Category Archives: running

Becoming a Marathoner

Last year, when I finished Ironman Cozumel and I noticed that I had done so much better on the run than any previous Ironman, I said to Felipe, I think I want to run a full stand alone marathon. As weird as it sounds, up to that point we had done 4 full marathons but none as stand alone ones. They were all after riding 112 miles. We had made an attempt in 2014 when we had signed up for the Dallas Marathon which I couldn’t do because that’s when I got my orders and became a Commissioned Corps Officer for the U.S. Public Health Service so I had to be in D.C. for basic training during that time, and on top of that, Dallas was hit with a major winter storm and they had to cancel so even if I had been in town, I wouldn’t have run it.

We entered the NYC Marathon lottery earlier this year, of course, not even thinking we were going to get in. We had already entered the lottery on 2015 and didn’t get in, so we entered again this year. For those of you that know about it, the chances of getting in are very slim. The NYC Marathon has 3 pools for lottery entries, local to NYC (60 miles radius), out of state, and international. Those account for a great majority of the entries, others are the different charities, secured entries and/or the 9+1 method which is the one where you run 9 NYRR races and volunteer 1, it turns to be a really expensive method to get a secured entry to the marathon, but it is a good one if you are local to NYC. For us, it wasn’t a good option, as it would have been about a $2500 at the end of the year when it comes to entry fees, transport to the city for each race and on top of that you still pay full price for the marathon entry. Anyways… .so we both entered the lottery, to our surprise we both got in at the same time. So needless to say we were super excited to get in. On top of that, 2 of Felipe’s co-workers and one of our teammates from Texas got in as well, so we knew it would be a fun one.

From the beginning we knew that running it to kill ourselves wasn’t an option, we still had Ironman Cartagena 70.3 as our A race for the season on December 4th so going too hard at the marathon would hinder our last block of training and our recovery for it. Also, didn’t want to risk getting any injuries prior to Cartagena.  Those are little things that you learn season after season, the more races you do, the longer you race, it turns to more recovery. We didn’t want to sacrifice Cartagena so we decided that we were going to enjoy the 5 boroughs and take it all in. Of course, we didn’t want to walk it, but we weren’t going to break any records. Also, because of our A race, our training wasn’t focused for a marathon. We knew what the distance would entail, but needless to say, we respect the distance, knew we still needed to train for it, and little to no slacking was allowed.

img_2597Our logistics started with us staying in the City. We made our trip to the city and planned it as a weekend trip. We knew we could do the drive the morning of but we didn’t want to stress over all that on that morning. Our weekend started with our friend and teammate, Jenny, arriving on Friday to the city. We met each other around 3 pm, and we went to pick up our packages at the expo. That went pretty quick, then our adventure started by going to rescue Jenny’s cell which she left in the Uber that took her from the airport to meet us, so a few hours later we were ready to get on our way home. We were pretty tired, Felipe had just come back from Arizona that morning as well so it was a long day for all.
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Saturday morning we left our place at around 8. Jenny wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty but we couldn’t get tickets from NYC to get there, fortunate for us, we managed to get tickets from NJ. It was a nice day, so that helped a lot, and I think the crowd was probably better from the Jersey side than from the NYC side. We explored the Statue and then headed back to the city so we would settle in at the hotel. We wanted to put our legs up early as it is so easy to let your self get all excited about the city and not rest. We did about 17 miles between Friday and Saturday walking, so we were pretty ready to get our legs up.

