Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back to training, and the CCC10K

Last weekend was my Dad's 60th birthday. We decided to celebrate by getting a cabin on the lake in Orange Beach. Best. Decision. EVER. We had a blast spending quality time with everyone in one place. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was awesome!

This pier was behind the cabin. How beautiful is this??

As we were already going to be down that way and had plenty of people to look after our kids, my sister Jacqueline and I decided to get in a long run. After all, we half a half marathon coming up quickly! We got up early Sunday morning and decided to hit the Backcountry Trail in Orange Beach. Our goal was 6 miles, and the trails there provided us plenty of opportunity.

 We even forced Tanners girlfriend Traci to join us. LOL. Here is a great shot of us before our run... looking fresh and ready.

Our course was awesome! The trails are paved and wide enough that the other runners and a few bikers were able to share the path with us. Two miles into our run we came to the bathrooms and water fountain. We got a sip of water and continued on our way. We were running along, swatting at the incescent yellow flies, when all of a sudden we spotted this:

Three little raccoons up a tree!!! How cute are they?!? The momma was up there too, and she came down as we stood there gawking at the babies. We decided not to wear out our welcome and carried on. Two miles later and we were back at the water fountain and the path back to the truck. We knew we only had two miles to go!! This guy was lurking just off the path. We didn't stay to look at him very long. LOL!

I was feeling really good on this run! I had no knee pain at all, and that was huge for me. I had not taped my knees and I did not even bring a brace with me. I was a little worried at first, but with each passing mile my fears eased. It also helped that I had the girls to talk to. Running with my sisters sure made the time pass quickly. 

Before we knew it, we made the last turn and picked up our pace to get to the parking lot...and the air conditioner in my truck! Our goal pace was 12 minute miles (our anticipated pace for the Wine and Dine in November) and we were quite pleased to have ran faster than planned.

It was a great run, and it made me think back to the last time I attempted 6 miles. Almost 6 months ago I participated in the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans. Sadly I was injured at this time and was relegated to walking the course. I had both knees taped up with KT Tape, and braced with knee braces. I was a mess. Hahaha! I had a blast though!! The course was great, and flat. I was excited to have my bestie Larisa and her husband Donald there with us. It definitely made for a fun trip. I can't wait to go back in 2014. This time I will be running!!! 

Here is a little more information about the upcoming 2014 race:
About the Crescent City Classic
The Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic is New Orleans’ (and the region’s) premier road race, and each year attracts over 20,000 runners. For 36 years, the CCC 10K has combined world-class competition, amateur participation and great fun for all participants.  The Classic is both physically challenging and a great New Orleans tradition!
The 2014 official Charity Partners include:
2.     Covenant House
3.     Girls on the Run
5.     LA SPCA
9.     WWOZ 
10.   Youth Run NOLA
As Charity Partners, the select 10 organizations will be part of the “Run For It” Program, the Official Charity Program of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic. The “Run For It” Program is in its second year.  After successfully generating over $105,000 for local charity and nonprofits in 2013, the Crescent City Classic is hoping to raise $1 million through the “Run For It” Program to serve the Greater New Orleans area needs.

Here I am at the 2013 race with Ali, Larisa, Donald, Shannon, Mindy, and Paige. Larisa, Mindy, and Shannon are bloggers too. Check out Larisa's blog 0to26point2 and Mindy's blog Road Runner Girl These girls love a weekend race vacation as much as I do. I couldn't ask for better travel companions :)

Check out those medals! They actually have a spinning piece in the middle. Definitely worth running for!  

Did you know registration is already open for 2014? Mark your calendar!! It will be on April 19th at 8:00. The timing for this race is perfect! It falls right at the end of our Spring Break. What a way to end the break. Weekend in New Orleans :)

Who's up for a weekend trip to NOLA? It's sure to be a blast :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ironman Louisville

Last Sunday, August 25th, Ali competed in his first full Ironman event in Loiusville, Kentucky. Read his recap here :

I woke up Sunday morning at 4:30AM, ate a bagel and a banana, and made my way down to check on my bike at the transition area. I checked my tire pressure and made sure that i had everything I needed. Everything looked good, so I said goodbye to Melanie and took a light jog to the start of the swim.

As I jogged the mile to the swim start I counted the number of bridges that I would have to swim under to give me some landmarks to identify on the swim. There were three major bridges so I knew that after swimming under them I’d be almost done.

I was at the swim start by 5:30AM but there was already over 1000 people in line. I would like to have been a little closer to the start but at least I wasn’t starting at the very back. I heard the starting gun go and the line started to move. Before long I was in the water and on my way. I felt good. I didn’t go all out, but I found my rhythm quickly as I swam around the Island. When we made our turn I glanced up and could see the bridges off in the distance. I was surprised how quickly I passed under the bridges to the finish and felt like I could have swam much farther. I was delighted as I came out of the water into the transition area.
Swim time: 1:19:26
Transition Time: 12:04

Then came the bike! 112 miles of what seemed like continuous hills! This course is deemed one of the hardest courses on the world Ironman circuit. I made sure I took the time to stop at the aid stations and get the proper nutrition I needed to get me through. The volunteers at the aid stations were amazing and would do things such as refill my water bottles on my bike. I saw Melanie and Larisa at mile 40 & 70 which kept my spirits high on the course. At 80 miles my quads were close to cramping from the heat and hills. I had to slow down significantly and stopped at the next aid station to stretch and rehydrate. Once back on the bike I knew I was within an hour and a half of the bike finish. My legs were doing better and I prayed that I wouldn’t get a puncture or anything that would mess me up this late on. Eventually, the finish line came and I went into the running transition area.
Bike time: 6:48:33
Transition Time: 11:21

Here I am at mile 40...

And again at 70!

I jogged out of the transition area and began my marathon run. I smiled at Melanie as I left but I knew I was in trouble. It was ridiculously hot 90+ degrees and my legs were destroyed from the hills. I remember questioning myself as to if I could finish. I just kept telling myself to keep moving until I arrived at mile 13. The famous mile 13 was the hardest part for me. I could see the finish line as it was a 2 lap course and I was completely exhausted. Then I saw Melanie and Larisa.
I stopped running and walked to the side to inform them that I was struggling. I did not want to run another 13 miles and the thought of running back away from the finish line was horrible! They told me I’d be fine, so off I went.  I began a new strategy to help me finish. There was an aid station at every mile marker so I decided to run between the aid stations and walk through each station. By mile 18 I was sick of Gatorade and gels and made the change to flat coke and bananas which seemed to help. When I made it to mile 20 my spirits were rejuvenated. I knew I could finish even if it meant walking 10k. I started to run faster and stronger passing people up along the way. As I passed mile 25 I could hear the roar of the finish line a mile away. Again, I picked up the pace and made my run to the finish. 

 I sprinted to the line and heard the announcer say; “Alastair Stevenson, YOU are and Ironman!!" I had never been so happy to be finished with a race in all my life and couldn’t believe I had actually made it.
Marathon time: 4:49:44
Overall time: 13:21:08

So happy to be done!! Thanks to the people at Swiftwick for providing me with some amazing socks and this running singlet. Those socks really kept great compression throughout the bike and run. I truly believe they helped keep me from cramping and allowed me to keep moving forward.

After the race, I swore I'd never do another full distance Ironman again. Melanie isn't so sure!