Race Review: Great Western Reserve Triathlon

Miscellaneous

This weekend was my second time racing the Great Western Reserve Triathlon sprint distance and my third sprint triathlon to date. I felt confident going into this race because it was my second time racing it. (It was my first ever triathlon last summer). I had debated doing the Olympic distance, but felt under prepared in the swim, so I played it safe with competing in the sprint again.

west-branch1

GWRT-1As soon as I was out there on the course though I wished I had done the Olympic distance. The weather was beautiful and the sun was out. It was a perfect swim venue with calm water and no seed weed in sight!! The bike course was familiar and fast, with a view rolling hills and scenic views. The run course was down and back with a decent, steady hill, but in the shade of the woods.

I loved everything about this race, and even sitting here at work on Monday morning I’m still smiling just thinking about it. On the bike course I realized my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! I was having such a blast and it was another reason I ached to do the Olympic distance – I didn’t want it to end!

west-branch2This being my third triathlon ever – I knocked 19 minutes off my race time from last season, finishing in 1:27. Last year the half mile swim took me 17 minutes and this year I was out of the water in 13 minutes! I had also given myself a pep talk the night before that no matter what I was going to go all out on the bike and I think I did (for me at least). I averaged 18 miles per hour (3:30 min/mile) and I finished the swim and bike in 58 minutes.

west-branch4By the time I got to the run though, I started to slow down and scowled myself for not practicing more brick workouts. My legs were heavy and I felt like I was barely managing to jog for the first mile of the race. By mile 2 I started to adjust and managed to keep an 8:50 min/mile, finishing the 5K in a disappointing 26 minutes.

Overall I am ecstatic with my time PR, but of course there are a few things I could do better:

  1. I was focusing on going so fast on the bike that I couldn’t find time to slow down and take my GU – maybe that could have helped me muster up some speed in the run.
  2. Speaking of the run – practice MORE brick workouts!!
  3. I was paying way too much attention to trying to see if I could beat others in my age group (yes winning is fun, but triathlon is always you vs. you and I need to focus more on my own race).
  4. I could stand to be just a bit more aggressive in the swim. I always start in the way back and then have to fight to get past people later on.
  5. T1 was 2:03 and T2 was 1:29. I can probably be just a tiny bit faster with my transitions. Practice should help.

Things I did well:

  1. Overall the swim was near perfect (for me at least – especially after my panic/freak out during the Portage Lakes Tri last season). I had no real freak out yesterday and felt pretty confident. (There was a little moment around the second buoy that I got hit by someone else’s hand and I felt a brief moment of panic creeping in, but instead I flipped over on my back and backstroked for about a minute to catch my breath. Then I turned back over for front crawl and felt great.) I think for me, the trick for the swim is to consistently monitor myself. Anytime I have a moment I need to slow down, calm myself down and then continue.
  2. I felt pretty confident on the bike and I think it’s just from riding a lot more and being more comfortable. This is my first season racing with my new bike (which I bought from someone else so it’s not really new haha) but I think I handled the gears and turns well and felt powerful on the hills.
  3. I know there are probably tricks and tips that I’m not doing in the transitions, but I felt smooth in T1 and T2 with no real hiccups or obstacles. I probably just need to practice them more if anything.

west-branch5I already can’t wait to compete in this race next season and I have been looking up other triathlon races all morning. I had one other sprint tri on the race schedule for this summer, but now I just want to do an Olympic distance! Last weekend was the Twinsburg Duathlon, which turned out to be a perfect tune-up race for the triathlon. Next weekend I am riding 25 miles on the Sunday in June tour with my mom. (Practice for 50 miles for bike VeloSano on June 18 – which reminds me – if you haven’t donated to our VeloSano cancer cause please donate here).

westbranch3Today I’m going to go through my 2015 race schedule and reevaluate what I have going on. Our wedding in August is coming up quickly, but I think I can squeeze in a few more races, especially with how pleased I was with yesterday’s race results! Also I got to race in my new Cleveland Triathlon Club kit, which was awesome! Super functional and sharp looking 😉

Training this week looks like:
Monday – run 5 miles PM
Tuesday – Cleveland Tri Club track practice (5-7 miles)
Wednesday – Mentor Flag Day 5K
Thursday – AM bike and swim
Friday – run 4 miles AM
Saturday – rest (lots of wedding prep activities)
Sunday – 25 mile bike (Sunday in June)

A New Year — Race 1 of 12.