15000208_616567051864429_5146014050346110768_oWe got back to the hotel by 8 pm, set up our race stuff for the next day, and by 9 pm lights were out. We were so tired, that it was easy to fall asleep. Since it was daylight savings that day, we had an extra hour to sleep so it was great.  The wake up alarm went off and we were ready to go. We had a 24-hr bagel place downstairs from our hotel so we got breakfast there and picked up our Uber to go to Whitehall Terminal. Then the fun begun. There were so many people, it was hard not to soak everything in. From there, the ferry takes you from Manhattan to Staten Island, then you get on the buses that take you to the start. We camped at the Staten Island terminal for a little bit before heading to the start VIRB Picturesince we had late starts. We didn’t want to just sit at the park waiting in the cold. Once we waited for a little bit, we then got on the buses which is a good 30-40 min ride to the start, traffic is heavy due to all the buses going back and forth. We got to the start and sat amongst 50,000 of our running friends to wait.  Cell reception wasn’t the best as so many people were all killing time on their phones.
Before we knew it, we were in our corral ready to go.  Being surrounded by so many awesome people was great, but the nerves were starting to kick in.  I was surprised they hadn’t knocked earlier in the day as is usual for me on race day, but the overall feeling of this race was different.  I knew I was going to have fun with my hunny running through the streets of NYC.  As a young kid, I remember seeing the marathon on tv and thinking how cool for so many people to be freely running through NYC, but never in my mind did I ever think I would be standing here about to run the streets of NYC.  We were able to get warm, and shed our layers off before we got to the actual start. We were getting really excited as we were getting closer to the start, tons of people, the energy was amazinVIRB Pictureg, the Star Spangled Banner performed by one of the runners and then the cannon went off. Those things give me goosebumps just remembering them. We had one goal for our run, we wanted to run a 4:30 marathon. We were able to keep the pace and stay on for 15-16 miles, until we hit Queens and got into Manhattan. The Queensboro bridge was a beast as it was a straight incline into Manhattan.  My legs were definitely feeling it at that point.  The Manhattan rollers slowed us down and by the time we hit the Bronx we were starting to fall off pace.

Our walking intervals were more often and longer and it was mentally draining. The crowds definitely helped to distract the pain and keep carrying us to the finish line. Once we got into Central Park, the last couple of “hills” which seem mountains at that time, came up and we looked at our watches, by that point our 4:30 goal became the “let’s make it under 5” so we did our best to run through the crowds and forget the pain to come in under 5 … mission accomplished 4:59:59. Such a great feeling to be done, but unlike other races where you get most of your things right at the finish, 26.2 miles became more like 28 miles.  Since so many people run the marathon, they have to make room for all who still are coming in.  It is another good mile or 2 (or seems like that) before you get your pictures taken, your bag with food, your blanket and your poncho. We didn’t make it out of the park until about 45 minutes after we finished, we were cold, stiff, and tired, but super happy to have been part of this epic marathon.  They gave us our well earned and long awaited NYC ponchos, which are amazing.  They have a fleece inner lining and it felt great wearing them as we were slow walking through NYC. An Under Armour rep had been standing outside of a building and he was inviting marathoners inside a pop up store where VIRB Picturethey had  set-up a stretching area with food for athletes.  Since we were waiting for Jenny, we ventured inside to check it out.  It sounded great until they told us it was downstairs and we had to maneuver stairs. LOL it was a sight to see as going down stairs wasn’t the prettiest after having done a marathon.  We walked into a room with all kinds of goodies including foam rollers, stretch bands, yoga mats, and Normatec boots. The best part of all was a delicious carrot cake they had for us.  Needless to say, Felipe and I took advantage of everything.  The mere thought of stretching wasn’t the best, but I knew I would quickly get stiff and then it would be even harder to move around.  So I made the effort and braved the foam rollimg_1233er, which actually didn’t feel too bad especially a high-tech vibrating foam roller.  Best thing! 🙂
Felipe then jumped into the Normatec boots and once he was done, I used them too.  By that time, Jenny had finished and met up with us, where she also took advantage of free stretching area.  As we hobbled up the stairs and back onto 72nd, we went to grab some food.  Burgers, fries, and beer – can’t beat that.  We took an Uber back to the hotel and got some rest. Medal Monday came and Felipe went off to work, accidentally taking both of our medals.  Worked out great though
img_9130because he was able to capture an awesome picture of them on his work terrace with the NYC backdrop.  Jenny and I had went for brunch and enjoyed some mimosas and delish breakfast.  We walked back towards the hotel and went to do some shopping.  You can’t be in NYC and not get some retail therapy in with a good friend.  It was a great cap to an awesome weekend and I can’t say enough how I love this city and all it offers.

