Last weekend I was supposed to race 2 miles in the open water.  My dad and I have done this race the last four years and Matt joined last year.  As you can see from the title, I didn’t swim. 

After waking up in the morning on Saturday, I saw it was pouring rain.  I thought it was summer time and I’m going to be swimming in the water anyways so it really didn’t matter.  As long as it wasn’t thundering or lightening they weren’t going to cancel the swim.  Dad, Matt and I went to the ferry station got marked up (I was lucky number 7) and boarded the ferry.  By the point of being of the ferry I was already pretty drenched. My clothes (including rain jacket) were soaken wet.  My core temperature had dropped a little bit and I wasn’t warming up.  If anything I was continuing to get colder.

The swim itself goes 1 mile out into the Long Island Sound and then 1 back.  You get into some deeper, colder and more choppy water out into the Sound. 

The Course

The Course

I was bundled up but poor packing on my part was also an issue.  I had known it was pouring rain (my two eyes showed me that) and thought a rain coat and sweats would have sufficed.  IThough even both of those were not enough as the rain had soaked through my cotton sweats and I could have used a sweatshirt under my rain coat to protect me from the wind.  Maybe if I had had appropriate and rain pants and had been able to stay warm I could have done this race.  The wind blowing directly onto the island made the temperatures feel colder (though it allowed huge negative splits for the racers…both Matt and dad had great races).

At 8:20 (with a race start of 8:30), I made the executive decision not to swim.  I was shivering before entering the water and being cold before a swim race for me, is like being thirsty before a road race.  Nothing good can come out of it.

Was there a possibility I would warm up during the race and all would be fine?  Yes.  Was there a possibility that I could come out of the 2 mile swim, half delusional and hypothermic as I did 3 years ago?  Yes and that is something I never want to repeat in my life.

Preblogging world I did this race three years ago and came out hypothermic.  The conditions were similar and I had thought nothing of it.  My body and core never warmed back up despite swimming two miles.  I had come out of the water unable to talk, half delusional and was immediately assisted into the medical tent.  I really don’t know how I finished the race or the next series of events.  What I do know is that I layed in the 90 degree sun with the medics for about an hour before warming up enough to be able to talk coherent sentences.

This was three years ago.  You can see how cold I was.

This was three years ago. You can see how cold I was.

I don’t need to write a novel about how serious hypothermia is and I will never regret not doing this swim.  Am I bummed?  Yes of course but I don’t regret it.  I could have easily decided to risk it made it a mile out, gotten so cold that my body shut down. Would I regret being in the water then?  Honestly this isn’t a big deal for me.  Many people DNS races for various reasons and I’m not going to cry and whine about it.

What could I have done differently?

Wind breaker and hoodie underneath a rain jacket to protect myself even more from the rain and wind.  Even then I’m not sure I would have been able to maintain a high even core temperature to start the race.

I’m upset, sure, but I know I made the right decision and I can’t live my life worrying about individual races.

Questions for you:

Have you DNS a race before?

Obviously this race but there was a road race a couple of years ago that I didn’t do as well.  My legs were feeling very injury prone and I had no interest in risking it.

Do you like the rain? 


Running Through Julys

Since my first month of what I consider myself as a runner (July 2010), a lot has changed both mentally and physically for me. July has always been my favorite month (mostly). It’s my birthday month, it’s the month I started running and even when I was in year round school in the UK we had most of July off. (Of course most schools both high school and college do too!). So July is always a fun month for me.  I guess we are nearly halfway through the month but never too late to look back at various years and reflect.

Here are some interesting personal July Running facts…
July 2010:

July 4, 2010. I completed a local 5k in 21:44. Coming from a girl who had nearly failed the mile in gym class three years prior (I passed 12:12) this was pretty much my biggest athletic accomplishment…nevermind the time spent with swimming…

Hey this is probably my most famous running picture

Hey this is probably my most famous running picture

I emailed the college cross country coach saying I really wanted to run for the team and went out on a limb.

I remember completing my first seven mile run. I had prepped myself all day for it. I was so nervous but it went
by quickly.

I won the Allen Stone Run-Swim-Run. My first overall win ever!


July 2011:

I got my first running injury from poor training. Hello stress fracture. It was devastating at the time and I spent many of posts wailing about it but it taught me so much about running and how to train that I am thankful I learned those lessons.

