I Hate 5ks

Jul 25

I Hate 5ks

After threatening to sign up for three or four different marathons since last fall, I finally pulled the trigger and plunked down the registration fee for the Tunnel Lite Marathon September 15th. It’s a point-to-point with a net elevation loss, so pretty easy-peasy as far as marathon courses go. My running volume lately has thus increased as Coach T has started prepping me to haul my chubby ass 26.2 miles. Fitness-wise (and weight-wise) I’m still not where I was last season, but at least now I have a race to train for. My return to a regular training schedule got my coach’s seamless, sweat-wicking undies in a twist and she excitedly instructed me to find two 10ks to run as part of my marathon training. July has been a hectic month for me — Jason and I traveled to a wedding in Philadelphia earlier this month, plus he’s racing his first 50 mile ultramarathon this weekend — so I only had a couple weekends free to find a potential race. After informing Teresa of my dilemma, she said I could find a 5k to run this month and a 10k in August. Crap. 5ks suck for one reason: they hurt. If you’re intent on doing a 5k as a fun run, that’s fine, 3.1 miles is a fine distance for a walk or a jog or a combination of the two. But if your coach wants you to “race” the 5k, you’re essentially tasked with sprinting the entire distance and are a half-burp away from horking up one or both lungs at any given moment. There’s nothing “aerobic” about a 5k. From the moment you take off to the moment you cross the finish line, you feel like you’re going to die. Another reason I don’t like 5ks is because my SALS (Stumpy Asian Leg Syndrome) don’t make me much of a sprinter. I always tell people that I’m built for duration. I’m not terribly fast, but when you stretch out the distance long enough, my sheer stubbornness pushes me to maintain a somewhat decent pace until I manage to finish. For short distances, however, I’m no Usain Bolt. Whenever we do sprint work at track, teammates who I’m...

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Becca Fall Down, Go Boom: My Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Oct 11

Becca Fall Down, Go Boom: My Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Welcome back, reader! It’s been a while, I know. I took a little hiatus after Ironman Canada to laze around and get fat, so now that I am sufficiently rested and newly-pudgy, it’s time for me to get back into the swing of things, and what better way to move forward than to recap a race I did a month and a half ago, right? If you’re all, “Pffft, this was forever ago, gimme some new material already!”, don’t worry, I’ve got some more timely stuff in the pipeline. But for the 12 of you who have been bugging me to bust out this bad boy, enjoy my ridiculously belated Ironman Canada 2012 race report (oh, and here’s 2010’s race report, aka The Longest Race Report in the History of Race Reports, if you care to revisit that one). Pre-Race Shenanigans Jas and I left for Penticton the Wednesday before the race, stopping a couple (meaning hundreds) of times so I could pee and pick up some healthy, pre-race organic, gluten-free, paleo-friendly nourishment… …just kidding, I had a gas station corn dog, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, and about five pounds of potato chips. Every time I sign up for these endurance races, I fill out all of the information so far in advance that I’ve forgotten what I’ve written until I have to review the forms before the event. This means that Present Me will usually be simultaneously amused and embarrassed by Past Me’s responses. Case in point: when I went to pick up all of my important race crap, I saw this: The elderly volunteer who was going over my information with me did a double-take and laughed pretty hard, saying, “I haven’t seen that one before!” I took that as a sign to keep putting bullshit in my forms for future events. Thanks, lady! With registration taken care of, I taper tantrum-ed my way through my final pre-race workouts (“Eeeeekkk, my foot is hurting during this bike ride! I knew I should have brought my old nasty cycling shoes instead of the new pair!”; “Holy shit, this water is so rough! Why is it so rough?! It’s going to be even worse on race day, I know it!!”),...

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Rev 3 Portland 2012: Attack of the Climbs

Aug 25

Rev 3 Portland 2012: Attack of the Climbs

Last month was my third half Ironman of 2012, Rev 3 Portland. I’ve gotta say, I’m really enjoying the Rev 3 race series and highly recommend them to athletes who want a challenging race that’s well run. I hope the Rev 3 series gets more popular since I wouldn’t mind more competition for WTC–right now, only a few hundred people seem to turn out for each Rev 3 race, but hopefully they’ll start gaining momentum. Anyway, onto the race report. I had just done Honu 70.3 the month before and started off my season with Rev 3 Costa Rica in March, so I had been training and racing for quite a while by the time Portland rolled around. When I did the race last year, I was overweight, injured, and out of shape but still managed to have a decent race because the course was flat and fast. This year, however, the organizers changed the bike course to a hellacious hillfest, with four Category 5 climbs (which are apparently the hardest climbs you can rank before the hills essentially just become bullshit mountain terrain). Rev 3 touted the new course as their toughest and most technical one on the circuit. Oh goody. Jason, his deaf dad Jim, his sister Danielle and I went to registration (Danielle was doing the Olympic distance race while Jason and his dad were doing a half Ironman relay with one of Danielle’s friends), then all hopped in Jim’s SUV to drive the bike course. Upon seeing how ridiculous these climbs were and hearing how the car’s engine had to grind to get up them, I couldn’t help but laugh. This course was absurd–full of long, steep climbs and really windy descents that could be quite treacherous if you weren’t cautious. It definitely was not going to be a PR bike split kind of day, but I looked forward to the challenge since I had gotten better at climbing lately. I was only worried about the descents and making sure I stayed cautious and that nobody around me was going to do something stupid that would end up getting me hurt. Jason’s dad, meanwhile, was trying to watch the course like a hawk and study...

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This is Why I Hate Swimming

Aug 20

This is Why I Hate Swimming

Earlier this summer I wrote about the day I finally liked swimming. It was a magical morning in A Bay on the big island in Hawaii, and I saw tons of dolphins frolicking in the ocean all around me while I treaded water for 45 minutes and marveled at how I would have missed out on such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I hated swimming and refused to swim out that far. My swim on Friday couldn’t have been any further from that moment in my life; in fact, had I seen a pod of dolphins during the Friday Night Swim race (which would have been peculiar considering the race was in a murky lake in Kent, Washington), I would have kicked them all in the face with my non-cramping leg while screaming about how much I hate swimming. Let’s back up a smidge. I was scheduled to do the Swim for Life swim across Lake Washington on a decidedly inconvenient day of the week (Wednesday) at a decidedly inconvenient time (7:30 am). The last time I participated in the swim was two years ago. It was the last big swim before Ironman Canada, and it was mostly a disaster due to how gloriously awful the swim conditions were (wind, heavy chop, strong waves). This year I wanted a better pre-Canada last hurrah swim and hoped to tackle the distance in under 1:30, which would give me a nice little confidence boost going into IMC. Unfortunately, I had to be at work early that day for meetings so I wouldn’t be able to do the charity swim. I told Teresa I was bailing and begrudgingly said I could probably do the Friday Night Swim race later that week instead. This “Plan B” swim option was a bad idea for the following reasons: It was an actual swim race, meaning I’d have a finisher’s time and would be pitted against people who actually enjoy swimming to the point that they sign up for standalone swim races, instead of folks like me who hate it but understand it’s a necessary evil if you want to keep doing these silly triathlons. It was at 6:00 pm on a Friday… …in Kent. So I...

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Aloha, Crosswinds: My 2012 Honu 70.3 Race Report

Jul 19

Aloha, Crosswinds: My 2012 Honu 70.3 Race Report

So you’re aware that Hawaii was crazy windy and that after my race I almost fainted on Linsey Corbin, but you don’t know how the actual half Ironman went because I haven’t gotten around to writing it yet. My bad–juggling a new job and Ironman Canada training ramp up has been a bit crazy and I haven’t had a chance to blog much lately. But enough with the excuses, I’ve got posts to write and they’ll spill out of my sun-baked brain and onto a keyboard sooner or later. Here’s how it all went down… The 2012 Lance Armstrong Ironman Lance Honu 70.3, Sponsored by Livestrong Oh, was this the race that Lance Armstrong was at? They made such little fuss about him that I barely knew he was there. (I’m kidding–Ironman totally and unabashedly gargled his ball.) Anyway, the morning of the race I woke up, showered, sunscreened, choked down breakfast, gathered my bottles and gear, and hopped in the van with my housemates to head to the race start. I got to transition and went through the standard ordeal: Pumped up my tires Checked my bike computer Arranged my bottles and fuel Used the portapotty Slathered on more obscene amounts of sunscreen Lubed up my nethers I went down to the beach and got body-marked. This race likes to use fancy stamps for your numbers to make athletes feel as if they’re at the World Championships despite only having to do half the distance. I had a really smudgy stamp and a volunteer captain came up and scolded the person who was helping me for using an inferior stamp on my glorious arm canvas. She spent a few minutes painstakingly cleaning up the ink smears around my numbers, and when she finished I promptly returned to transition and coated myself with another layer of sunscreen. (I wasn’t about to get Cancun’d again so I sacrificed number readability for not getting skin cancer.) Jas and I wandered around, avoiding Lance’s entourage and the surrounding crowd of gawkers, in an effort to find his parents so we could hand them our pre-race gear bags to hold onto. We eventually found them on the beach at the swim start, so...

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