 

 

 

A new found love… trail running

Since I started this whole thing of running, considering that I am not a real big fan of running I didn’t really see a point in it. If you hang with me for a second, or two, maybe I can get my point across. Sometimes when I run, I just looked at my TrainingPeaks workout and usually roll my eyes and then figure out how to get it done. A lot of times I simply just go for a run, more often than not I don’t execute the workout and simply hit the trail or the treadmill and get my time and finish it up. I know that’s not the way to get faster either, and of course that didn’t help to enhance my relationship with running. It didn’t get any better.

We have a nice trail by our house, an old rail road line that got paved and became an 11 mile trail. We can get it pretty much by going about half a mile into town and jumping on the trail. Well, the trail after numerous runs got old too. It just didn’t do it, it was just not helping the situation. We have the NYC Marathon coming up and those long runs simply were dreaded long runs. After checking in with the coach, and going over that running flunk we were in, he suggested a couple of things:

 

  1. Run without any devices, forget about those and go about it just by feel, more on that later.
  2. The second and best suggestion was go on trail runs, it was towards the end of the summer when we asked him and the heat was still out there so he suggested to take our runs to the woods.

Now, getting to the woods and no devices kind of freaked me out. It was one of those that I wanted to have a safety blanket that I could track back with my Garmin back to the trailhead, particularly since probably our run was going to be a brand new place to us. So No. 1 above wasn’t really a good option if we wanted to explore No. 2. So we started then looking at trails. To our surprise, we have a ton of trails around us. We kind of knew about them but didn’t really explore them because it was one of those things I was always afraid of. What if I tripped? Where are the trails? How hard are they? Do I need new shoes? all those questions of entering into the unknown. Well… Felipe one day after going to the pool and finding out it was closed said, “let’s go to Minnewaska“. I was like “for what?” He goes, “we need to get 2 hrs on our run, there is not way we will do it here on the trail, it will suck” so he proceeded to get the address on the GPS and off we went. We knew more or less the area, since we had done a few rides that take us around that area of New Paltz, so we knew it wasn’t that far. I was just a bit nervous since I didn’t know what it was going to be. We get there about 30 min after leaving the pool, and we enter the park (note it is $10 to enter the park). Then we asked the guy at the booth what would be the best thing to do, he said to go to the top to the Lake and then take it from there. We followed his direction and headed to Lake Minnewaska. Once there we headed to the trail, into the woods. We clearly didn’t know what we were doing, we looked briefly at the map we got at the entrance, but luckily there were markers and maps along the way. We used those and kept going. While it has been one of the hardest runs I’ve done, and we didn’t get nearly as close to the miles we would’ve done at our trail back home, it was priceless to be out there. The views were incredible and we know we hardly scratched the surface of the trails out there. We headed back to the car and while we pretty much were done with a mile to go, legs pretty much toast, we took it all in and we sort of crawled back to the car. Needless to say, trail running exceeded my expectations and I’ve been hooked since. We did another sort of long run at another trail near us, the Black Rock Forest Park  in Cornwall, NY. It was probably harder than the first one, but still loved it. Can’t wait to do it again and to keep exploring trail running. Even now I’m to the point that I want to do a trail run race (half marathon or something like that). My whole point is what I always say about this crazy triathlon and endurance sports is about. We need to continuously get out of our comfort zone, explore new venues and enjoy each moment, each trail, each path we are put in front of us. We don’t know when or how we would not get a chance to do it again and we are always grateful for it. Nothing beats enjoying nature, lakes and pure air. Wouldn’t change this life for anything and definitely will continue to explore our local/non-local trails in the off season to continue the mojo and keep getting stronger and better each day. For a few tips on Trail Running you can check here

 

Running with Jay Jay

swim bike dog mom :)

A couple of weeks ago I was featured in runningwihtollie2Running with Ollie. I’ve followed her blog for a while now, she has really cool posts and lots of tips for us bloggers, which I really love because there is so much to learn. Best of all, she runs with her 4 legged kiddo Ollie. Here is the featured post… enjoy it. http://www.runningwithollie.com/2014/08/its-dog-week-furry-feature-meet-adriana.html#.VAlMWcJKZGg