July 2012:

I PRed in the 5k (18:57) at the Allen Stone Run Swim Run. I got second overall.


I logged my first 80 mile week in preps for a stellar cross country season.

July 2013:
I don’t know but Ido hope for an injury free and good month.

Question for you: What is your favorite month?

Jack King 1m Open Water Race Recap

Oh where to begin this race recap.  Every year, dad signs him and I up for the Jack King 1 Mile Swim.  When I used to be a competitive swimmer it wasn’t a big deal.  It was just 7 days of swimming a week versus 6.  But that is long removed from life and I’m lucky to haul ass to the pool once per week.  I could sit here and talk about my swimming back in my swimming prime but it isn’t relevant.  I don’t swim much anymore, therefore don’t compare myself to that speed, time or mentality.  I literally did this just to finish (which is good considering I got a nice 7 out 7 in my age group!

That being said, when dad informed me he had signed us both up (as well as my brother Matt) I couldn’t say no (meaning I was skipping so many great road races this weekend!).  This is the race I’ve done the longest (6 years!), it’s always so well put together and the people there are great.  So with that, we headed on our way to the race.  I have always enjoyed that swim races start at 10am, I would say it’s nice to sleep in but I don’t really do that so I just mused around.

Upon getting to the race at 9am, we realized…why the hell are we here so early.   Not once have I ever warmed up for an open water swim.  Not once have I ever gotten into the ocean or bay before a swim.  I normally just run in, prey to the high heavens my body doesn’t go into cardiac arrest from the temperature change and that’s that.

Before the Swim

Before the Swim

This time was no different, though it’s in water start.  I started right next to Matt…we were chatting and all of a sudden we heard people yelling to go.  That’s us.

I don’t really know what to tell you about open water swimming.  So here were all my thoughts:

I was taking in the sights of the pitch black water below me.   Yummy.

I took in the feeling of being pummeled several times by several waves.  YAY storm systems.

I took in a sight of some crazy tourists who came too far out.  YAY you need more clothes on.

I never saw the half way point (King Neptune Statue). Boo, it felt like the race was a marathon.

It got extremely chilly during the second half of the swim.  I have gotten hypothermia from an open water race in the middle of the summer before.  It took me nearly an hour to recover from that race and was in a med tent so I’ve always been weary about that.  Because of the storm, there was cloud cover and wind (hence the waves that VA isn’t supposed to have) but it also made it cold.

I was never so happy to see the buoy.  YAY orange buoy.

I did the left hand turn, followed the probably 90 year old man in front of me and ran into the beach.  I didn’t trip on the beach and they handed me my glorious 124th place (out of around 150).

And that is how it happened.

I did try as I don’t bag anything.  This was just a nice awakening of where my swimming fitness is..surprise…it’s not there.

After the swim

After the swim

As I told everyone, getting last in my age group is not a big deal .  I am simply bringing up the caboose to the pain train which still got to the station.

Oh joy maybe I’ll get into the pool for the next open water swim…when my arms aren’t sore.

Questions for you:

Does finishing last bother you?

What is your perfect race start time?

Between 8-9am for me

Still Training (70 miles)

On Friday, I touched up more about my marathon training progression so that’s that.

Monday: 10.65 mile run.  Recovering from my 8k, I do remember this run being not so fun and the most painful run of the week.
Tuesday: AM: 11.2 miles (8:33) progression from 8:45-7:45 pace
PM: 5.3 miles tempo  on trails (6:47 pace)
Wednesday: 1.5 hours cross training on the cybex 100i
Thursday: 11.2 miles easy shakeout (8:50 pace)
Friday: 17.35 Long Run at 7:42 pace
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 13-14 mile easy
1 Mile Open Water Jack King Swim
Total: 70 miles

Thoughts on this week:

I haven’t had a sans road race week in quite some time now (about a month) and now I have two in a row.  I’m not racing at all next week either.  That isn’t a bad thing though because I have needed (and wanted some quality training) versus worrying about when and how I feel on Friday if I’m racing on Saturday.

With that, Tuesday I did my normal speed workout which I hadn’t planned for Tuesday but was feeling good.  If I had planned, I would have done 10 in the morning versus 11.  So yes, 11 in the morning that were done easy and 5 in the afternoon (more like noonish at lunch) done at an overall 6:47 pace which I was shocked (but pleased with).

