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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Best Bad Race Ever

by Amy

Cold Chicago!

Last weekend, Autumn, Ariana, Priscilla, and I traveled to Chicago to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, which also doubled as the National 8k Team Championships. We were one of twenty female teams entered in the race, and were aiming for a podium finish (top 5 teams got prize $). Last year, Ariana and I had traveled as a duo (teams needed at least three women to enter), so we were excited to be back with a full team. We arrived Friday and spent the two days before the race eating healthy, acclimating to the weather on our shake out runs, and indulging in some of our favorite TV programs (Dateline for Ariana and World Figure Skating Champs for me!).

pre-race dinner at Freshii

As I do before each race, I sat down with my Believe I Am Journal on Saturday morning and came up with a game plan. My mantra for this one was "get one more." Every second was crucial to the team competition, since scoring is done by the combined times of each team's top three runners. I wanted to keep pushing until the end, using the hundreds of other fast women on the course as motivators. My teammates liked my mantra, and we arrived on the starting line Sunday fired up and ready to pass as many women as we could in the final miles...

Individually, my race plan was to run an average pace in the low 5:40s. I wanted to run a 5:50 for mile one and descend from there. It sounded manageable given my recent workouts, but things unraveled pretty soon after the gun. I wasn't wearing a watch, but when my teammates took off in the first mile I felt like I would have to sprint all out just to stay with them. I thought I was running around 5:50 effort but was pretty discouraged to come through the first mile in a 6:03 (there were clocks at every mile). For perspective, my slowest mile in the Phoenix Half Marathon at the end of February was a 6:04!

After a brief moment of shock and frustration upon seeing the clock, I remained positive and determined give it my all. Although I wasn't in a scoring position at that moment, I had to keep pushing because I had no idea what might happen with my teammates up the road. I rallied for the second mile, coming through the marker in 11:45ish. I kept focusing on girls up the road, trying to pass as many as I could despite being far behind my performance from last year (28:38). My final miles were in the low 5:50s, and I finished in 29:15, which was a pretty disappointing time for me. However, I think I rallied pretty well after my abysmal first mile. I'm happy that I at least stayed positive and gave it what I could.

I understand that it's sometimes hard to run fast during marathon training, but I was pretty bummed that I couldn't contribute to the team more. Luckily, my teammates kicked some serious butt! After cooling down, we were thrilled to return to the elite tent and see the results - we finished fourth in the team competition! That more than paid for our post race burgers and beer, and caused me to declare the Shamrock Shuffle my "best bad race ever." As we enjoyed our celebratory meal, we hashed out plans for a return trip and a higher finish next year. Seven weeks will give us plenty of time to recover after next February's Olympic Trials Marathon ;).

best team, best uniforms, best bad race ever!


Look who we found in the hotel bar! PZ Party of One!

Speaking of the Trials, The Eugene Marathon is six weeks away! Natalie had a great race at South Mountain last weekend, and our team of women is shaping up to go for the Trials cut. If there's anything last weekend taught me, it's that racing is so much more fun when you share the starting line with your teammates. I can't wait to work together again on May 10!

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!