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Running for a good cause

If you have seen some of my posts on twitter or Instagram you know that we are lab parents. We have rescued 2 beautiful black labs from the DFW Lab Rescue, a local non-profit rescue group in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We rescued our first lab 6 years ago, a few months after we rescued her they were holding a 5k. A fundraiser to help with the costs of running the organization covering vet costs, and other cost associated with this great cause. What is best about it is that it was our first 5k. We knew we could run, simply signed up and maybe “trained” for a couple of weeks, running a few blocks around the house. Race day came up we were just happy to run with our new dog. She was so happy pulling me the whole time and she probably carried the heavy lifting a good 2 miles, but then we jogged back and finished our first 5K together.

Last year we had to put Anise down after finding out she had a spleen tumor that had metastasized in her lungs and heart. We found out after a race and before our Ironman. We waited until after that big race and we went ahead and rescued our JayJay. We fell in love with her, and she did the same with us, making her self comfortable on our bed when the foster mom came to our home visit.

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DONE!!!!!

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sprint to the finish line

Anyways we have done their 5K a few times, this year being the 3rd year and they had it over the weekend (Saturday). We ran it as usual, Felipe leaving us in the dust, he has gotten podiums before there so he likes it, and JayJay and I stayed in the back with the rest of the puppies. Once again Felipe got his podium and JayJay and I managed to finish it, she struggled a little but I gave her the motivation she knows now which is she will see her “papa” and she started running again looking for him. He was waiting for us at the finish line (as usual) and when she saw him she just started sprinting towards him.

 

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Ice Bath anyone??? feels good

The funniest thing was when we were walking afterward JayJay saw a kiddie pool that was full of ice and water with water bottles and she didn’t think twice and got in it for a nice ice bath. I guess dogs need that too… She didn’t complain as much as I normally do when I get in one… She looked rather happy.

 

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Scout wrapping up his first 5K

We also got to share it with a couple of of Tri-ing friends and their pups, most of us have that in common so we run with our 4 legged kids every once in a while, since we don’t have little humans to push around in strollers we let the 4-legged ones pull us around :).

 

So with that we did one more 5k, but is a 5k that holds a close place to our heart for many reasons. Like I said before is the very first one, the one that got us off the couch, our beloved Anise who crossed the rainbow and our JayJay who has been a great dog and we love her to death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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our Anise on her last road trip to Jersey

Anniversary and a little running

20131025-000249.jpgThis week we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary, and to celebrate it how better than spending a weekend with 22 of our Tri-ing friends doing a 200 mile relay run in Kentucky. It’s pretty funny how it works, but out of the 8, 5 have always been traveling somewhere and why not make it a 6th.

It’s been the best 8 years of our lives, add a couple more since we dated for a couple before getting married. The last 2 have probably been the healthiest, since we started doing all these crazy triathlons and runs. So to celebrate and thanks to destiny, we decided to spend it doing a 200 mile run in Kentucky.

