Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Race Recap: Bristol Half Marathon

The Bristol Independence Half Marathon was run on Sunday morning in the tail end of a passing low that dumped buckets of rain and some pretty strong winds on the Northeast. Just over 450 runners showed up because we’re New Englanders, after all, and what’s a little rain? The wind had pretty much died down by the time the race started though the rain kept up for the entire time we were out there.

I had a total girl moment when I woke up and thought, “I don’t know what to wear!” I had planned on running in tights and a t-shirt but thought the rain might make my tights wicked heavy. The choice is to wear lots of clothes to keep warm and deal with the extra weight or wear very little clothing and hope it’s not too cold. I left the house in tights and a tshirt and changed my mind by the time I drove to Bristol.  It wasn’t very cold out, thankfully, and shorts and a long sleeve worked out well though both soaked up plenty of water. The sopping wet pile in my sink after the race felt like it weighed 8 pounds!

My race plan was primarily to run with a race plan since I haven’t done it before. I wanted to see if I could set a plan and stick with it. Not go out too fast, drink water every couple miles even if I didn’t want it and push harder every mile.
The course in Bristol is flat with lots of corners. I like corners, it breaks it up. We were running around the down town area and then out through Colt State Park and back to the start/finish. I intended to split the race into four segments of three miles each. The first three I wanted to run 8min/miles and try to whittle 10 seconds or so off in each of the next segments. I ran with my Garmin watch that I’m still not totally stoked about even after updating the firmware. It seems to read out a high end average pace and I only get an accurate idea of what I’m running at each of the mile marks. The first three miles I stuck to my guns and ran flat 8s. As I started to move forward into mile 4 I felt pretty good and kept thinking about the phrase ‘on the edge of comfortable.’ I felt good, could definitely maintain that pace and could start to push it as the race went on. Around mile 6 a young girl running her first half caught up to me and we fell into sync. We ran together for three miles or so and it was really good to have someone to pace off of. I would have probably slowed down if she hadn’t been right there stride for stride. We were maintaining 7:53 or so and the rain was coming down harder. I broke away from her just after mile 9 and told myself to push for the next 3. What’s a 5k? NBD. You’ve got this. It was a hard push at the end and I ran the last 3 over the edge of comfortable into uncomfortable but doable. As I approached the 12 mile marker the guy next to me commented about the last mile. I looked up toward the finish and it seemed like an awfully long way away! When I mentioned it he calmly reminded me that it was more than a mile, 1.1. We started kicking in down a flat straight bike path, neither of us letting the other get in front. Silently egging eachother on. That’s a great part of racing, the unspoken comararderie paired with fierce competition. He outstepped me just at the coral but it was a good strong finish. 

My chip time was 1:42:58, not quite the sub 1:40 I was aiming for. I know that I haven’t been focusing on training and have done very little speed work so it was as I said it would be going in, a base line for the next two this summer. I’m happy with the result, I liked how I ran and didn’t fall into my normal trap of slowing down in the middle miles. And since it started at 6:30 in the morning I was home and showered and ready to go sailing by 9!  What did you do this morning?!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The end of the VOR and the start of the Triple Crown

It's been a pretty cool couple of months of sailing and travel so far this spring. May brought around the launch of my boat, a run stopping injury and the return of many friends to the Newport area. The Volvo Round the World Ocean Race had a stop over in Newport which brought huge crowds of people into town to watch sailing! I love my sport but let's be honest, it's not exactly a spectator sport. Sail Newport and the VOR did an amazing job with the race village. With interactive simulators and a half hull of a Volvo 60 people could climb around and experience what life on a boat might be like. Having so many people excited about sailing was pretty neat.

The presence of the SCA sponsored team made up of women sailors has opened up some interesting conversations regarding bias in the sport. I've thought about this a lot and for the most part have kept my opinion off of the Internet but I'm pretty sure the only person that reads this is my Dad so I'm safe. After many conversations, articles read and drunk rantings and ramblings, I'm going to go with I don't think the issue is whether or not women as a whole are strong enough or good enough. I am concerned with wether or not I'm strong enough and good enough.  I can't do anything about the lack of opportunities for women to race except try harder to get myself on race programs. Reality is that there are few positions that need to be filled and those positions are being sought after by everyone. Even if you get the job there is no guarantee that the program will last. Yachting and racing are recreations to the billionaire owners of the boats. That doesn't lead to a whole lot of security in the job field. Trust me, I've cried about how unfair it is and yelled at my teammates for not supporting girls in sailing but it comes down to the fact that it's an industry of sailors looking out for number 1. So thank you to my teammates who listened to my bitching and gave me the advice I needed. Sailing, like running, is a sport that will only carry you as far as you push yourself. Just because you have a gig doesn't mean it's going to last and just because you've run something before doesn't guarantee success a second time.

Now we can talk about running. 

(See what I did there with the sailing is like running segway?)

Last week I ran my favorite loop in Palma that takes me gradually uphill to the Belver Castle along with some half mile repeats along the coast. Back in Newport on Monday I ran 10 around Ocean Drive on tired legs and I feel pretty good about my pacing. 
This weekend is the Bristol Half Marathon in Bristol RI. It's the first race of the RI Triple Crown event since I missed running Providence. Training has been pretty unfocused but it will be a good baseline for the other two races. I'm not looking at a PR this weekend, more using it as a long distance tempo training run.The hardest part of distance racing is the pacing and I struggle with keeping calm in the first few miles. My goal this weekend is to stay just over 8min/mile for the first 3 miles and crank it up slowly from there. I know that I can maintain a 7:40 pace for many miles but have yet to run negative splits for a distance race. I usually end up with an average pace of 8 and slower miles in the last third of the race. My friend Jillian always runs with a race plan and as yet I haven't really made one for any of my races. This is my first race this summer so as good a time as any to change some things up and see what happens. 
My math teacher in high school always said, "if you alway do what you always did you will always get what you always got." This doesn't make a whole lot of sense in math teaching because I certinly never "got" math but for running it's pretty a propos.  So get out there this weekend and make a change. Do something a little differently and see what happens. Also, if you know any biionaries looking for a way to spend money tell them to buy a race boat and hire me!

Leaving Sardinia

It's always a good Tuesday night with the Avalanche V crew

12M Class start at NYYC Annual Regatta

Palma Windmill

Everyone needs a cannon

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Spring, Summer, Sardinia

It's been a long time since I posted last. As always I've been running and sailing all over the place. I also bought an iPhone and did the very typical thing that everyone does when they do. I stopped carrying my camera and started running with my phone instead. This is a good thing for a few reasons; I run in new places a lot and am really not a details person thus I end up pretty lost by the turn around point, If I see something awesome or beautiful or interesting while running I can snap a photo and share it with you all and I can use the fancy tracking and Nike apps to improve my workouts. Now I don't take my phone with me on most runs and I don't always track my pace and progress, especially of late, but it's a pretty cool way to recap the last few months.

These two cheered me on during some interval training in Newport.

Sailing in Antigua Classics Regatta

Run, swim, run in Antigua with some friends

Sunset at Shirley's. My favorite Antiguan run

Some Sardinian miles 
Launching my boat took up a lot of time that cut into running, but isn't she pretty?

Do you know where your unicorn is?

Portsmouth, RI morning run 

Summer is in full swing in Newport and training for the Rhode Island Half Marathon Triple Crown is underway.  A 7 miler tempo run yesterday boosted my confidence with an average pace around 7:45. Tomorrow's mission is to find a track and start getting back into repeat speed work. 

It's a great time of year, bring on the miles!