Monday, September 27, 2010

Broken

This post was written on Thursday as I sat on a plane to Alabama.....race report to come...
I’m sitting here on a plane to Birmingham Alabama and wondering exactly how I got here.  Well, that’s pretty obvious.....Anne and Tyler picked me up and drove me to the airport.  But that almost didn’t happen.  And the race may not happen either.  
So before I get into the drama of the last few days I just want to say....I don’t want sympathy.  I don’t want the that sucks.  I don’t need it and I really don’t even want to talk about it.  But here it is.  I have been dealt a pretty bad hand of cards lately.  Bad luck.  Somehow I pissed off the triathlon “gods” (who these people are I don’t know but I apologize...I really think I’m a decent ambassador of the sport).  Bad luck comes in threes though right?  Wait, no.  That’s airplane crashes (my heart just skipped a beat since I am currently on a plane) and celebrity deaths.  Here are my three:  plantar fasciatis (I will learn how to spell this one day), a sprained foot, and wait for it.....a sprained back.  
I know, I just posted this boo-hoo stuff about my PF a couple of days ago.  But the perfect storm brewed up and wah-lah, I’m broken.  Here’s the perfect storm:  exercises/stretches I have been doing to increase my quad/hamstring mobility and eventually give me a better kick/lift on the run, a deep massage that went really deep on my psoas (spelling here???), a hard swim on Tuesday that I nailed by the way, stress, a stupid 30 lb weight that I have been using for foot rehab (the visual is tough), a bike.....and whoa.  Pain.  On Tuesday afternoon I tried to go on a 30 minute jog and was unable to do it.  It felt like my lower back had been twisted around and was completely out of whack.  WTF?  I stopped.  Stretched a bit.  OK, don’t worry.  Just shake it out you’ll be fine.  I started to jog again.  Nope.  It was getting worse.  I hobbled back to the car in disbelief.  I got home and tried to stretch out.  As the rest of the day went on, it got worse.  I eventually looked like a 98-year-old woman bent over taking short short steps because that was the range I had.  I looked in the mirror and I had lost the curve in my spine.  Gone.  Holy Moly.  This can’t be good.  I couldn’t lie on my back.  I couldn’t lie on my stomach.  I found a little teeny tiny relief on my side.  
The next morning it was not any better but life goes on right?  Michael was out of town (surprise!!!  but usually something goes wrong with the house when he’s gone....not me) so I needed to get up and get the girls to school.  The pain in my lower back felt like back labor or the worst menstrual cramps evah.  It was a constant pain and some movements caused sharp pain in my hips and lower back.  Dr. Ken worked on me.  It was so bad that I couldn’t even push myself up from laying on the table. I started taking natural muscle relaxers....my entire lower back region was in spasm.  OK OK don’t freak out.  But by Wednesday afternoon I was crying in my pillow knowing I wouldn’t be able to compete in Nationals this weekend.  I was (am) so disappointed.  I could barely walk let alone run.  I tried to swim but if I overrotated - pain.  And definitely no flipturns.  It was bad.  
This morning (Thursday), I was hoping for a minor miracle when I woke up.  But it was not to be.  I was still hurting.  And I was still crying.  Not as bad but still knowing there was no way I could compete in 48 hours.  I saw Ken again, he thought I should go.  Michael thought I should just go and if I couldn’t toe the starting line, well so be it.  Plus, he and the girls are heading to California tomorrow for his stepbrothers wedding so I would be alone for 5 days.  Then I got the salespitch call from Tyler.  He basically said, the trip is already paid for, come hang out with your friends, maybe you’ll be OK to race, maybe not, but you’ll have fun.  Plus why stay home alone?  As soon as he said it and knowing what Michael was thinking, I was in.  But I had 1 hour to pack my bike (just in case) and pack my things.  Oh yeah, the most important thing?  Tyler said he’d be my sherpa beotch for the weekend so I wouldn’t have to lug my bike and heavy bags around.  
Sold!!!  That is why I’m on a plane to Birmingham and then in a car to Tuscaloosa.  My back is still in spasm though it is better than it was.  But it still looks like I’m walking around with something stuck up my behind.  (sorry, best way to describe it) I am still taking mass amounts of ibuprofen and the natural muscle relaxers.  My pre-race preparations are a bit different because it has involved a glass(es) of wine/beer and lots of chocolate.  Will I be able to race?  Doubtful.  But I am hopeful.  It will be a race-day decision. 
So send me happy, healing, healthy thoughts and keep your fingers crossed.  I really want to race Nationals.  And if I can’t race?  Well, I will just be the best darn athletic supporter out there to all my peeps.  And enjoy the incredible heat and humidity of Tuscaloosa.  

