile 7.5 I just felt like I was done.  7.5 miles in, that means 5.5 miles to go and I was done. NOT GOOD. 

We wound up seeing Tony and Nicholas again at mile 8, but I hadn’t expected to see them again before the finish and barely caught a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye. 

Mile 8: 9:07

Shortly after mile 8, Val caught back up with us.  I was so happy to see Val again, because I didn’t want to finish this race without her.  Val seemed to be in good spirits and seemed to have a lot of energy.  I, however, was dying.  I told Kortni that I was finished talking and really just needed to focus on running and nothing else. 

Kortni was reminding me to breathe as my breathing got labored.  She reminded me to use my arms to help get me up the “hills” and told me how great I was doing.  Even though I wasn’t responding, I was internalizing everything she was telling me and it was definitely good advice and good motivation, but my energy was waning. 

Mile 9: 9:04

By the time I got to mile ten Kortni was really pouring it on. If I slowed just a tad she’d tell me to pick it up.  At the water stations, she’d tell me there was no time to slow down.  She was focused and keeping me on task, but she kept asking me to give more.  “Are you ready to pick it up?” she’d say, “Let’s go.”  I had nothing to give.  I was fighting back tears.  

Mile 10: 9:07

I think it was just after the 10 mile mark and Kortni was riding me hard (as any good pacer would).  She was the time keeper and she knew it was VERY close at this point.  We were just over a tenth of a mile ahead of the race course so my average had to be even lower than 9:07 to make it under two hours.  I HAD to pick it up if I was going to make it, but everything in me told me I couldn't.  Then Kortni looked straight at me and said, "You need to decide right here and right now if you're going to do this.  If you're not going to do it, then we're quitting right now because I'm not going like this all the way to the end just to see you not make your goal."  Oh yes she did and I was MAD!  

I wasn't mad at Kortni, I just got really mad when she said that.  I even said out loud, "I'm f#$%ing mad now," and I took off.  So did Val, apparently she was scared of my response.  Ha!  For the rest of the race, I didn't look at my watch.  I believed Kortni when she told me I was going to do it, but she really kept pushing me to give it ALL I had and wouldn't take lightly to me trying to slow down.  

When hills (slight upgrades) came, she'd tell me to be consistent, but to be prepared to pour it on when a downhill came.  She coached me through every portion of the last 5k of this race.  I wish I could eloquently put into words how much I loved and hated her both during that last 5k.  

Mile 11: 8:59
Mile 12:  8:56

One thing I do know is I was giving it every last ounce of effort.  I would groan and say I couldn't do it.  I couldn't go faster and I had nothing left to give.  Kortni just kept telling me I COULD do it and I was doing it, but I HAD to keep it up.  I remember asking her around mile 12.  "I'm going to do it right? I'm going to make it."  She answered, "Yes, you are but you need to go faster."  I didn't know how I would or could.  I figured my pace was dropping by the second.  I figured my dreams were crashing and burning.  I looked at my watch and saw we were at mile 12.6.  We were over so I figured we had about .7 miles left to go.  I felt like I could collapse at any moment.  I felt like I wanted to literally just cry.  When I looked at my watch, my average pace seemed as though we were going to make it, but the way Kortni was talking, I knew it was so close.  I envisioned not making it and I imagined doing it.  I mentally prepared myself for both.  

I was making the last climb up to the last turn before the home stretch.  Kortni was pulling ahead of me and yelling at me saying "let's go Susan, faster, faster."  I swear I told my legs to go and I felt like I was walking through sand.  I finally made it to the top and rounded the last corner to the flat straight stretch to the finish.  Kortni was saying it again, "let's go."  I finally said, "I can't go faster."  She said, "Yes you can.  You have 1 minute to get to that finish line."  1 minute I thought and it seemed like the finish line was way at the end of a tunnel.  I told my legs to go.  I wanted to run faster, but I swear I couldn't.  I was giving it everything I had and praying I would cross the finish line in less than 2 hours.  Finally Nicholas bolted out from side and seemed like a rocket running just ahead of me. I finally got some energy and surged for the last 20 yards.  

Mile 13: 8:53
Mile .1  8:28 pace 

Total Garmin: 13.22   Offical Total:  13.1 
Total Time Garmin:  1:59:40  Official Time:  1:59:38 

When I crossed the finish line, I knew I had made it.  I saw the time on the clock said 2:01:something and I knew I was 2 minutes behind the clock.  I knew I'd made it and I collapsed to the ground from physical exhaustion and from being overwhelmed with emotion.  Kortni tried to tell me I needed to keep moving, but when I just fell to the ground and started sobbing, I think she knew I needed the moment.  

about ready to die 

Looking at my watch to be sure I made it 
realizing I HAD made it 

Thank God! 

And thank Kortni!  
I was just overcome with emotion because I had just spent the last 2 hours running as hard as I could and not knowing if it would all be for nothing.  I mean I only had 22 seconds to spare.  That's the difference between walking a water stop (which by the way wasn't allowed as per Kortni.  Hell slowing wasn't even allowed) and not.  

I know one thing for certain and that is I would NOT have been able to do this without Kortni by my side.  Yes I ran and I did the work, but I wouldn't have been able to push myself without her words.  I wouldn't have remembered to simply breathe and I wouldn't have used my arms to get me up the hills and I certainly wouldn't have been able to run sub 9:00 minute miles for the last 3 miles had she not told me to "decide."  

Running a sub 2 hour half marathon has been a long term goal of mine, but for a long time was only just a dream. I thought I'd be strong enough to do it this year at Buffalo Creek, but I came up short.  I didn't know if I'd be able to do it this past Sunday, but I was brave enough to try.  Try I did and I FINALLY did it!  

A huge congrats to all the ladies who ran.  You all kicked butt, especially you Chrystal!  

Thanks to Val for running with me too.  I know you could have gone faster if you weren't staying with me.  I'm inspired by you and all you've been able to accomplish in your "short" running career.  Love ya girl!