Miscellaneous

Happy New Year! I am super excited for 2014. I’ve got big plans for racing, running and beginning to plan a wedding. I also plan on rocking my career even more and continuing to be an awesome auntie to my four little ones – actually soon to be five come June!

2013 was an amazing year for me. I’m almost even tempted to call it “adult” like, which is funny because I am the farthest thing from being an adult. I mean I still laugh at poop jokes and I’m 24 years old. Anyways, in 2013: I got a new car, landed my first big kid job, ran my first marathon and got engaged. 2014 has BIG shoes to fill, but the possibilities are there and I’m excited for it all.

It’s one of my resolutions to run a race every month of the year in 2014. I’m glad January’s race is already said and done, because I am not a fan of cold weather running. I’m already dreading the February and March races, plus sometimes April is cold around here too. I’m also dreading the race fees, so hopefully that doesn’t stop me either.

So to start off the New Year and to cross 1 of 12 races off my list, I set off to run a 5K on New Years Day. I ran the race with Nicole (one of my best friends, future bridesmaids and marathon running partner). It was the Cleveland Commitment 5K on New Year’s Day in Beachwood. It’s a free race dedicated to starting a national conversation about living a healthy way of life. This race was one of 35 that took place all over the U.S. on January 1st and of course I loved that it was free entry.

Snowy 5K route

Snowy 5K route

Despite having a good amount of champagne the night before and staying up pretty late with friends, Nicole and I braved the cold 17 degree weather to run a quick 3.1 miles on New Years Day. The course was a little boring as we ran through a neighborhood and down snowy sidewalks. I was pretty much miserable the entire run and joked that the 5K was the worse thing to ever happen to me. I was tired, freezing and a tiny bit hung over, PLUS I’ll be honest – I’m a little out of shape considering I haven’t ran in about 3 weeks. I’m too embarrassed to even post my time, but let’s just say I ran a full 10 minutes faster in the 5K I ran in June when I was training. I wasn’t happy with my time nor running the actual race itself, but let me tell you  how happy I am that my January race is over.

I look happy, but I'm not. [Nicole and I post-race]

I look happy, but I’m not. [Nicole and I post-race]

Here’s my list of other 2014 race possibilities:
JanuaryCheck!
FebruaryDirty Run 10K in Willoughby Hills, $30 OR Chili Bowl Classic 5K in Cleveland, $20, plus the fiance would love to be able to taste all the different chili offered post race with the fee.
MarchLifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon in Beachwood, $35. (It would be my DREAM to be able to do this.) OR Strides of March 5K in Kirtland, $18. (It’ll also be important to run lower cost races now since we have a wedding to start planning for!)
April – Chardon hosts a Maple Sap 5K every year in April for an annual festival. It’s two streets over from my house and probably no more than $20, so this will probably be my April run. No information is currently posted about it.
May – My wonderful fiance registered me for the 2014 Cleveland Half Marathon for this month. He’ll run it with me too. (Guys – take note of this gift idea if your woman is a runner. I was seriously SO excited when I opened the envelope!)
JuneMentor Flag Day 5K, $20.  I ran it last year and placed in my age group. Plus there was an awesome post-race picnic after.
July – Painesville Johnny Cake Jog Five Miler, $20/$25. I loved this race when I ran it last year. It’s a fast, flat course and just an all around good event with great food and activities post-race.
August – I’d love to be able to do the Bellefaire JCB Biathlon again. It’s a 5K race followed by a 13.1 bike ride. It was an awesome event and I placed in my age group.
September – Hands down I’m running the 2014 Akron Marathon again.
October – Not sure about this month’s race yet. Not many races for this late in 2014 are posted yet. I know there’s a half and full marathon somewhere up by the lake (maybe in Fairport). I’m also not sure if the Rock and Roll Half Marathon will be back either, but I don’t particularly want to run that again. I’m not even sure if I’d want to run another full or half marathon if I’m running Akron the month before though. Stay tuned.
November – This past Thanksgiving the fiance and I were traveling the day of, so we didn’t put much of an effort in to find a Turkey Trot to run even though we both said we wanted to. 2014 will have to be different or else I’ll need to find another November race.
December – More than likely I’ll run the Legacy Village Jingle Bell 5K again. I’ve run this race the past two years and have enjoyed it. I love the holiday themed races since they are always so fun and festive.