A funny side note here....how did Tyler and I keep an open middle seat in our row on the full flight?   Easy!  I started scratching my head like I had head lice and Tyler, well he grabbed the barf bag and started making these awful sounds.....childish, yes but mucho entertainment for us!

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Day At A Time

It’s crunch time.  It’s countdown time.  Ironman Arizona is a mere 9 weeks away.  I should be excited.  I should be in the crux of my preparations, but I find myself in a quandary of sorts.  It’s been somewhat quiet on the blogging front for the last couple of months not because I haven’t had much to say.  Or because I haven’t had much time (which I really don’t but I always have found blogging time in the past).  It’s because of my injury.  I don’t like talking about it but it is constantly on my mind.  I have a heel spur on my left foot that causes discomfort at varying times.  Basically, it’s plantar fasciatis.  An injury I had years ago (like 11) and I remember having to give up running at that time for 6 months for it to go away.  When I hear that someone has PF, I shudder in sympathy and fear.....because I know what they are going through and because I didn’t want to ever go through that again.  
It came on suddenly although when I look back I know I had some early warning signs a couple of weeks before the pain set in.  But I raced Loveland Lake to Lake pain-free.  I raced Boulder Peak pain-free.  And then 4 days after the Peak I was unable to complete a run because my foot hurt so much.  If you’ve had PF, you know what I’m talkin’ about.  But I didn’t think it was PF since I didn’t have the “usual” symptoms.....the stiff and painful foot in the morning.  I wasn’t experiencing that.  My symptoms were more like a phantom “pain” that shifted from the side of the foot, to the bottom, to the other side, and to the back all in the course of a day, hour, minute.  I took 2 weeks off running (thanks to the other sprained foot that was easy!).  But I couldn’t wait to start running again.  
Under the careful watch of my coach and my care givers (huge shout-out to Ken at Active Care, Josh at Tri-Massage, and Steph at Whole Health) I started with 15 minutes.  Then 20 minutes.  I think I went to 35-40 minutes once.  The pain was now discomfort and sometimes it was there and sometimes it wasn’t.  Since it was mid-August I wasn’t worried.  Much.  Yet.  I decided not to race Rattlesnake but I had Chicago coming up.  I rolled, I sticked, I stretched, I dug into my foot, I iced. Repeatedly.  I was diligent in treating myself and listening to my coach and caregivers.  Was there improvement?  Yes!  But the discomfort was still present.  I raced Chicago and had no idea how I’d do.....I had not run 6 miles (or any sort of speed work) since Boulder Peak!!  But it went fairly well but I did “pay” for the effort later that day.  My discomfort was high.  It went away quickly but it rears its ugly head at sometimes odd times.  I have had discomfort free runs!  But more times than not, there is some level of knowing it’s there.  
It is exhausting thinking about this all the time!  I wake up in the morning wondering how it will feel when I get out of bed.  I stretch, I stick, I roll, I ice daily.  When will I feel it today?  Will it leave me alone today?  It has been fairly good lately so coach and I decided to test it out last week.  2 easy runs on Monday, 2 easy runs on Tuesday, 1 super secret session on Wednesday, 1 run Friday, 1 run Saturday, and another super secret workout Sunday.  All told, about 30 miles.  How did I hold up?  If you asked me Saturday, you would have found out that I was looking into Ironman refund policy.  If you asked me last night, I would have said not bad!  This morning?  I hesitate to say.....good.  The up and downs of this may actually drive me mad.  I am trying to keep my frustration at bay and keep my head up and be positive.  But it is becoming more and more difficult.  
I miss running.  Fall is here and it that great time of year to be hitting the trails, breathing in the crisp air, looking at the amazing blue sky, and watching the leaves turn.  I ran on Highline for 30 minutes the other day.....and I just didn’t want to turn around.  No!!!  Not yet!!! But I did.  I even miss the track (did I just type that?).   I miss running with PIC.  I just want to....run. 
Funny thing is, I am racing this weekend.  Ken pointed that out today.  I am so caught up in being healthy for IMAZ that I pretty much put Nationals out of my head.  Oops.  Yeah, let’s get through that first.  And then tackle Arizona.  Sounds like a good plan.  One day at a time right??  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Harvest Moon Aquabike

After the strenuous 5k with the family on Saturday, I had the Harvest Moon Aquabike to look forward to on Sunday.  It was only a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike and Charlotte wouldn't be pushing me along so I figured it should be an "easy" day.  Just kidding but I was/am disappointed I couldn't do the entire race by adding on the run at the end.  I'm still struggling with the foot issues and I just don't have the mileage to run a 1/2 marathon and risk injuring the foot 2 weeks before nationals and delay my running return for Ironman!  I also didn't want to DNF by stopping after the bike (just think that's a bad trend to start) but Harvest Moon offers an Aquabike - the perfect solution.  A quick email to Coach CV for his a-ok and an email to the race and wah-lah I was now entered in the swimbike and no run.