A few months ago our team signed up for the Bourbon Chase in Kentucky. We had heard about the relay runs and had known some people that did Ragnar, so we knew what it was but never imagined doing such a thing, so what is it? A relay run is a run between 2 cities. They have them all over the place, the parent of all is the famous Hood to Coast in Oregon for instance. This one is from Louisville to Lexington and it is somewhat along the old Bourbon Trail. The logistics are complicated, you can have as little as 6 people on your team if you are an ultrarunner (topic for another day) but 12 will make it really easy. Our teams both had 11 people. What that meant was that we had 2 vans, one of 6 people and one of 5. 20131025-000210.jpgGuess what? We were on the van of 5 people, in turn that made 3 of our van runners run one extra leg to cover for the runner we didn’t have. We started in Louisville at the Jim Beam distillery. We arrived to LOU on Thursday afternoon to meet up with the rest of the team. Friday was early breakfast and get to the starting line to get vans decorated, last minute logistics and get on the road. Our teams were starting on the 12:15 wave which gave us enough time to take it easy. After they all started we headed to one of the exchanges and then to the van exchange. At van exchange, van 1 goes to rest and van 2 gets active… By active I mean really active, you are going for the next 5-6 hours. We started at around 5:30 at the Makers Mark Distillery, and then about every 40 minutes to 1:30 (depending on the runs) we had to exchange runners. Did that 6 times. The first run was led by 2 of our fastest guys, they clocked a 0:40 10k, then the next girls started and so on. Felipe started at around 7:40 and he had a long leg, 8 miles or so, he did them with another girl from the other van in a little over 1:05 they were moving pretty good, he turned it over to me for my leg of the run… The wait was killing me and I wanted to get moving. Running at night felt great, it was a little cold getting down to the 50s, which during the run doesn’t bother you as much as when you are simply standing, we were keeping our anticipated pace and we were enjoying the run. When we came in we turned it over to the next girls and we had to get ready for our next 5 mile leg. That was my time to pick the extra leg, it is pretty interesting when you are down for an hour and try to get going how stiff you get, but we got ready, changed into dry clothes, stayed warm and drove off to the next leg. We started at around 11 and finished right before midnight so we could handoff to van 1. We just wanted warm food, a shower a bed and shut our eyes for a little bit. We were in 20131025-000519.jpgDanville, KY by then and had reservations at a hotel so each van could do all of the above. By 4 am we had to be ready for the next exchange. That meant 2 hours of sleep or closing your eyes for 2 hours (whatever came first). We headed to the exchange and then once again moving. My next leg didn’t come around until almost 7 am, it was another 5 miler, weather was holding up, but it was cloudy/overcast the whole way we were running thought the sunrise with no sun, so it was kind of nice, still headlamps and safety vests with the early morning mist. When I came back from that run, Felipe was not at the exchange, he had to run his double leg a few hours later so he was trying to stay warm, rest and besides he was cramping so he was trying to take in some salts. Anyways we headed off and Felipe closed that shift of our van at Four Roses distillery, right before the downpour happened. We then went off to get some breakfast which ended up being lunch and wait for the next exchange which was the last one, our vans were closing the run in Lexington. We waited for the teams at the Woodford Reserve Distillery and it was tough, we were tired, cold, and getting stiffer by the minute. We waited and around 2 pm they showed up, did our little chat while waiting for their runners and off we went. I was a bit worried because that last leg for me was the longest at 8.4 miles with rolling hills and a couple long ones too. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful runs, as the sky was clearing up and we were running through horse farms. We did what we could at that one keeping a 1 mile run – 1 minute walk interval which I was completely fine with after running 24.1 in less than 24 hours I was ready to be done. We were so close, yet so far, we had 2 more runners after I was done, which I was really happy for.

20131025-000708.jpgAs a whole, we had a blast, yes we were tired, cold, hungry, sleepy but we got to push our limits as usual, got a lot of quality time together, and got to spend time with great friends. We wouldn’t change that for anything and we are glad we signed up for it with the team. Can’t wait to do it again next time one comes up. Now this week, besides celebrating our anniversary on Tuesday with an awesome couples massage which we needed so much we got to continue our Dallas Marathon training, ran the Friends of the River 6k and will be running the No Limits Half Marathon on Saturday. Feels so good now that the weather has cooled down a bit and we can enjoy nice runs outside without getting cooked while at it.

A little 20131025-000454.jpglong post, a lot went on for our anniversary weekend, and week… Feeling blessed that I can spend it with the love of my life.

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Our first official half marathon… Without anything else before it

So this weekend we did our first official half marathon. The Cowtown in Fort Worth. We say official because even though is not the first time doing the distance its the first time we do it as a stand alone. Our previous time was we did it was after getting off the bike and riding 56 miles during our first Half Ironman. So we were looking at it a bit differently.

We had been adding up a lot of miles during our Ironman training, so we weren’t worried about the distance (to some extend) we did a long run last Saturday and we put 11 miles in, felt pretty good and also gave us the confidence boost we needed for a 2:00 or even a sub 2:00 half marathon.

We started our weekend by going to the expo to pickup Puli’s package as he for some reason wasn’t included in our team’s roster (more like a user error). Saturday was pretty busy, not much training on our schedules (a 20 minute recovery run) so took advantage of it and did a bit of catchup with things at home.

Bib numbers and race belts ready

Sunday started at 5:15, woke up to get ready eat some light breakfast and bundled up, it was a cold morning at 37-deg so we knew it was going to be cold. Some our teammates were coming over to the house at 5:45 so we could carpool and avoid taking 3 cars with the typical race day traffic, probably the best idea.

We got to the start, met with the coach, stretched, warmed up which was more like trying to stay warm overall and headed to the corrals. We all started together. Saw each other for the last time crossing the start mat and Puli took off.

From Puli’s report:
The start was crowded, passed a lot of people and pushed a lot more at miles 1 and 2 than I wanted and was actually negative splitting which was something I didn’t want to do. That was when I told B (girl from the team running with me) that we shouldn’t be trying to negative split or keep up with her sister, so by mile 3 we had found a nice 8:26 pace which we were able to keep for a while. By mile 6 which is by the Stockyards we checked and I knew then we were possibly going to hit our sub 2:00 goal, she had a 2:00 I had a 1:50. After the stockyards we knew that was the turn into Downtown on Main St, driving through that almost every day I knew what were up against and it wasn’t pretty. Seeing the Court House from the distance made us keep our easy pace so we could attack the bridge. When we got to it we just said “here we go let’s get it over with” and we got at it. Thinking all the hill repeats we have done over the last few months were paying off, but at the top of the hill it was when the legs were starting to feel the miles. Saw J (another teammate volunteering at mile 9 aid station) and he yelled at us to let us know how far it was, we emptied what we had left in our bottles and refilled at that one. Cruising through Downtown was fun, considering I walk it almost every day running through it was different. It was also a bit colder as the buildings were keeping the sun and the wind was tunneling In between them. We saw a few people. Actually “run” into a friend doing the ultra so we chatted for a few blocks and then we came to the split (half to the right and the full and ultras to the left) we made our turn and headed on Lancaster back on the home stretch. By then I had told B we only had 5k to go and our time was still pretty good, however my legs were starting to feel it. I slowed down a bit and just ran behind B for a while, by mile 12 we were side by side again, by 12.5 or so B started to get further ahead because I was slowing down, I was at 8:35’/mi then, still a good pace but that was all my legs had in them, I saw her make the turn into the finish line and then I came along, finish time 1:52 @ 8:34’/mi avg. not a bad effort for the first stand alone half. Got my finishers medal a bottle of water and then went back to the finish line to wait for Res, saw K come in and she told me Res was right behind her, so I spotted her pink hat and I knew she was home.

You can see Res and her pink hat

Speed Workouts – Power Workouts… they work.. but ouchhhh

So for the last two months Coach M has been having these “themes” to week workouts. Hot August.. was Hot August Nights, in part thanks to Neil Diamond and also because it was HOT indeed.

August was mainly a speed workout. We would go out and ride our bikes time trial style. We would go to the TMS and do a 5 mile warm-up lap around. Then we will come to a stop and he would let us go from 0 to another lap, all out. 5 miles all out. The key was that it wasn’t the fastest lap, it was the most improved lap over the month. oh, and another condition was that we had to be present at every practice. Well… the winner was Res, she was the most improved lap.

September he came up with another “Theme”… Elaine Power Workouts. Well, Elaine is not a woman, neither is synonymous of Power. Elaine is this street near Bear Creek Park. It is a bit steep, and definitely not tender, regardless of the “cute” name. Well… we’ve called Elaine numerous names over the few times that we’ve gone up and down. Coach M insists that it is for our own good, and we sure hope so, actually we were reminded of sweet Elaine during Trifecta and we were actually pleased to know that we could do it, after seeing a few people walking that big one on Trifecta we were thankful that we were ready to tackle anything that comes up or down our way.