Hoover Dam

Sunday, May 29, 2016

We stopped by the Hoover Dam after picking up Eric's parents. It was hit and swarming with tourists. 

Las Vegas Strip Selfie Run

Friday, May 27, 2016

Of course I had to run while on vacation and what better and more exciting place than the Strip! I had 5 on the schedule but I had to much fun snapping selfies, I ran out of time and ended up with 4. 

It is very difficult to run the strip, granted most of the drunks are safely in their beds. I say most because I saw a big drunk guy being helped by his tiny wife. It was hilarious. Mostly it was me, other runners, street/sidewalk cleaners and old people who can't sleep in like my mom.😂 
The other difficult thing is stairs, escalators and skyways. Oh and having to run into random casinos. But I had fun. This run wasn't about speed.

I started out running south. Eric posed for the first picture.

The first hotel is Caesars Palace and the fountains.

Next was Bellagiio. I love the dancing waters but that starts later.
I also got a nice shot of Paris across the street.

I ran into a couple of ladies from Texas who were also running. I ran with them until I reached New York New York. I really wanted chocolate by this point.

I ran across the bridge to excalibur to get this shot above and this one below.
I'm not smart enough to figure out how to get to MGM fun here so back across the bridge to NY NY. And over to MGM.
I don't want the M&Ms store to feel left out.

Next up was the Coke store, Paris and the Newish, Linq and the High Roller and the old favorite, Flamingo.

I had to my favorite place last before turning around, the Venetian.

I crossed over to Treasure Island and ran the plank. Lol! 

I finished up at my home, the Mirage.

How Triathlon Killed My Running Spirit

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

So I’m still riding pretty high after my first successful solo triathlon experience. I almost signed up for three more on Monday morning, but I restrained myself. Thanks to a technical glitch, I wasn’t able to register for one of them. I still intend to register for these three races. They are in July, August and early September. I stress that it is early as I don’t plan on getting a wetsuit.

The July one is the Minneapolis Triathlon. It is at Lake Nokomis. I love Lake Nokomis. When I moved to Minneapolis, my apartment was blocks from here and I would swim in the lake all the time. Even when I moved to the ‘burbs, I still dragged Eric to Lake Nokomis to swim. I have since found other acceptable beaches by us but Lake Nokomis has a special place in my heart.

The August one is just north of Phoenix. I was looking for a running race to do while on vacation in New Mexico and Arizona. As you can imagine, there aren’t too many races during this time of year down there. It is kind of like trying to find a race here in January. But I found this reverse triathlon. You run, then bike and then swim. I think this sounds wonderful. Get the worst one done in the morning before it is 100 degrees. The bike shouldn’t be too horrible in the heat and finally after all that hot sweaty stuff, jump into a pool. Oh I forgot to mention the swim is an outdoor pool swim. It sounds heavenly.

The September race is close to home in Hopkins. It claims that it is a race for us slow, fat triathletes. There are even special prizes for us fatties and we get to start the swim first. I think that is all around a win. With all the marathon training, Eric isn’t a fatty anymore (at least not by their standards). Haha.

So back to the topic at hand. I begrudgingly went out for a 4 mile run yesterday. And the entire time the only thing I could think about was I’d rather be swimming (it was hot and humid) or on my bike (even though I just biked 10 miles as support for Eric’s run 2 hours ago). I was M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E. I even contemplated quitting but I remembered that in order to do triathlons, I still had to run. My hatred of running came screaming back to me yesterday. I seriously think the triathlon crushed my dwindling running spirit.  I used to always think of the next big running race. Now all I want to do is triathlons. Running sucks.

Speaking of the run…
So I was running my usual route and struggled to maintain a pace above a walk. It truly was horrible. And at one point I think I spaced out. I knew where I had to turn around and I forgot. Actually I don’t even remember running past that point. I seriously think I temporary blacked out. But how can that be? I had to run through a stop sign!  I’m assuming I looked. Scary stuff. I also felt like I had to puke. I don’t puke. There are times I wish I could, but I just don’t. The fact that I was feeling like I was going to means I was majorly dehydrated. Oops. I was so concerned about making sure that Eric kept hydrated on his 10 mile run that I forgot to drink water on the bike ride and then I went for my run and didn’t drink much water either. So lesson learned.