The strange thing is, when you take the run out of the race, it becomes much less like a race for me.  Sure, I had to get my bike ready but no race wheels.  Break out the wetsuit.  But it really made it seem like just a paid training day.  Was I nervous?  Not even a little.  Was I taking it seriously?  Ummm, not as seriously as a full tri.  I didn't even watch my eating the day before as I normally do.  Sleep issues?  Nope.  I even got up in the morning and had my usual big ride breakfast - veggie egg scramble, mix1, and a touch of coffee.  I sipped an EFS bottle on my short 20 minute drive to the race site (soooo nice to not have a big drive).  I listened to music and then saw the big line to get into the rez....didn't even phase me.  I parked, passed out nuun samples, pumped my tires, passed out more nuun, and found my way to transition.

This race is so nice.  It is laid back and a cool atmosphere.  Not high stress, high competition.  But trust me, that's not saying there was no competition.  There were some FAST peeps that showed up, including pro Angela Naeth, who I have had the pleasure of training with the last couple of months.  OK, let's rephrase that.  I have been able to hang onto her wheel during warm-up and then she takes off and I don't see her until she's cruising back down the hill.  Or she's on a super strict rest day and I am working my ass off.  Anywho, she was also doing the Aquabike so the question was....when will she catch me on bike.  I was hoping to hold her off until mile 5.

I headed down to the water for the start and was planning on doing a quick swim to warm-up but when I put my feet in the water I started shivering.  It was actually cold - my first "cold" water swim of the season!!  So I bagged a warm-up because I figured I would waste too much energy shivering.    It was finally time for the aquabike wave and we all got started without too much jostling at the gun.  I just wanted to get out front and not get knocked around too much and all went fairly well according to plan.  A few of us went off the front and eventually it was just me and someone who was way on the outside.  But I was pretty sure someone went off the front pretty fast and I couldn't see who it was.  I settled into my stroke and concentrated on my breathing pattern.  The waves were 5 minutes apart so there wasn't too much traffic in front of me.  It seemed everything was going smoothly.  U-turned at the buoy and was halfway done.  The exit balloon was getting nearer and nearer and I tried to pick it up.  Really, this was an uneventful swim until the last 25 yards!  As I was swimming for the beach I had an unfortunate collision with another swimmer who managed to knock my goggles off!  That's a first!  I just grabbed the goggles and kept swimming.  Hit the beach and ran to transition.  Swim was in the low :26s.

A quick word about the run to transition.....holy crap.  It must have been a 6% grade in sand.  My heart rate jumped and once in I slowed down to a walk to get my breath back.  Phew!  OK, now I have the bike.

My heart rate was still high starting out on the bike and I was pushing hard to get out to the main road and had to remind myself I had a long ride ahead of me.  Then I settled back and hoped my legs wouldn't complain the entire ride.....embrace the pain!  And then Ang passed me at mile 4.5 like I was riding backwards.  Go Ang!!!  As I said before, the great thing about this tri is that it is more of a locals race and somewhat laid back.  The bad thing about this race?  It's more of a locals race and somewhat laid back.  Meaning that lots of the peeps on the bike didn't seem to know or understand the passing rules in a triathlon.  Lots of riders hugging the yellow line on the left with no inkling that there were riders behind them wanting to pass.  Lots of men out there not understanding the passing rule (i.e. back off once you've been overtaken on the left), and not wanting to get chicked.  I played one heck of a game of cat and mouse with a guy who I will call Google.  I would pass Google on the left and he would come right back and pass me on the right.  Or he would slingshot off my wheel on the left.  It was getting somewhat annoying.  At the turn onto Colfax I passed him for good but then got caught up in another pack o' men.  Grrrrrr.  Just let me go!!!  With about 20 miles left in the ride I decided to go for it and blew by them all and had nothing but empty road ahead of me.

