One Is Better Than Two

Greetings, friends! Its finally happened: The long anticipated merging of our two mediocre blogs into a Gestalt-like one. Figuring Jesse’s mom needed a break from switching from page to page (hi, Melinda!), and not wanting to lose Amy's three readers in South Korea, we have decided to keep our friends and family updated from the same internet home. This blog is a collection of pictures, recaps, and ramblings from a pro triathlete and elite runner. Jesse has been racing triathlon since 2007, turned pro shortly after, and has posted several top-10 Ironman finishes. His eyes are on Ironman Arizona in 2015. Amy is a former division one swimmer turned triathlete turned elite runner. In 2011, she decided to stop cycling and swimming in pursuit of marathon glory. She has since won several races, including the 2014 PF Changs Rock n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. Her sights are now set on qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Be Monumental: Indy Half Recap

by Amy

Honestly, today's post seems unimportant given the events of last week. Our friend (and one of Jesse's athletes), Tom Golden, suffered a stroke while in the final days of training for Ironman Arizona. Tom is a great person, husband, and father, and a fantastic athlete. He was in the best shape of his life and was surely going to compete for a Kona slot this year. Click here to read more about Tom and to donate to his family in this time of need. Thank you for the support!
Indianapolis Monumental Half

When I arrived at the Eugene Marathon last May, I hadn't missed a single workout in one year due to injury or illness. I had strung together two nearly perfect marathon training cycles, and was very confident that I could run a 2:42. It turned out to not be my day, but I'm happy to have built my fitness through a year of consistent training.

As I enter the final weeks of training before CIM, this season has been slightly different. I've had a couple weeks of reduced training due to injuries, skipped a race in October because I felt some shin pain and wanted to play it safe, and have taken a couple unplanned rest days as well. Like my hero, Meb, I've tried my best to listen to my body and keep my focus on getting to the starting line healthy. 

I build confidence through consistent training, so I wasn't exactly sure what to aim for going into last weekend's Indy Monumental Half. Despite the hiccups in my training, I've executed some very good workouts and felt I had a chance to PR (under 1:17:55) based on those. I set that as my "A" goal with a "B" goal of running somewhere in the 1:18s, which I thought would still give me confidence that I can go after the OTQ in December.

Trying to run the tangents early in the race :)

Coach John encouraged me to just go for it if I felt good, and not to be so concerned with holding back my pace. Jesse V had said the same thing as we went over my race plan while eating at Whole Foods the day before I left. I'll be racing as cautiously as I can in December, so why not take some risks now? When the gun went off, I did just that, latching onto a pack and running several miles in the low 5:50s. I lost my pack around the 10k mark, and struggled a bit to hold pace as I ran alone through mile 10. I wasn't looking at my Garmin at all, but the clocks on the course indicated a few miles over 6:00 in there. I focused on the fact that my overall pace was still in the 5:50s, and tried my best to keep it there. I also focused on people ahead of me, trying to reel in as many as I could while staying relentlessly positive. When I saw that I was slightly off PR pace, I set a second goal of getting under 1:18:30. I didn't fly all the way to Indy to leave disappointed, and felt great as I crossed the finish line in 1:18:21. Despite taking it out a tad fast, I hadn't died. My endurance is there. I also stayed positive and focused until the end, which are skills I'll definitely need for the marathon!

reviewing my splits on the flight home...should have pushed those middle miles harder!
The plus of being a running blog stalker is knowing of several women who have run OTQs after half marathons similar to mine. They are no different than me; I can do it too. I'm going to give it everything I have on Dec 6!

Special thanks to the staff at Indy Monumental, who took care of us elites so well! I can't say enough good things about this race, and highly encourage anyone who wants to run a fast half, full, or 5k to sign up! There's nothing better than walking from your hotel room to the start line, and racing in Indianapolis makes it easy. Thanks to Coach John for spectating via bike again, and to my amazing teammates Autumn and Susan for making the trip so fun. Autumn came close to her half PR as well, and Susan was the top female master's runner in the marathon! Onwards to CIM!

Just your standard post-race photo with teammates and Bart Yasso!

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Tale of Two Races and a Change of Plans

by Amy

Having lived in Tucson for over six years, I now have a small running streak going at some of my favorite local races. This Fall, I continued that streak The Saguaro East Labor Day Run and The Run n' Roll 8k. It was my fifth consecutive year doing each race, and they didn't disappoint! I won the women's race at Saguaro in a PR for the course, and my time was on par with several women who have later gone on to run sub 2:43 marathons!

Saguaro Pain Train

A rare suffer face on Jesse V proves the challenge of the Saguaro course!

Speaking of OTQ marathons, I'm still planning on running a 2:42 or faster this Fall! Instead of racing Indianapolis Monumental, however, I am now running the California International Marathon on Dec 6. After the Saguaro race, I ended up missing a couple weeks of training with calf pain. Having just come off another injury in August, this was pretty surprising and frustrating for me. While there are often physical explanations for injuries, I started to believe mine were caused by more than just high mileage running and "weak glutes."  In total honesty, I realized I'd been putting more pressure on myself to qualify for the Trials than I wanted to admit. Running an OTQ marathon has occupied my thoughts every day since March of 2011. The goal has become a part of me, and I've shared it with everyone I know. I could say that "it's the journey, not the destination," and other inspirational quotes, but honestly, I really, really, really want to be on the Olympic Trials starting line! As I eluded to in my last post, my emotions were causing me to over-analyze every ache and pain I felt during training runs. I thought I had this under control, yet I panicked again after feeling calf pain in the week following the Saguaro race. This might sound crazy to some, but I truly believe I manifested this injury (or at least made it worse) by letting anxiety permeate my thoughts.

I'm grateful to have come to this realization. I think it was exactly what I needed to develop some extra mental fortitude. After lots of self-reflection and faith, I'm back in the roads and feeling great. I even got to run my favorite race, The Run n' Roll 8k, as a tempo run for my first comeback workout! Jesse and I both placed third in our gender divisions, making the Vondracoles $200 richer that day!

saying hi to Pete during the Run n' Roll!

While I still want that OTQ, I'm trying my best to focus on the present moment. Running is supposed to be fun, after all. I truly love putting in the miles. Every day, I record my training in my Believe I Am journal, along with something I'm grateful for in relation to running (e.g. runs with friends, runs with Addy, coming to work a much calmer person after a 10-miler, etc). Gratitude is a powerful emotion, and it's helping me keep perspective as I chase the biggest goal of my athletic career. As the aches, twinges, and doubts rear their ugly heads during hard runs, I repeat the following mantra to myself - "I am running in the Olympic Trials Marathon." And I believe it 100%.

50 days until CIM! Thank you to everyone for your support!

SDP after our post-race breakfast! Love my teammates!