Even though my time was terrible. I had a couple things factoring against me that I realized this morning. Of course there was the dehydration. There was the hot and humid weather and my body isn’t ready to run in that yet. And the biggest thing I forgot is I biked 10 miles before hand. Granted it wasn’t fast but nonetheless I biked it. My legs felt like lead because I just did a brick workout. Duh!

I’m still not in love with running. But I can’t give up. As a moral boast, I looked back at my very first runs on this journey and I was slow…S-L-O-W. My first attempt at 6.2 miles was 1:37. I can do that in 1:15 in a race setting. I can’t stop now because eventually, I will want to run again and I don’t want to start over. So here is to bad runs!

On a side note, we are leaving today for Las Vegas/Pahrump for our niece, Allista’s graduation. Of course we need to get some long runs in while we are out there.  And of course it will be hot…EEEK! Hopefully I won’t struggle as much as I did yesterday.

Esprit de She Triathlon

Monday, May 23, 2016

I did it! I completed my first triathlon!  I wasn’t last in any category. I call that a win!

Packet Pickup
Saturday, Eric came with me to packet pick up and course meeting. There were not too many guys around but he wasn’t alone. I got my packet, got my body markings (#122) and got my super tight tank top. It is the largest size and it is a 3XL. Seriously, I’m not a 3XL in any clothes except for women’s running/biking clothes. FAT GIRLS DO THIS TOO! ARGH! The race is about empowering women…how are you “empowering women” when you make somebody like me feel terrible because I’m a 3XL? Jeez.

While at packet pickup, I set up my two transition areas. One by the Lifetime Fitness pool and one by school. The duathletes start at Lifetime Fitness, run to their bikes by the school and when they were done with the ride, they ran from the school to Lifetime. We swam at Lifetime, hopped on our bikes and dumped that off at the school and ran to Lifetime. I really does make sense. Anyways, I dumped my bike, shoes and helmet at the pool and my shoes and headband at the school. My shoes looked so lonely. In hindsight, I’m glad it didn’t rain overnight…I would have had wet shoes. LOL! Eric took me around the bike course one last time…man the hills! They seemed longer and higher this time than the last we drove it a month ago. I went home and relaxed…oh and at pizza.

Wake up!
The 5am wake up came very fast Sunday morning. I was excited but also nervous. I knew the swim was nothing, especially when they shortened it. And the mile was only 2 miles…I could walk if I had to. It was the 14 mile hilly bike ride that had me tied up in knots. I ate my toast and Nutella and drank some water. It was a long time until I hit the pool. I was nervous that wasn’t enough fuel. We drove over the race and Eric was nice enough to drop me off at the pool. I finished setting up my bike area. I have read a lot about triathlons and thankfully I felt fairly well prepared for this. I had my checklist, I put my stuff in what I thought was a logical order. My helmet, my socks, shoes, tank top, capris, etc.

I begrudgingly stripped down to my swimsuit. I hadn’t invested in tri clothes yet and since this was short swim/bike/run. I figured I can do it all in my swimsuit. I had practiced it a couple times so I knew I was ok. It was a bit chill in the morning and we lined up outside for the indoor swim. I stayed to the back of the line as I know my swim isn’t the best. Slowly but surely, every 5 seconds, one would jump in the pool. It was fun to watch the early swimmers go…they were so fast! There were people that misjudged their abilities as some people were getting bunched up. There was a ladder but everybody was just pulling themselves out of the water…EVERYBODY. Oh no, I didn’t practice this…I’m going to be a rolling whale at the end of the pool…oh God they are taking our pictures when we get out….this is going to be awful!

It wasn’t. I jumped in and started my swim. I was slower than in practice…I’m not sure why. I had issues going under the lines. I don’t know why. We swam down one length of the pool, under the line, swam down the next length, etc.… I passed a couple people but some woman flew past me and others. She definitely was in the wrong order. I got to the end of the pool and was so sad I had to get out I wanted to swim more. I really love swimming. My picture isn’t too bad:

I’m a beast! My swim time was 3:41 (I said it was a short swim). I’m disappointed a bit in that time but with the going under the lines, I think it slowed me down. Oh well. I wasn’t the slowest swimmer, I was faster than 20 people. A win for me!