Then rest and recovery Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday was my first productive long run.  I plan to do roughly 5 of these this summer where I experiment with gels, fueling, shoes and also run at a quicker pace then my average day to day runs.  Friday fit with my work, training and life schedule so it was a great run for me.  I progressively worked my way down from 8:45 to the last two miles at 6:50.  (It was a big confidence booster) and I took a gel which sat fine at mile 8.  I didn’t feel any magical energy from the gel but also didn’t die and never felt bad (clearly I kept hammering down at the pace) so I guess it worked.

Then the rest was just easy recovery and rest.  I had to w0rk all day Saturday and I couldn’t muster up the injury free confidence to run at 6am after Thursdays 17…so that’s that.

That Swim:

Yes, I am probably drowning while you are reading this.  My dad and I have a tradition of doing the Jack King 1 mile swim.  You probably know if you follow my training for any amount of time I’m not really prepared, but alas I do it a lot more for fun.  College swimming is a very distant (pun intended) past of mine and while I do enjoy swimming occasionally, it’s not something (right now or for a while) I’ll put on my marbles of training in for.  Well really I give it 1 point of dedication but that might be a bit of dedication.  I take it as more of fun than anything else…painful fun I suppose…

Thoughts for next week:

I will probably do something extremely similar to this, sans fast long run (it will be easy miles) and sans long swim…but maybe I will swim.

Questions for you:

When do you take gels?

Do you like to race a lot or a little? 

Pretending to Train for a Marathon Week 2

Look I can change the title of my blog training every week and still be training for a marathon…or at least pretending too. Right then. It should be Week two: Still not injured (knock on wood). I added some pictures from last race so you can not be bored if you don’t care about actual training…

I will look serious so I have one good race photo...

I will look serious so I have one good race photo…

Monday: Full body Strength class 55 minutes
Tuesday: 11 mile run untimed
Wednesday: 12 mile run untimed
Thursday: 10.65 mile run untimed
3000 meter swim (yes that is real life)
Friday: 10.65 miles in the pouring rain
Saturday: OK Cross Country 5k 19:27 and (13.1 miles overall)
Sunday: 15 easy and untimed
Total: 73

What are my thoughts?

Well let’s see here.  My legs have been on the sore train all week.  I’m not sure if it was the heat or the hills from the half marathon last weekend that knocked them cold.  Either way they have felt like crap the entire week.   Untimed/approximating runs were all I really needed this week and so that was that.  I nixed my normal tempo run this week because quite honestly my body wasn’t fully recovered from the race by Wednesday.  I was “listening to my body” which really means listening to my brain saying Hollie don’t be an idiot and injure yourself.  So really listening to your body is listening to your brain and using common sense…moving on.

We had the tropical storm hit on Friday so it rained off and on all day.  I actually ran in the complete downpour, only to have beautiful weather the hour after…followed by complete downpour.   All the rain though made the cross country 5k I did a complete muddy mess (which was fine for me…it’s cross country…it isn’t the pavement).  I do, however, wish I had worn my spikes.   I’ll recap soon, but it was a good race and certainly made for a hard course in hot/humid conditions.

I will now break this tape.

I will now break this tape.

Those other workouts:

I did one full body strength class at my gym.  It felt good to actually lift some weights…well no I felt awful for neglecting it but it did feel good to actually pretend to start that again.

And swimming:

I swam 1000 freestyle-400 im twice through then did 200 butterfly kick on my back.  I am signed up for a bunch of open water swims this summer so I should probably get my butt back into the pool.  I do enjoy swimming once I physically get into the pool, it’s just getting there is the challenge for me.  I don’t hate swimming, I hate the showering, getting to the pool and all the rest of the time it takes that comes with swimming.  Swimming the mile and loving it has never felt more in a past life.

And next weeks training:

I hope to do more injury free miles.  I’m running an 8k on Saturday (lots of fast ladies going to be there!) and hope to get a tempo run somewhere in there as well.  Oh I’d also like to get a swim or two in and get some weights in.  (my am I greedy?)  We will see where time takes me though.

I will now cluelessly fumble around with this tape and not know what to do because I'm awkward.

I will now cluelessly fumble around with this tape and not know what to do because I’m awkward.

Questions for you:

What is the hardest workout for you to get motivated for?

Did the tropical storm affect you at all?

We got some flooding.

%d bloggers like this: