October started off with a bang as I headed off to Washington D.C. for the 25th Annual Army 10-Miler. I was fortunate enough to be on the Ft. Hood Women's team. What a great group of ladies! We headed out on the 2nd, and despite a minor plane delay, got there with no issues. It was not nearly as chilly as we had anticipated, but that was fine by us as any heat would only be an advantage to this Texas team. We picked up our packets and managed to avoid a big crowd. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some quality time with two good friends of mine over the next couple of days, and that was quite enjoyable. One convinced me to purchase the Vibram Five Finger KSOs pictured to the right. Right now I'm just wearing them because
they are comfortable. After Ironman I intend to do some actual running in them, so more in the future. I'm sure there will be some adventures to follow! Back to D.C., so race day came and the weather was absolutely beautiful. We were a short 1.5 miles from the race start so we jogged over that morning and dropped all of our gear at the Ft. Hood AUSA tent. Myself and 3 of the other ladies headed to the race start and seeded ourselves in our corrals. Guess we could have started closer up, but no problem. It really could not have been better weather. Perfect temps in the 60's, no wind, and totally sunny. The race started and I did my best to hang to with one of the ladies until she took off around mile 3. The first few miles were super fast. I was keeping a good 6:50-7 min/mile pace and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to give this team 100%. They had been training together, and I missed all of that because I had Ironman training. So, I wanted to prove that it was worth it to have me on the roster. Anyhow, I was keeping fairly solid up through mile 6 and as we headed back past the Capitol and Smithsonian. It was probably the last two miles that got me a little bit. Not major hills or anything, but a couple of bridges/overpasses that, when working hard and going fast, definitely can impact pace. At mile 8 I caught back up to one of my teammates and actually passed her (she was actually on the Master's Mixed Team) and hoped she'd latch onto me. I then opened it up with all I had left on the last 1/2 mile. I finished with a 1:11:54 (7:11 pace) and compared to the 1:17 and 1:27 I ran in Iraq in '06 and '07, I'd call that a PR. Our team time would be taken from the first 4 of the 6 of us on our team crossed the line, and I was #4, so I earned my spot. We went 1:08 something, 1:09 something, 1:11:50, and 1:11:54. It ended up being enough for us to take 2nd overall in the Active Duty Women's category. The Men took 2nd as well, and our Mixed Master's team BLEW the field away and easily took 1st place. In the past, the Ft. Hood men have podiumed twice, but that's it. So, it was nice to be a little part of Ft. Hood running history there. Unfortunately, I didn't get to stay around the rest of the week with the team at the AUSA conference because I needed to get back to the job. The 10-miler was a fun race, and one I'd like to do again. I know I can run it faster if I'm trained for the 1/2 marathon distance or so with some more speedwork. The endurance aspect of me allowed me to put some more miles in the bank later in the day, after the race, but I think I can do a 70 minute ten-miler. We shall see in the future. This race, in Iraq in '06, is what got me hooked into endurance sports, so it was fun to do the real thing with great people.
That 10-miler did, however, whoop my legs! Going that hard for that distance beat my legs up a bit more than my longer runs did. But, I got right back to it and that weekend I had a whooper of a workout. During the week I sort of met the "I'm tired of training, let's just get to race day already" moment. So, when Saturday morning got there and I found it 52 degrees and cloudy, I wasn't motivated for 125 miles. Yes, 125 miles. But, off I went. I rode out to meet up with Tanya, and already, at 21 miles I wasn't having fun. The whole ride was sort of a beat down with hills, wind, and cold (for me--we dropped over 30 degrees in 2 days). Rode with Tanya for awhile and then made it back and finished up the 125 miles, not so much in the best time, but at least it was done. I had a 3 mile run off of it and that actually felt PHENOMENAL! I was so ready to be off the bike. Glad that Ironman isn't any longer than 112!! So, some mental battles that day. The next day I had a 20 mile run, and had it not been for one of the gals from the 10-miler team running with me, I might've had a really bad day. It was cold still, rainy, and I was tired! I had done around 6.5+ hours of exercise the previous day and now had a 20 mile rain in crappy weather!! Thankfully, company made all the difference, and even with sloggy feet I did a good 20 miles at about an 8:45 pace. I thought it would be much worse.
Now, it did take me a bit to recover from that big weekend, and so this week I didn't quite hit everything on the schedule. But, at this point in training it's as important to listen to my body and NOT do something if it doesn't feel right than it is to try to push through. Thankfully, I recovered enough by the weekend that on Saturday Tanya and I rode the Outlaw Trail 100 miler in Round Rock, TX. The weather was pretty nice, a little chilly, but not as bad as the previous week and this time there was sun (which is why I'm a little "pink" today). Unfortunately, most of the 100 mile route was on some of the worst road I've ever ridden. The most horrible chip seal (and I'm fairly used to it at this point) and just road in horrible disrepair. I was also unprepared for hilly how this ride was. Tanya and I are pretty sure that it's the hilliest 100 miler we have done. It wasn't my fastest century, finishing in about 5:30 or so, but it was a good workout. I was again, afraid I might've worked over my legs for today's long run of 18 miles. I knew 3 of the girls from the Hood team were joining me for it, and then when I showed up there were even more people! It was awesome. The weather was gorgeous, and I held a good 8:35min/mile pace on a very hilly route! Thanks ladies!! It was truly a great run, and I'm feeling pretty confident right now about race day.
Taper is nearly here. I still have a little bit of decent volume this week, to include a mid-week 16 mile run. This weekend I'll be doing the swim leg of a relay for the Longhorn 70.3 That will be good practice for sure. Then, I'll be at two weeks till race time and the taper will get here!! YAY! I'm so excited to race at this point. I know I am ready (well, with some rest) and just really interested to see how I put the whole day together!!