So I walked out to the bike area, the floor was very slippery at this point as 100+ swimmer had already walked out the bike. It was kind of sad to see only a few bikes remaining. But that isn’t a reflection of my bad swimming…I just lined up at the end for the swim. When I jumped in the pool there were only 7 people behind me.  I struggled to get my pants on. During my two practice runs, I wore different pants and didn’t struggle too much but the pants I picked for the race were a bit troublesome. I throw on my tank, my sunglasses, struggle to get socks on, my shoes were a breeze which is surprising because I usually have troubles with them. Popped my helmet on, grabbed my granola bar and I was off. Transition 1 time: 3:50 (I wasn’t the slowest in that either!)

The bike started with a couple of rights and some hills. I noticed that the duathlon was just starting their first run. They started 30 minutes behind us. It was nice because when we got the merge spot (we had to bike further), there were no duathletes to get in my way. The first mile was very slow but as Eric pointed out, I started my bike portion when I still had to walk my bike to the mounting line so I wasted a lot of time walking there and getting on. The first part of the ride was a lot of fun. Lots of down hills and some short uphills. I knew the first 3 miles was going to be fun. We got to Cedar Ave. and we had to bike on the shoulder. This wasn’t a closed course route so there were cars screaming past us at 55 mph. Cedar Ave. is a beast. It looked like a continuous uphill. I saw Eric around mile 5. He found me!  At mile 6, the first duathlete passed me. I’m kind of surprise it took her that long, they were cruising at 20+ mph! I was slow on the up hills and was relieved to hit the first “apex” of the race. There were three big uphills. This was the first one. I flew down the hill and I averaged 19.2 mph for mile 7. For me that is fast! I saw Eric two more times at miles 9 and 12. The last two miles were a struggle as they were mostly up hill. I struggled so much that my speed dropped to 6 mph. However, I’m proud I didn’t have to do the walk of shame. I passed a few people on the way into transition. They were slowing down, I sped up to over 20 mph. I really loved the bike ride overall except for the last 2 miles. I did well on the bike. My average pace was a bit slower than I was expecting at 14.7 mph. But it was a hard course and I beat out 52 out of the 138 triathletes.  That was my strongest event for sure! And I got some sweet pictures from it too!

I got to the dismount area and ran my bike into the transition area. I racked my bike, threw off my helmet, kicked off the bike shoes, pulled on the running shoes, slapped my headband on and drenched my head in water. I was hot by this point. The sun was out and it was 68 degrees with no breezy. I don’t do well running in heat. And on top of that my legs were like Jell-O from the hour on the bike. Transition 2 time was 2:29.

The start was a bit slow going. But thankfully most of the first mile was downhill. The thing that motivated me was the really fast duathletes had caught up to me and were running fast so I felt silly walking when they were running. It is a mental thing. I ran the first mile in 12:33. Not bad. I was happy with that. The second mile had a lot of uphills and slowed down a lot and walked more. I was tired by this point and hot. I got near the finisher chute and I went after it. I finished strong my run pace was 12:25 (I think this is wrong). The run was my worst event, I only beat 16 people on the run. I find that funny since that is the sport I do the most! My overall time was 1:31:38. I finished 109 out of 138. I was very proud of my accomplishment and can’t wait to do another triathlon.


My First Tri

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sunday is my first solo triathlon. Way back in November, I saw a Facebook post for the annual Esprit de She Duathlon in Lakeville. I had contemplating doing this race last year but for some reason I changed my mind. This year, they are having their inaugural triathlon…and the swim was short and in a pool. I thought perfect! This is my race. So without hesitation I signed up. 


I have to confess I feel somewhat like a failureYes, I have RAN 70 races in 2.46 years. And yes I’m that much of an analytics geek that I have it calculated out to the hundredth. I ran 2 half marathons in a span of 2 months. I am proud of these accomplishments…VERY PROUD. But running wasn’t my goal when I started. I started this training journey back in September 2013 with the intention of doing triathlons. I got a sweet bike for the first relay triathlon and went riding. I always loved ridingbikes. I started lap swimming on a consistent basis too. I always loved swimming. But I always hated running. I want to love it and be cool like all those Williams family runners. But I really don’t love it. That is why I find it crazy that after almost 2.5 years of training, I have not done a solo triathlon. I have, however, averaged a running race every 13 days (see numbers geek). I have been focusing on the one sport out of the three that I like the least. I am mental! 