The ride was so nice, the winds were favorable and completely different from the same ride last week.  That ride reduced me to tears because the winds were so bad I felt defeated!!  There were times I looked at my watch and I was going well over 30mph - on a slight uphill.  I kept telling myself...your day is over after this so get after it!!  I pushed and pushed and all of a sudden I was at the rez for the uphill in.  Ride time?  2:28

Even though it was an aquabike, there was still a 150 yard run to the finish so I treated it as transition practice.  I came into T2 with another guy who said he had been chasing me for an hour and had passed me right at the end.  I put on my shoes about as fast as I could and got out of there, passed him back and flew to the finish.  YeeHaw.

Results???  2nd female overall in aquabike and 1st in age group.  Sa-Weet!!  As I told Chuckie at the end of the race, I could really get used to this aquabike thing!

A huge congratulations goes out to a few people:  Melissa for completing her first 1/2 Iron distance and overcoming some adversity during the run to finish, Richard for turning in a solid performance before Kona, and PIC for her 1st Overall in the tri (not a bad day for TeamTrakkers!).  Well done peeps!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Family 5k!

A race report for Isabelle and Charlotte!!  Today the girls ran their first official 5k in support of Cherry Creek Schools.  Their elementary school has been hosting "runners club" two mornings a week before school for the last month in preparation for the race.  Mr. Reynolds (gym teacher) and the school did a great job promoting the club and it was great to see all of the kids and parents running around the field. The girls have been participating and having a great time doing it!!


This was their pre-race warm-up: a boot-camp style obstacle course


This morning they were psyched for the race - up and dressed and ready to go.  The plan was for Michael and Iz to run together and for me and Char to group up.  We thought that maybe Charlotte and I would be the slower team since she's only 5.  However, Charlotte thought I was too slow to run with her.....hmmmmm.  There was a huge turnout for the race - we caught up with some of the other Fox Hollow kids and parents before the race and then we were off!  Michael and Iz were ahead of us but we stayed with them for a bit.  They pulled ahead and Charlotte didn't particularly care for that.  She was determined to catch up and pass them.  So that is what we did.  And then she decided that she didn't want to get passed back so Char continued to run along.  We held hands (awesome) for the first mile and stopped to get water at the aid station.  Michael and Iz were nowhere to be seen.  Char was happy about that.

Mile 2 she got very serious....she let go of my hand!  Her cheeks were red and she was breathing pretty hard.  She only walked a very little bit and has already figured out that downhills are more fun than uphills!  Her shoe came untied so we stopped and fixed that.  I started to give her bogies ahead of her to keep her motivated and then we were in the final stretch.  I showed her the finish line and told her to give it everything she had.....and she did!!  Yes, this is one proud mama:)
She looks kinda fierce!

Yeah!  The finish!

I wish I could also give you Isabelle's report but I wasn't running with her.  Apparently she did a fair bit of walking but when she saw the finish line she broke into a sprint that Michael couldn't match - she was hauling!  So I'm thinking we have one kid who's fast twitch and one who is slow twitch.

What festival would be complete without balloon hats and face painting

Results?  Charlotte's first 5k (at 5 years old) was a 37:58.  Isabelle came in about 9 minutes later!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicago Triathlon

OK, first of all I must say this.  I have been a bad, bad, bad blogger of late.  Well, maybe not bad just very delinquent.  It's not that I haven't had anything to post, it just seems that time is somewhat of a limited commodity lately.  I have wanted to post pictures of the girls - Charlotte's birthday party, Isabelle starting 3rd grade, Charlotte starting Kindergarten.  There are some fun training stories and pictures to share too.  Interesting thoughts and observations.  But, I just can't seem to find the time.  Or when I do find the time, I would much rather spend it on the couch in the fetal position and licking my "wounds" from the training that has been going on.  See, there's another subject to post.....my "entry" into Ironman training.

But, as usual, I digress.  There is a specific topic to this post!!  After Boulder Peak in July and after I made the decision to NOT go to Budapest, I wanted to race another "big" triathlon.  One with good/great competition, a cool location, and a different type of course (for me).  I came up with the Chicago Triathlon.  It is big, that's for sure....about 8000 athletes!  And, there was an elite age group wave.  I know, I know, I said I would never race elite again (I am far too old to be racing against women half my age) but with elite age groups..... it sounded like my cup of tea.  I can do that!  I emailed the race management company and begged them to let me in and sure enough they let me.

So last Friday, I packed up my bike and gear and headed to the windy city of Chicago.  It was really quite cool.  The last time I had been in Chicago it had been on a business trip years and years and years ago.  I had never been a tourist in Chicago and I was excited to see the city!  I booked a hotel not really having any clue where it was and it turned out to be right off the Magnificent Mile and a couple of blocks from the Navy Pier.  Oh, and about a mile from the race site.  It was perfect!  I spent Friday walking around and ended up seeing a movie too.  As soon as I checked into my room, I built up my bike, put on the race wheels that PIC let me borrow for the race, and rode down to the expo to check things out.

The race expo was nuts.  It was huge and there were mass amounts of people (yeah, 8000 people needed to pick up their packets!) and booths and general craziness.  I found the bike mechanics and had them check Newt out and all was good.  But it was almost too crazy to have my bike in there.  I'm not good with packed expos.....a tad bit claustrophobic.... and it really tested me to stay there and stay calm.  I picked up my packet and decided to listen to the "required" race talk since I hadn't raced this before.  Glad I stayed because I found out the water was 74 degrees and the bike course was riddled with potholes and seams that could eat a bicyclist alive!  But, what I am going to do with 74 degree water?  70 is too warm for me in my wetsuit.  And I don't have a swimskin or a sleeveless wetsuit.  Crapola.... I put the call out on Twitter to see if anyone had any leads and there were possibilities but nothing worked out.  So, I made the call.  No wetsuit for me.

Saturday, a Team Trakkers friend, Megan, came into town and we got to hang out together - very nice.  Especially because she volunteered to be race sherpa!!  I can't thank her enough for this, it was so nice to have her there!

Ok, on to the race!

For a race this size, it was surprisingly (or maybe not) well organized.  Transition opened at 4:15 and I got there around 5:15 (after getting lost with Sherpa Megan in the underground maze of downtown Chicago - what is that all about???).  It was chaos.  But not really.  There were tons of body markers and I got through that just fine.  I got into transition just fine.  I found my rack just fine and prepared as I normally do.  The only glitch was that the bike mechanics (I was counting on them for tire pumping) had a couple of guys NOT show up and the line there was huge.  Hmmmmm.  Shouldn't be a problem right?  I mean, there are 8000 people here, someone is bound to have a pump.  Right?  Yeah.  No.  I couldn't believe there was no pump for me to borrow.  Unbelievable.  But I made one more pass on my huge wave rack and found a woman who was somewhat reluctant to let me use it.  Whatever.  Phew.  Tires pumped and out of transition by the time it closed at 5:45.  Problem was, my wave wasn't until 7:32.  The sprint waves went first, a little break, and then the Oly started at 7:28.  But, the race started right on time at 6:00.  Impressive.

Megan and I found a place to sit and watch the sunrise and I found porta-pottys without a line (yes, another surprise).  It was relaxing and kind of fun to watch all of the action.  I started my warm-up around 6:30 and got into the start corral around 7:00.  I noticed right off that I was one of the few that decided to forgo the wetsuit.  I was really doubting my decision but the water was still 73 degrees (dropped a degree from friday)!  The majority of my wave had wetsuits - full sleeve and sleeveless.  Crap, what am I doing?  I gave up the buoyancy of my full sleeve because I was going to overheat and get dehydrated?  Seemed like a stupid reason at this point in time.

Swim
So, I started freaked out.  There was no warm-up, they just put you in the water right before the horn went off and that was it.  I was looking around at the competition (the wave had all of the elites, not just my age group, and men too) and everyone looked fast and good and really aggressive.  We got in and as I jumped in the coolness of the water without the wetsuit took my breath away for just a moment.  Oh, this was a bad idea.  And before I knew it, I had lined up against the buoy line and was 3-4 deep from the front.  I couldn't help but remember the start at Knoxville and the craziness of that.  I didn't want to get kicked.  I didn't want to get hit.  But the horn went off and sure enough that is what happened.  And sure enough, because I wasn't on the front, I missed the first group.  I was boxed in.  There just wasn't that much room - the swim course was between the seawall and the buoy line and it was fairly small.  I fought for position for the first half of the swim and finally had "clear" water ahead of me.  There was also a fair amount of chop - which I kinda liked.  But coming out of the water I looked at my watch, just under 24 minutes.  Really?  My time also included the 450 meter run-up to transition so....

Swim:  26:21

T1
Well, the good thing about no wetsuit is that there is really nothing to do in transition but throw your goggles down and put on your helmet and glasses.  And get outta there.  But, remember, this transition area is HUGE!  There were trees and their leaves to avoid running out....

