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The Unexpected 13.1 PR

Gah… Second weekend in a row, faced with rain and cold. Fortunately, It wasn’t the downpour as last week, just some drizzle, but it was just as cold. This morning was the team’s longest run, going into Build 1 of our training cycle. It was also my longest since the Austin Marathon just a little over a month ago.

We met at the usual Ocean/San Vicente spot in Santa Monica. Pretty big turnout for a rainy run, but so awesome to see such participation. One of my teammates, Jessica, even had a plastic bag covering her body with the words, “Rain? IronTeam Don’t Give a Sh*t!”, in the nature of the bad ass Honeybadger videos. We started off with a warmup up San Vicente, then south on Ocean, and did a few out and backs up Amalfi and Troll bridge. If you don’t know what that means, it means a very flat first half, followed by a very hilly second half. I seem to perform better whenever there’s hills though because I like to take advantage of the downhill and let gravity take me down. This was the route.

I even thought to take this run very easy because we had a pretty tough bike ride yesterday, but I guess running with people faster than me helped push me. Sad to say that those fast ones were on their LA Marathon “recovery” pace, but nevertheless I was happy to take that opportunity. I mean, a teammate, Adam, completed the LA Marathon in under 3 hours, and here I was running the second half of 13.1 with him. We even had good conversation, catching up on things, then when we realized I could PR this distance (previous PR was 2:01 at the Huntington Beach Half), we pushed it even further! 1:59 – DONE.

The St. Patrick’s Day Pits

This past weekend was a 7 mile run simulation of the Wildflower Long Course’s “Pits” at the Palisades area of Santa Monica. It’s called “The Pits” because of the out and back nature, highest point at the middle, then the lowest points of elevation at the ends. Unfortunately, due to the weather, our original training plan of a bike ride was nixed because of some harsh rain. It was optional for us to do a trainer ride at the meeting spot, Rustic Canyon Park. My trainer wouldn’t fit in my little car, so I just did the run.

Running in the rain was probably an understatement for what we experienced that morning. Monsoon, maybe? COLD, windy, sideways rain, water up to our ankles. I’d say it was one of the harshest weather I’ve experienced on the run. I was glad though that mud wasn’t involved. Since we were just running in the neighborhood, it was relatively clean compared to last year’s muddy & raining Wildflower training weekend. At first, we were trying to skip over puddles, but once we accepted the fact that in the end we’ll be soaking wet, that’s when the fun was happening. Jumping in puddles, no wait, pools of rain, running against/with the wind. Even better, it was with the most amazing people I know. If I was training alone, if there was no one to start & end with, I’d be miserable. I mean, who does this, on purpose? Most of us would probably opt for a nice indoor treadmill, or nothing at all.

Rain Doesn’t Stop Us

There were weather forecasts of hail and snow in Los Angeles this weekend since the past few days have been torrential downpour, wind, and very cold. Rain or shine, our team still trains, but in this case, we were on standby this morning if we were to bike or run. I took a chance last night and didn’t prepare my bike nutrition. Luckily, we didn’t have to bike because the rains left a lot of unsafe conditions on PCH – our coaches didn’t want to take any chances.

So instead, we were back at our usual “Amalfi” meeting. This loop was very familiar to me because it was something the TNT Westside Marathon team did a few times. It was similar to the run last week where we met at Ocean & San Vicente, proceeded down the hill and back up the neighborhood. We then kept going up and up and up! It spit us back out to Sunset and eventually made our way down San Vicente from 26th St. Sorry, only the people familiar with this route will understand this. It’s also a popular bike route in Santa Monica. Again, I ran with my new running buddy Liz from the 70.3 team since she’s training for LA Marathon and we’re about the same pace. I’m glad we push each other to keep on running, otherwise, I don’t think I’d be able to run such a hilly course without walking. Overall, another great run!

Here’s the elevation chart:

Body Rolls in the Rain

No, not THAT kind of body roll (above), but body rolls & rotation in relation to swimming. Tonight was another coached practice at the Culver City Plunge. It was raining, but it didn’t matter because we were going to get wet in the pool anyway. As long as it wasn’t a lightning storm, we should be ok. Again, it was a huge challenge, but it was actually the best one yet. I was actually able to do a freestyle swim (although sloppy) across the pool! I still had issues breathing, but like I mentioned earlier, it was mainly due to my body position. That’s exactly what I need to focus on. I know it’s tough to manage 20 or so participants in the pool, let alone help a super beginner, so the coaches suggested I seek outside help to get me up to speed. Understandable, and yes, I really need it. Ultimate deadline to get swimming is at the end of January, where I think the first open water swim will occur. I’m determined, so I’ll start to look for options and do whatever it will take to get swimming!

Running in the Rain

I don’t know how I got past four years of running without having to run in the rain. The closest I ever got was in Alaska, where it started to sprinkle just a little before the race. All the other times I rained for practice, I was probably out of town. This morning, I finally got to run in the rain. Yes, another first. It was quite refreshing though. Splish splashing around, occasional mud, cars driving by splashing water. Good times. Brought back memories again of childhood just playing in the rain after school, having to walk home.

We met at Ocean & San Vicente again, then we ran up 15 minutes and back, for a total of an hour. Going up San Vicente was a little more challenging because it was slightly uphill, but I enjoyed the way back, downhill. Wearing my rain jacket kept the rain out, but it also kept the heat in. I felt really good most of the time as I only had to stop for walks early with intervals, and a few stoplights, but I was able to stick to a constant pace throughout. I’m thinking it’s the cross training with swimming & biking that is definitely helping my run, much more than just doing other runs in between.

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