There are some reasons why the long delay before my first solo triathlon. They are silly, I know this:


One - Fat people don’t do triathlons. I’m accepting the fact that I will biggest (whale) in a swim suit waiting to jump in the pool for the swim on Sunday. 


Two - I’m afraid of hills. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to bike up a hill and will have to do the walk of shame. If a skinny person does the walk of shame, nobody would bat an eye. If a fat girl, like me, does the walk of shame it is, “Oh look at her, she is so fat she can’t even bike.” I know I’m irrational and I need to get off of my anti-hill attitude, especially since I love going downhill! Weeee!


Three – My fear that my bike is trying to kill me. When I upgraded from my first sweet bike to my second sweeter bike, I also transition to clipless pedals (the name makes no sense since you actually are clipped in but whatever). I still am trying to get over my fears. I avoid routes that involve a lot of stoplights and stop signs that would require me to clip out of my bike. I know that everybody falls over when they start out with clipless pedals, it is like a baby learning to walk, you will fall. Thankfully my falls have been on grass and not in front of a lot of people (just kids at the playground). Even though I haven’t had a disaster at a stop light, I fear that someday it will happen and I’ll be hit by a car. I’m getting better at this one. 


Funny storySo about a week ago I got an email from this race that said due to the heavy rains, the outdoor pool will not be ready for Sunday. As a result the swim has been shortened and moved inside. OUTDOOR POOL?  When I signed up for this there was no mention of an outdoor pool. This is Minnesota, to my knowledge there are no outdoor lap pools (I guess I’m wrong). I just assumed it was inside. Thankfully, now it will be inside. Can you imagine my surprise on race morning if I was outside in 50 degrees? Yikes! Thank you Mother Nature!


So on Sunday, I’ll be jumping in a pool for a shortened 125 meter swim, a 14 mile HILLY bike ride and 2 mile run. To me Sunday isn’t a raceit is a huge workout that I pray to complete without heart attack, walks of shame, major embarrassment or split pants, and hopefully, in under two hours. 


I am so excited.


Run & Ride 10K

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This was my second running of the Run & Ride 10K. I ran their inaugural race last year so I knew what to expect. There were twice as many people this year which was nice. I didn’t feel so lonely in the back. Ha! Eric ran the half so I was literally by myself. Lst year’s race was long…like .07 mile long. So when they made us turn and run longer in the parking lot I knew this wasn’t your typical 10K and I was right. The first mile sucked. It is the parking lot and some gravel path at the back of the park. I didn’t go out full force on this race like the 5K the day before. After we started, I looked behind me and there were only three people. Great! Very back of the pack!

Like I mentioned in my 5K review, I’ve been focusing on individual miles instead of the total run. My goal for the 10Ks is to keep each mile around a 12:30 pace. I ran the first five minutes straight and the broke into my 45/15 intervals. My first mile was 12:22. It was bit slower than I was expecting but it was under 12:30 so I was happy. You know how I mentioned the race was going to be long? Well at their mile 1 marker my watch said 1.25…a quarter mile long! I thought maybe there would be a shorter mile later to make up for this but there was not.

Mile 2 was through the dinosaur park. I stopped briefly while some girl was getting her picture taking by her friend with a dinosaur. No big deal. We came out of the dinosaur park and ran around the front of Valleyfair before heading back out to the parking lot and onto my trail. I’m not sure were the burst of energy came from, maybe excitement from passing the two girls that I stopped for, but I busted out of the parking lot and onto the trail like I owned it. Haha! Mile two was 12:16. Yes a negative split!

When I do this interval running, if I’m close to the end of a mile (like .1 of a mile to go), I will not walk until I hit the mile marker. I start each mile with a 15 second walk and then I run until my pace for the new mile is below 12:15. Sometimes it means I run for 2 minutes straight. But this is my race/my pace, I will do as I please! Mile 3 and 4 were flat and boring but this was my trail so I knew what to expect. I knew how these miles would feel. I was rewarded with a nice 12:12 mile for mile 3 and a 12:09 for mile 4. Both negative splits! Woo hoo! Just before the end of mile 4 was a water stop. Since I always run to the mile marker, I grabbed a water and ran until I got to mile 4. I got a little wet. Ha!