Here are a few pictures from our New Year’s Eve festivities. Since I worked basically the entire holiday and the fiance (still weird to say since our engagement is so new) has been off work for the past two weeks, he did the NYE planning coordination. He arranged dinner with 20 friends and family at a local winery a few streets over from the house. The place is called Your Vine or Mine in Painesville and it was fantastic. I’d recommend it to anyone local and looking to support a family owned business. We had awesome wine and a light dinner, then everyone came back to the house to drink, be merry and watch the ball drop. The fiance’s sister did an awesome job with decorations and food. We all had a great time and still avoided the overly-crowded-too-loud-no seats-available-can’t-get-a-drink bar scene. I was a happy girl.

Our large group of 20

Our large group of 20

The fiance and I being overly festive and cute for NYE.

The fiance and I being overly festive and cute for NYE

New Year’s Day we followed our normal tradition of getting sushi and then seeing a movie. We saw American Hustle, which kept my attention, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “good” by any means.

Delicious way to start the new year

A delicious way to start the new year

What are you looking forward to in 2014? I’m excited for the possibilities of the New Year ahead and I hope you all are too.

I’m ready to work hard, run hard and play even harder.

Happy New Year!  

Look in the mirror — there’s your competition.

Miscellaneous

Well…it happened…

I signed up and am officially running the Akron Marathon on Saturday, September 28. marathon

It still seems unreal. I’ve dreamed about running a marathon for years — even when I thought 4 miles was soooo long during my early college years of running. Now, I finally feel ready enough to attempt it.

All summer I went back and forth with the decision to run it or not. I had planned to do it and then suddenly prices dramatically increased. Then I was out of commission for three weeks because I got my wisdom teeth out and developed a terrible infection. Then people I spoke to warned me “Oh no you don’t want to run Akron as your first marathon.” Or “It’s stupid, don’t ever run a marathon.” Etc. Etc. Etc.

I got so inside my own head that I shut out the idea for a little bit. Then suddenly something just clicked inside of me. I trained all summer (well minus three weeks) and I knew that the Akron half marathon would be too easy. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to feel proud of myself. I wanted to be the person I had watched at the Cleveland Marathon finishing strong and crossing mile 26.2.

Suddenly I felt a huge surge of inspiration and motivation. I would never be more ready then I would be right now. Of course I would (and am) continuing to train up until the race, but if I didn’t take advantage of this right now, I would spend all winter wondering what if?

Of course I’m still terribly afraid. I’m petrified I’ll get to mile 18 and just be done, but I’m also so excited that it keeps me awake at night. The past two weekends I woke up with a giant smile at 7 a.m. because it was the day for my long run.

I’m also nervous because I’ll be running it alone. Of course there will be the other 2,000 runners, but in general, none of my friends will be there running next to me. The BF just could not do it with his bad knee and of course he feels awful about it, but I’m not holding it against him. This is more of my dream now and I’m finally going to make it happen. I’m scared out of my mind, but I was even more scared to have to wait a whole year to get this opportunity again.

Stay tuned, because this race happens in three weeks!

The BF and I at this weekend's home opener.

The BF and I at this weekend’s home opener.

In other races and life news, I’m a happy gal because my Cleveland Browns are back at it! I’m sad that summer is ending (actually borderline depressed), however I love football season!

I also ran the South River Winery Vineyard Run two weekends ago and it was awesome, but undoubtedly the toughest course I’ve ever ran before. It was all grass trails in and around the grapevines of the winery. Of course it was cool and very scenic, but after almost twisting my ankle 28 times and missing my 10K PR time by two minutes, I was happy to see the finish line.

Friends, myself and the BF post race.

Friends, myself and the BF post winery race.

That’s it for now. I am so focused and excited that I’m practically giddy about it being 91 degrees today, because I plan to get in at least five miles tonight after work. I’ve got to keep this motivation and fire lite!

clearurmindpic

Summer Goodness

Miscellaneous

I’m being a typical girl when I say this, but where has the time gone!? I can’t believe it’s mid July already! Two seconds ago it was May 19 and I was running the Cleveland Half Marathon with an entire summer before me. Now I’m sitting here on July 16 with a full calendar of events every single weekend between now and Labor Day.

This summer has been awesome — even as I started my big kid job this past month and was officially welcomed into the 40+ hour work week. (P.S. What did I do with myself before I started working full time?!) So since I’ve been feeling like a real adult lately (although I could do without the car payment) my mom and I decided to throw a wine tasting party last Saturday. Pinterest was a huge source of inspiration – check out my Wine Tasting Party Board.

