Race Report – 2017 Space Coast Half Marathon

I made it!  All five years of Space Coast!  When we first started this series, I really didn’t know if I’d make it all five years, but I definitely wanted to.  I love the space program and I really wanted to get all five shuttle medals.  I typically don’t race for medals, but I’m not going to lie, this time, I raced for medals.

Of course, it wasn’t just about the bling.  It’s also a great time for me to go to Florida, and I had so many friends doing the series that it was always worth going.  Definitely one of the most fun trips of the year every year.

For this race, my main goal was to run with Kim, and we talked about a general goal of running sub-3, but really, just having a good time.  She raced the prior weekend, I was dealing with hip tightness, so who knew what would happen.  I knew that we would end up talking through the entire race so either way, it would be awesome.

And it was!  The weather was pretty darn perfect, not too hot or too humid, which is a rarity for this race.  I was feeling some tightness in my hip, mostly in my piriformis, but nothing like I had dealt with while running the previous weekend, so I wasn’t too concerned.  Kim and I ran along, keeping a pretty steady pace (save for the bathroom break we both needed), and basically enjoying the day.

Around mile 8 or so, my piriformis started to make itself known, nothing big. And then at mile 12, the soleus on my other leg froze up.  I think I yelled “CRAMP!” and Kim tried to catch me.  I wasn’t falling though, just hobbling.  I tried to walk it off, but every time I went to run, it hurt, so that meant we were walking it in.  Kim was awesome and didn’t seem to care that we were walking, so we just made our way to the finish line.

Not my best finish, not my worst finish, and I had a blast. Racing with friends is so much fun.  Some races are for pushing and trying to PR, but some days, it’s nice to just get out there and laugh through the whole race.

So that’s that.  Five year series complete.  I’m leaning towards racing again for the next series, or at least starting it out.  I like being in Florida after Thanksgiving and having a vacation to start the holiday season.

Now to get this hip/piriformis/glute thing fixed!

 

Trying Out Zwift

Following the recommendation of… oh, just about everyone, I have finally checked out Zwift for cycling workouts.

What is Zwift?  I guess you could call it virtual reality cycling.  You connect to their platform and get to ride through a virtual landscape with other riders.  And of course, there are definitely game aspects to it – so you can challenge other riders,  try to set new personal bests, and of course, earn new jerseys and equipment for your avatar to wear.

Don’t worry, after this, I earned enough points for a helmet. Even virtual riders shouldn’t be without a helmet.

So the best way to use Zwift is probably through a smart trainer, which will automatically change your resistance as you ride through the hills and valleys of Zwift.

I don’t have a smart trainer.  But I do have a power meter, which works pretty well.  Zwift looks at the watts I’m putting out and the simulated course and uses that to determine how fast avatar me is going.  So I can be pedaling at the same rate and speed, and depending if I’m going uphill or downhill, I could be doing anywhere from 3mph-35mph (all speeds I have seen on Zwift).  So obviously, the goal is for me to change my gearing so that I’m picking up the pace and better simulating the road changes.

If you don’t have a smart trainer or a power meter, you can use a speed and cadence sensor, which Zwift will translate into zPower, their version of virtual power.  It’s not quite the same, but still can make for a good workout.

For me, Zwift just breaks up a bit of the monotony on long rides.  And you can input your pre-designed workouts as well.  My coach gives me workouts, which I can do while on Zwift.  When I’m just riding to ride, it’s fun to try to beat old sprint records or try to climb the hill faster.  (I think I need to ride at some crazy mid-week hour so I can have a chance at a QOM – queen of the mountain – and even then it’s unlikely.)

Plus, let’s be honest, I like stats.  I’ve been training with power, and I like being able to see the power on the screen.  I can still port the workout over to Strava and see how I’m doing on the various segments that have been created.  I’m hoping this helps me become an even stronger rider over the winter.

Anyone else use Zwift?

 

 

Turkey Trot

I have to admit, it’s been years since I’ve run a Turkey Trot.  Why? Mostly because I’m in taper for Space Coast.  Also, I have to admit, a big part of it is the unpredictable weather in November.  So I’m not surprised by the data below indicating that most Turkey Trots are happening in relatively warm states.

Do you run a Turkey Trot?  Maybe I should sign up for one next year.

 

 

 

 

Data powered by Athlinks. Visit Athlinks.com to claim your Turkey Trot results and you could win a free 2018 race entry!

The best laid plans…

So if you couldn’t tell, I’m not doing so great on my NaBloPoMo goals.  Whoops.  But hey, something is better than nothing, right?

I blame this stupid cold.  I’m not sick, really, but I’m not exactly well either, so I’m working to kick it. As of today, it’s mostly just a cough and a bit of congestion, plus that general feeling of malaise, but I’m definitely better.  It’s meant more missed workouts though.  Can I have a two+ week taper?  Is that an option?

I certainly didn’t go to the pool this morning.  I figured coughing and trying to swim would be problematic and lead to possible drowning.  Seemed messy either way.  But I am hoping to hit the bike trainer tonight and then go to bed early (Yeah Friday Night!) so I can have some fun this weekend.

(Including braving the grocery store and hopefully running 6 miles if my cough clears up a bit.  I don’t want to run on the treadmill if I don’t have to, but at this point, whatever it takes.)

I finally decided to check out Zwift after seeing so many of my friends raving about how fun it is, and after one ride, I think I agree.  I will be doing a more robust review of it sometime in the next few weeks, but I think it might be a way to make my indoor rides even more fun.

Weekend Update

Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay

This weekend was definitely a productive one for me.  I took an unplanned 4 day weekend – Friday was a federal holiday (Veterans Day Observed) and because I work a flex schedule, I discovered on Wednesday that I had enough hours in for the pay period if I took sick leave for my two PT appointments.  I have sick leave coming out my ears, so I went for it and took a four day weekend.

Of course, my whole plan for Thursday was to go to the DMV to get my license renewed.  It doesn’t expire til January, but with the Real ID Act, getting a new license is a process, so I wanted to get it out of the way.  Thankfully, Maryland lets you make appointments, which actually helped a lot.  I was in and out in about 40 minutes.

Unfortunately, I seem to have left there with some cold germs that started to rear their ugly heads on Saturday.  I manage to make it through the entire season without getting sick and then I manage to get two colds in the span of a month.  This is definitely unfair.  Long weekend and I spend it sick, just in time to go back to work?

Oh well, at least maybe I’m getting this cold out of the way before the holidays.  Or something.

So after getting the Christmas tree up and getting some projects done around the house, the rest of the weekend was pretty lazy. Rather than go for my planned 12 mile run, I decided to do a 2 hour trainer ride, figuring that it would be easier on my body than running.  I think it was, but it was still freaking hard.

I think over the winter, I’m going to experiment with Zwift to see if that can make trainer rides any more entertaining.  I don’t mind long trainer rides, but I need to make sure I’m actually pushing myself throughout the workout.  I know a lot of people out there use it and love it, so it might be time to give it a try.