Mile 5 didn’t start out so great. I popped some Honey Stingers into my mouth (they are like energy gummy bears). I never have a problem with them. Sometimes I eat them without water. I’m not sure what my problem was during this race, but I could not chew them or swallow them and the water didn’t help. I had a disastrous start to the mile. I eventually got them down and tossed the cup and went on my way. This caused me precious minutes at the beginning of this mile. This mile zig-zags around The Landing, a historic remake of an 1800’s city. It is very cool to run through and look at the stuff. Another problem with this mile is I got hot. I had to take off my jacket and got all tangled up. I’m sure if anybody was around me, it would have been comical to watch. Even though I didn’t think I’d meet my 12:30 pace on this mile, somehow I barely squeaked out a 12:28.

The last mile was not great. I thought I was doing well but my watch pace went from 12:07 to 13:00. I’m like what the heck. I didn’t think I was running that slowly. It really messed with me. I ran more than walked trying to make up the time but I think that actually was the worst thing to do. I tried this entire mile to catch the old lady that was always just in front of me. I could never catch her. I think that mission helped me get my overall pace for the mile to 12:36. It was over my 12:30 pace I was hoping for but 6 seconds off…I’m ok with that.

I kept running the intervals until I reached the 6.3 mile mark (last year’s distance) and saw that my time was just under 1:18 (1:17:59). Last year I ran the race (6.3 miles) in 1:17:29. I was only 30 seconds off which is incredible since I had Eric running with me last year. I managed to maintain that pace without Eric pushing me. I’m so happy. The last quarter of mile I “sprinted” to the finish. My last half mile was under a 12 minute pace! Just before I got in to the finisher chute I saw the half marathon winner in front of me…yes I got beat by the half marathon winner! But they had a 5 minute head start (lol!). My overall time was 1:19:57, a 12:18 pace (it is exactly what my pace was last year!). I was very pleased with my time.

As far as 10K’s go, this one is tied for 3rd fastest. Technically it is tied for 5th fastest but both of the Mankato 10Ks were very short…like over a tenth of a mile too short. And this is the first one I ran complete by myself!

Eric had an awesome race too. He crushed his previous half marathon record by over 10 minutes and finished at 2:05:45. I was shocked to see him coming into the finish so soon. Way to go Eric!

Run & Ride 5K

Monday, May 16, 2016

It wasn’t my best race. It wasn’t anywhere close to the great race I had at Goldy’s…which I still think my watch went wonky on me. The weather was a bit cold for May at 37 degrees and the wind. Yikes! Thankfully I was only running a 5K!

My pace was very sporadic. I could not nail down a consistent pace which is very evident in my pace chart. I was running under 11s to begin with. I was doing great until we moved from the gravel to the pavement and had to run up a hill. It wasn’t a big hill at all but after bust my butt running fast (for me), I hit the hill and had to walk. You can tell because my pace doesn’t even show up on the pace chart. I pulled myself together and got an 11:32 first mile. My goal for this race is to have all miles under 12. That is my goal with all 5Ks. I’ve switch my running strategy lately and instead of focusing on the run in total, I focus on pace for each individual mile.

Mile two was mostly in Valleyfair on their brick streets. I’m not a fan of running brick but at least it wasn’t cobblestone! It was fun running past all the various rides and rollercoasters. They had them going as it was almost opening time so that kept my mind occupied. Before we hit the mile 2 marker, we run out of the park and on to the biking trail. This is my trail. I bike and run it all the time. This is my familiar place. Near the end of mile 2, I reminded myself I’m running the 10K tomorrow so don’t kill your legs on a 5K today! I still managed to get my second mile in under 12 minutes at 11:52.

The last mile and finish I struggled with a bit. I’m not sure why. I started running sprints and then walk for a bit…I know what it is…it is my interval training screwing up my 5K. I only did that a few times during mile 3. And I kept a close look on my watch to make sure the mile did not end up over 12 minutes. And my walking was like 5-10 seconds. But nonetheless it was walking ARGH! My mile 3 time was 11:46. Woo Hoo! All under 12! I sprinted to the finish and got a time of 35:27. Not bad. It wasn’t as fast as Goldy’s but it was faster than the Hot Dash 5K in March so I call that a win!

Alice Retires!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

After 46 years, the one, the only, the legend retired.