Training for Tuesday: 2015 in Review


2015 was a big year for me - considering the fact that I spent a good portion of it training for my first half Iron distance triathlon, that only seems logical. My total running mileage fell just short (16 miles) of my mileage from last year, but I swam and biked a lot more than I have in previous years. More than twice as much for each, in fact. While I love looking back on all the data and the hard numbers for the year, I have to admit that this year was so much bigger than I ever thought it would be. Not just in volume, but in experiences. In 2015, I...

Surf n Santa 5-Miler Recap

I know there have been a lot of race recaps here the last couple months, but the races I've done recently have just been too much fun to not recap! This past Saturday I completed my last J&A race of the year, the Surf n Santa 5-Miler. I've done this race twice before, when it was still a 10-Miler; the distance changed last year, as did the time of day: rather than an early morning start like usual, it became an early evening race. The 4:30pm start time was chosen so that the sun would be setting as runners ran along the boardwalk, which would highlight the light displays on the beach from ~10th Street to ~30th Street.
I didn't get to run this race last year, the first year with the new format, so I was excited that it worked for my schedule this year! I've run on the boardwalk a million times, but doing so at sunset with the lights displays all lit up seemed like a fun spin on an old favorite. And, as if I needed another reason (or another medal), a couple months ago J&A announced th Triple Jog Dare: participants of the Wicked 10k, Harbor Lights Half Marathon, and Surf n Santa 5-Miler would get an extra medal for finishing all 3. Sign me up!

The race starts and ends at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, which has a huge parking lot, so parking was easy. My dad was the only one I could talk into doing this race with me, so we rode together. We could have picked up our packets the day before, but we opted to wait until the day of so we arrived around 3:15pm. Pickup was quick and easy, as usual. We perused the expo for a few minutes, mainly because I'd been on the hunt for a replacement pair of Newtons and hadn't been able to find them online in my size. The Outer Banks Tri Sports booth ended up having a pair in a half size up so I tried them to see if the half size would make a difference. I momentarily forgot that we were there to run a race, not buy shoes, so I spent like five minutes going back and forth on whether or not to get them. Finally my dad reminded me that I had to make a decision because, uh, we had to go run in like 30 minutes, so I bought them.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Two weeks ago, I met Ben for drinks and apps at one of our local spots after finishing my first round of exams. We were each browsing Reddit on our phones, as usual, when suddenly I read something that made me gasp aloud. All I could say was, "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god." Ben looked at me quizzically and finally I managed the words, "Ironman is buying Beach2Battleship."

To backtrack a little, B2B was my first half Iron distance triathlon back in October. While I loved the whole race experience and would strongly consider going back for the full, I've always felt pretty strongly about hearing, "Tracy Schoenfeld, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" at the end of my first 140.6-mile journey, something that wouldn't be possible if I ever chose B2B as my first full. It may sound silly, and it probably is, but that is the only piece of the puzzle that was missing from the B2B full.

...Until a week or two ago. When I first heard about the buyout, it was just a rumor. A seemingly well-substantiated rumor, but a rumor nonetheless. The B2B camp was mum while these rumors were flying, except for an announcement that the "new registration platform" they'd been working on would open on December 14th. I counted down the days, and woke up last Monday hoping to find official confirmation. Instead, I got confirmation that Alyssa, Lisa, and I had won the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler lottery! While that was awesome and exciting, it wasn't news I was expecting. A few more days passed, still radio silence from B2B, and then the email came in: "PPD Beach2Battleship Joins Ironman Family. Registration opens tomorrow at noon."

Confessions of a Running & Racing Addict

I ran my first race in May 2011. I completed 4 total that year, 7 the following year, and then...I fell off the deep end. I crossed 18 finish lines in 2013, 16 in 2014, and 16 (plus 2 still left to go) in 2015. I'm already registered for 8 next year and I have at least that many in italics on my race spreadsheet.

Hi, my name is Tracy, and I'm a racing addict.

And these are my confessions.

- My biggest fear is having a bathroom emergency in the middle of a race. I only need one hand to count the number of times I've used the porta-potty mid-race, but I'm still paranoid about it every single time. More accurately, I'm paranoid about not making it to a porta-potty.

- I check my Garmin I can never tell if I'm running too fast, too slow, or just right. Can I PR? If I run a 10 minute mile from now until the finish, what will be time be? How far have I run? Yeah, I know there are mile markers out on the course but those only come every MILE! And of course there's nothing more pressing when I cross the finish line than checking my final time.

Harbor Lights Half Marathon Recap

Two weeks ago, I ran the Harbor Lights half marathon, J&A Racing's most recent addition to their lineup. This race actually started last year, when J&A got rid of their February Virginia is For Lovers 14k and replaced it with the Harbor Lights half marathon (and accompanying Saturday 5k and the "Get Lit" challenge to complete both days). I opted not to run the inaugural race last year since I had just run the Richmond half the week prior, but this year I did the opposite specifically so I could try out this new race.

For me, the main draw of this race was getting to run through Norfolk. Norfolk is the big city in my area, just a stone's throw across the water from my house in Portsmouth. I have run literally hundreds of miles on Ptown's boardwalk while looking at Norfolk across the river, but there aren't a lot of races held there (compared to Virginia Beach, anyway). The only race I'd ever run in Norfolk was an 8k a few years ago.

My goals for this race shifted a lot over the weeks leading up to it. When I first registered last month, my only goal was to stick with my slower friend if I just wasn't feel it that day. A couple weeks later, once the B2B fog lifted and life (and running) did, in fact, go on, I was excited about having another big(ish) race to look forward to. Since it wasn't going to be a PR race I didn't have a specific time goal in mind, but I was hoping to beat my two recent half marathons (2:03 at the Hokie Half in September and 2:01 at B2B) and maybe go sub-2 for the first time this year. I was thinking about training for and running a half marathon PR in January, so I really wanted to establish a baseline.

Then, during a week with 2 speedwork runs, injury struck: I aggravated a hip issue that I've had on and off since January. It really hasn't bothered me in a while (and now I'm wondering if all of that swimming and cycling helped keep it at bay), but as soon as I started trying to push my pace, it flared up again. I spent 10 days leading up to Harbor Lights nursing it with copious strength exercises and yoga and icing and ibuprofen and KT tape. I was supposed to do a 10-mile long run the week before the race, but I only made it through 8.5 miles before I stopped so that I wouldn't completely destroy my hip. I took it easy the week of the race and I did start to feel a lot of improvement, but I knew it wasn't 100% better. The night before the race I tried to mentally prepare myself for my first DNF  - Did Not Finish - and possibly even my first DNS and altered my goal: Finish uninjured, or don't finish at all.

It was raining when I woke up. It was raining on the drive to the race. It was raining while we waited for the race to start. It was raining for the duration of the race and for the post-race party. Not torrential downpour, but steady enough that it was a very wet day. I had hoped to take some pictures along the course but, as I learned at RnR DC, rain and pictures don't mix. The course, or what I could see under the clouds and through the rain, anyway, was beautiful. I was familiar with most of the areas we ran through, although I can't say I've ever taken the route we ran or been to all the different areas at one time. It really was a great tour through Norfolk! There were a lot of turns on the course and a lot of meandering to get from one area of the city to another, which I personally enjoyed. Turns keep it interesting for me!