T1: 1:36

Bike
Onto the bike.  I was worried about this course after the talk on Friday... they said they weren't going to mark the potholes and bumps and the whole seam thing was troubling as well.  Fortunately, they did mark the big bumps and potholes.  Phew.  The course was 2 loops and the first loop only had the first 2 waves and the stragglers from the sprint so it wasn't too crowded.  The course took the inside 2 lanes of Lake Shore Drive in both directions so you were supposed to pass on the right rather than the left.  Which I mostly did but some people were riding on the right...and it was somewhat confusing.  I immediately started passing people in my wave, men and women.  Got caught up in a couple games of cat and mouse (with men surprise surprise) but I was just trying to go as hard as I could.  My legs were complaining loudly but my mantra is embrace the pain...and so that is what I tried to do.  I just wanted to push through it.

Rather than ages being marked on our calves, the wave numbers were marked....I was in wave 21.  And that is what I kept passing, wave 20s and 21s.  I felt strong but not quite good.  And I was all over drinking my EFS - I actually finished an entire bottle on the bike.  I started the second lap and my legs finally figured out that I was ignoring them so they shut up and so I pushed more.  I didn't know what my heart rate was but I didn't really feel like I was breathing that hard yet.  Only 2 men passed me on the bike!  As I headed around the final turnaround into the last stretch I saw a woman ahead of me who I will call Missy Long Legs and had a 21 on her calf.  At this point I just got angry.  I couldn't believe all the men and women who got ahead of me in the swim.  I was pissed off.  So I put a target on Missy Long Legs and set about passing her with a vengence.  I really started working and passed her soundly.  She clearly didn't like that and passed me back several minutes later.  Uh, no way Missy.  Oh no you didn't.....You beat me in the swim and that is all I'm going to take from you.  I passed her again and that was it.  I just figured with legs like she had I would see her on the run but I didn't care, I got her on the bike.

Because I didn't know the course and because there was really no way to scout the bike beforehand, the end came up quickly and I didn't have time to get my feet out of my shoes so I ran into transition with my shoes on.  No biggie.

Bike:  1:06:28
Ave. MPH: 22.8

T2 1:42
Man, that's a long run into transition but I got in and out as quickly as possible.

Run
This was the big question mark for me.  Could I run?  Could I run kind of fast?  Would I have to walk?  Would I have to DNF?  My foot isn't quite healed up yet so I was under specific instructions from my coach to haul ass (my words not his) in the swim and bike and be careful on the run.  If I felt any pain, I was to hold back and not risk injuring it further.  I exited T2 and felt pretty good.  So, I went with the pace.  I knew it was fairly quick but I had no idea if I could hold it seeing as how I haven't run more than 4 miles in the past month.  But I felt light on my feet and I really didn't want Missy to catch me.  It was so strange and kind of cool to run past the swim start when so many athletes hadn't yet started their race and I just had 5 more miles to go!  And these people were cheering for me - it was awesome.

I drank water at every aid station and put some on my head.  It was hot and humid but I hadn't noticed it too much at that point but I knew it was only a matter of time before I got really warm.  Mile 2 came and went without much issue, I felt some discomfort with my foot but it was pretty low.  Mile 3 passed and then the turnaround.  The run course was spectacular - along the path next to the lake, by Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and the stadium (da bears).  When you turned around all you could see was the Chicago skyline.  Way cool.  Since it was an out and back I was trying to figure out where I was overall and in my age group.  I thought I was about 2nd or 3rd in my age group and no clue overall, race brain just doesn't work that well for me.

My foot?  Well, I could read the email from Coach in my head and I just kept asking myself, should I back off?  And I did....sort of.   But I knew I was going to pay for the effort on the run after.  But I also knew I didn't want any woman passing me on the run.  I knew I had a minute on the next girl and I just told myself to keep with the current pace and I would be fine.  It really started to get warm and I felt like I was melting a bit.  My foot was bothering me a bit more than I care to admit and I could feel the lack of run training in my legs around mile 4.5.  I passed a couple of guys that had passed me earlier on and I had a bogie for the last mile, I really wanted to catch him...and I did....but with a quarter mile left he pulled away and I couldn't keep up.

I finished with a smile on my face - that was a fun race (except for the swim:)!

Run
45:43

I still figured I was 2nd or 3rd in my age group but I had to wait around for awards to find out!  When they finally announced my age group....much to my surprise....I was first!!!!

Time:  2:21:52
1st Elite Age Group 40-49
12th Overall (Elite and Age Group)