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 Lake Placid, Ironman Chattanooga, and Ironman Arizona in 2014. 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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Phoenix Half Marathon


by Amy

my failed attempt at a smile upon seeing the Goatographer!

Last Saturday, I ran the Phoenix Half Marathon as one of my focus races for this training cycle. While I didn't fully taper like I will for Eugene, Coach John cut my mileage in the week leading up to the race to give me a good chance at a 13.1 PR. While my previous PR (1:18:13) was set on the faster Tucson 1/2 course last year, my workouts indicated I was in shape to beat this in Phoenix. After reviewing my online and written training logs, I was feeling pretty good about my chances. Some of February's key workouts included:

Track Workouts:
-10 miles with 4x400 in 85 with 1 min rest, mile in 5:50 with 3 min, 2x800 in 2:50 with 2 min, mile in 5:37
-12 miles with 10x1k in 3:40 with 200 jog in between - did this in Casa Grande with Autumn and Natalie! Got down to 3:32 for the last one, and it was followed by our typical IHOP breakfast :)
-10 miles with 5x1 mile descending with 3 minutes rest: 5:53, 5:47, 5:44, 5:38, 5:29 (last one was a mile PR, lol).
-10 miles with 5x1200 in 4:15 with 400 jog. Did this last month too and it felt SO much easier this time!

Long Runs:
-16 miles on the infamous "Bart's Loop," an extremely hilly route in Tucson. Ran this with Autumn, Pete, Lucas, and Kate in 7:10 average pace.
-16 miles with 3x3 miles under 18min with 1 mile jog in between each set - ran these in 17:55, 17:55 17:29 - Autumn and I nailed this workout!

shake out run with the Desert Endurance camp pre-race!

CB and I debuted our new singlets...

The Phoenix Half was my third long run of the month, as I did about 18 miles including the warm up and cool down. Since there is no place with more predictable temperatures than southern Arizona, I wasn't surprised to wake up to a perfect, 50 degree morning on race day. Autumn and Pete were nice enough to adopt me for the weekend, letting me stay in their room at the Hyatt (a 5 minute walk from the finish line!). The hotel provided an awesome breakfast spread for the runners starting at 3:30 AM (necessitated by the 6:30 race start). I was first in line, and enjoyed some oatmeal topped with granola while watching my favorite Meb videos on the iphone (my classic pre-race ritual).

After an early bus ride to the start, a beet juice shot, and a nap in the parking lot, it was finally time to warm up. Autumn and I followed the first 1.5 miles of the course and immediately noticed the headwind that would be there for a good portion of the race. My original race plan had been to go out "slowly" with the first 3 miles between 6:00 and 6:10 pace. I made a mental note that I might need to adjust this in order to find a pack could shield me from some of the wind.

As planned, I stuck with Autumn and Kate for the first mile of the race, despite it being a 5:53. I hung back for a couple miles before pulling to the front of our pack and trying to bridge us to a group of guys up the road. After a few failed attempts at drafting off random men, Kate and I ended up running with Jason from the Phoenix Free Soles for several miles. We each took turns in the lead, maintaining a fairly even 5:55-5:58 pace. I was working hard and focused on making it to mile 10, where my plan was to find another gear and crush the final 5k.

When I heard my Garmin beep for the 10 mile split, I threw in a surge to begin the last 3.1. I glanced down expecting to see sub 5:50 pace like Autumn and I had run at the end of our 3x3 mile workout. Instead, I saw that I was still in the mid 5:50s. I had to laugh - I thought I was surging, yet this pace felt worlds different than it had earlier in the race.  My visions of a sub 18 final 5k were quickly replaced by trying to hang on and keep my splits below 6:00 pace. In the middle of mile 12, I saw a 6:04 pace for the first time in the race. I began to feel disheartened and very aware how much I was hurting. I also knew I was cutting it dangerously close to the 1:18 barrier....

After a moment of flashbacks to all the races in which I've come close to a goal time, but just missed it (a 3:00:03 marathon, a 1:20:00 half marathon, an 18:01 5k), I suddenly began shouting at myself  - "NOT TODAY...NOT (edited for expletive) TODAY. TODAY YOU ARE RUNNING A 1:17. PRETEND IT'S THE OLYMPIC TRIALS CUT AND RUN LIKE THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE...

With my newfound determination and support from my friends on the course (love you guys!), I ran a 5:41 final mile and achieved my goal with a few seconds to spare - 1:17:55! I was thrilled to PR and even happier that I overcame my mid-race slump and finished strong. It was also great practice in case I need a fast final mile in order to get a 2:42 this May. Ideally, I'll have a few more seconds to spare in Eugene ;)

earned the Rbar!

Love my team!

It's officially time for marathon training. As far as racing, I'm volunteering and supporting Jesse at Mountain to Fountain next weekend, followed by running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k with my SDP teammates at the end of March! Thank you to everyone for your support!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tickets! (No Gun Show)

by Jesse

Amy and I just bought 'em! Our summer EuroTrip is official! Now I can make the "Race Calendar of the Century" official as well. Instead of writing a list, I decided to throw on some Foo Fighters and give you each of my upcoming races along with my opinions on each one. Because if you didn't want my opinion then why are you here? I have done a few fun races already this year, including the Sun Run 10k, 12 hrs in Papago, The Runners Den Pancake Run, and the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. From these race experiences, I have learned a few things. To summarize, racing dumb hurts. A lot. Racing smart feels significantly better and tends to result in a faster race. Also, I enjoy mountain biking but let's just say my skills are lacking there!

Looking ahead: Up next is the Mountain To Fountain 15k (M2F). Now you might be thinking, "That doesn't sound like an A race for a triathlete," until I tell you this: The winning team wins their heaviest teammate's weight in BEER! I just bought tickets to Europe, therefore I need some free beer!

M2F 2014. Hoping for a similar scene this year!

Following M2F is the Oro Valley Sprint Triathlon. I hope to race some other Desert Endurance athletes, including a couple that I coach. I want to blow the cobwebs out of tri racing before I get to the real spring race of the season. I am heading back to the one the only WILDFLOWER. Executing this race well is something that still eludes me. I hope to change that this season. Either way, it is far and away the most fun race I have ever done. The drive is long, the course is legit, and the people are amazing. Plus, how cool would it be to get 2 Jesses on the podium??

After Wildflower starts the journey of a lifetime. No, I am not talking about the Euro trip yet. First, Amy needs to qualify for the Trials. We are headed to Eugene for a long run. Since I get bored pretty easily, I decided to jump in the race with Amy and most of the all-star cast of The Sonoran Distance Project. I hope to hold on to the house marathon PR and get to see Amy qualify for the Trials firsthand. One month later, we embark on our badass Euro trip.

Eugene will be just like this...hopefully minus the 12 year old

First, we head to Denmark to kick things off with Challenge Denmark. I love Challenge races, and am excited to race a couple of them this season. I hope the strength I gain from Wildflower training will correlate to speed on this flat, fast course. Word on the street is that Macca is racing too. If his hand survives the swim, I am excited to race against him, because hey, you never know!

a race in Denmark with a run in legoland...

Then we roll down to Italy to kick it for a month. During this month I need to figure out how to climb. Next up is basically the craziest race in the world, that can only be summed up in this video:

Oravaman is going to be the hardest, hilliest, roughest, most hard to understand the volunteers, and awesomest race I have ever done. I am not going to lie, winning Oravaman might be the coolest thing ever, so keep your fingers crossed!

Oravaman run course

Up soon, an introduction to the support for the season! Thanks everyone!