We sent out super cute party invites to guest (which I had a few pictures of, but two weeks ago I ran over my cell phone with my own car — and no, alcohol was not even involved surprisingly). We ended up having around 30 guest Saturday night, and the theme quickly changed from a wine tasting to more of a wine social. By the peak of the night, we probably had 40+ bottles of wine at the “tasting” area.

Beginning of the night.

– Beginning of the night

The party was a blast though. We had grape vine lights strung up as decorations, along with cute wine quotes in pretty frames, plus the weather was gorgeous. The week of the tasting Chardon was actually going on 16 straight days of rain. It was miserable. But the wine gods were shining on us Saturday and the sun was out.

1 of 5 outside tables

– 1 of 5 outside tables

We ended up with a ton of food, even though we supplied a majority of it. Red velvet cup cakes with little frosted grapes on them (they took forever to make), veggie cups, homemade pepperoni roll, a giant platter of sushi, cheese and crackers and of course enough wine to fill a pond. Nothing was better than sitting out on a deck sipping wine with my best friends, gossiping and chatting about everything under the sun. My girlfriends and I all vowed to host a wine or BBQ event once a week from now on. Stay tuned as to how that one plays out.

Food table with a gorgeous rainbow fruit salad

– Food table with a gorgeous rainbow fruit salad

Up next on the summer list looks like Painesville’s Party in the Park event this Saturday, followed by a 5-miler called The Johnny Cake Jog. The weekend after that looks like a

An overview of the decor

An overview of the decor

trip to Put-N-Bay, then Vintage Ohio Wine Festival and a Miranda Lambert concert. Oh plus I think I’m convinced the boyfriend to do a Biathlon with me on August 25. The Biathlon includes a three mile run and a 12 mile bike ride. Check out the 2013 Bellefaire JCB Biathlon & Walk.

Hope everyone’s summer is going just as awesome as mine. If you’re in Northeast Ohio like me — enjoy it now, because we don’t get to 85 percent of the year because of the snow.

Keep Running!

Sponsoring Races: a PR approach

Miscellaneous, Running

I’m running the Black Squirrel 5K on Saturday in Kent, Ohio. More info about the race can be found here.

As I prepare for the race, I started thinking about the companies and organizations that sponsor races, whether they are 5K’s, 10K’s, full marathons or half’s. Not only do main company’s sponsor full races, but think of all the gift bags and free stuff (YES!) that you get post race most time.

Cleveland Marathon 2010

Cleveland Marathon 2010

I’ve received everything from free T-shirts and ID tags, to free four packs of Muscle Milk, water bottles and free food samples. A lot of time coupons are often stuffed into these “runners swag bag” as one race I ran in June called it.

What are some of the best, worse and even weirdest things you’ve gotten for free after running a race?

As I was saying, why do companies and organizations choose to sponsor races and give out free things?

Of course the most obvious reason – it get’s the company’s name out there. It’s all about the prospect to sell more products. For giving out free things, there’s hopefully a return in getting new customers and sales. Companies sponsor races out of advertising budgets because that’s just what it is, advertising to potential consumers.

Companies want you to sponsor them in the best possible light – I think there is a certain special relationship between sponsors and runners because runners are so passionate about what they do. It’s like tapping into a new consumer demographic.

Sponsoring a race or marathon is great PR for a company or organization, it can show a different side to what one normally see’s in a company.

Dick’s Sporting Goods sponsors the Pittsburgh Marathon (which I’ve always secretly wanted to run even though I hate Pittsburgh with a passion.) Rite Aide sponsors the Cleveland Marathon (which I also want to run if I can whip my butt into shape by then – hey I’m working on it and alright, alright, the half is probably going to be more realistic for me as of right now since there’s only 46 days left ’til race day.)

Sponsorship of race by Rite Aid

Sponsorship of race by Rite Aid

Also the famous Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure organization is another huge sponsor of races and charities. Next time you find yourself in the grocery store take a look at all the pink labels that certain foods like Cambell’s and Yoplait sponsor in turning labeling pink for a certain amount of time.

Take a look at the hugely impressive list of corporate sponsors for Susan G. Komen here. If that doesn’t say good things about a company or organization then I don’t know what does. There’s a certain level of respect and generosity that comes to a company the sponsors races. The company can really benefit from this in the eyes of the community.

As an inspiring PR pro, I want to be a part of a company or organization that sponsors some sort of charity race. Nothing feels better then raising money and trying to help those in need and all companies and organization should strive to try and make that a part of the business’s plan and moral.