Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Marathons and Mountain Biking

About a week ago, I ran a marathon!  It was fun.  Prior to this, I hadn't run an open marathon since April 25, 2004.  FYI, that's 13.5 years ago.  WHAT?  Man, I'm old.  Side note - when I looked in my old logs to find the date of that last marathon (Cleveland Marathon, BTW), I took a look at what I did for training for it too.  I did a 23.5 mile run.  Haha.  Whose idea was that?  Also, we didn't have GPS watches then so all my comments are "comfortable pace", "fast pace", "easy pace" with absolutely NO concept of how fast any of those paces were.  #thegoodolddays

I mostly did Philly because I had several athletes running it and because I somehow swindled Kait and Kim into also doing it.  And because I wanted to remember what it felt like to run an open marathon.  It brought me back to my roots.  Kim and I ran through the half in 1:37.  We were both still pretty comfortable.  We started to run some 7:00-ish miles.  We ran through 19 or 20 together.  Kim took off.  I stayed pretty steady.  The last 5 miles was hard!  I ran a bit with my athlete Michele, who was SO tough.  She inspired me!  I finished with a 1:35:35 second half for a 3:12+.  Got a qualifying time for Boston and NYC.  Ate a big burger.  Goal accomplished.

My partners in crime.  #lifetimemiles got us through.
My athlete Becca took a video of me finishing.  I posted it on Instagram (@bethshutt), but I can't figure out how to extract the video to post here again (since it was a repost).  Too bad.  My stride looks pretty much exactly like Shalane's when she was winning NYC.  #ornotatall  :)

SO!  Then I came home and decided it was MOUNTAIN BIKE SEASON!!  Because I have a new mountain bike.  Her name is Cami.  We go on adventures together.  I talk to her.  She somehow gets me home alive every ride (through no skill of mine).  

Cami is purple.  #duh

This is the thing though: mountain biking scares the living s@##HI@#! out of me.  Think of the thing that is really hard and scary to you.  That's mountain biking for me.  For the most part, the trails in New England are rocky, full of roots, and, well, very technical for someone like me with very little skill.  Oh and narrow. The trails are narrow too.  Most rides have one of these challenging elements to them.  Some have all of them - rocky, rooty, narrow, crazy ups/downs.  Sometimes I want to cry when I ride on trails like that.  And I've really only ridden with people that have far superior skill.  And they make it look SO easy.  John does things on his bike that I can't even fathom.  Like wait, did you just somehow get your bike on top of that very high rock and then shoot straight down off the other side?  Yup, he sure did.

Here is where I say something really profound about fear and challenging yourself daily to do scary things; get outside of your comfort zone.  Or maybe here is where I say something about how the fear makes me feel ALIVE!  A little, maybe.  Really the fear just makes me feel...well, like I might cry.  :)  And sometimes I force myself to do the really scary thing that I don't want to do and I feel quite accomplished when I do it!  And sometimes I chicken out even when John is saying "you CAN do this", and I walk my bike down the hill or over the rocks without even trying.  And that makes me feel a little disappointed in myself.  MOSTLY I think I like riding mountain bikes because it is a huge challenge and I'm proud that I take it on, even when I don't rise to the challenge (annnnnd she's walking her bike again...).  The thing is, I'm pretty determined to get better at it and that usually means one thing...I'll use my true talent in life to get there: persistence.

In the mean time, if you are riding in the woods in New England and you hear someone yell "GO CAMI!", it's probably me.  Watch out because I don't really know how to maneuver around people well and chances are, I'll run right into you.  

So go out and do something scary today!  Even if you don't rise to the challenge and chicken out, there is always tomorrow.  :)
One of the best things about about mountain biking is, you can ride when it's really cold!  21 degrees this morning and I was quite toasty about 15 minutes in.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

It Was A Good Run

6 years ago I wrote a blog about my decision to race pro in triathlon the following year.  I re-read that blog not long ago and smiled.  I was so darn young and green.  And giddy with excitement.  I was SO FREAKING hungry to see just how fast I could go.  And now, 6 years later, I am happy to say, I really feel like I answered that question.  I chased my passion and did the very best I could.  And I am so, so thankful for the opportunity that I was given to do this.

6 years of racing pro triathlon.  It was a good run!  I met the most fantastic people.  I traveled to really cool places.  I laughed hysterically.  I cried probably just as much.  I saw the very rawest version of myself.  Racing gives you a front row view of that.  Sometimes I liked what I saw.  Other times, not so much.  Chasing a dream and having a passion is such a gift - it will give you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  I don't regret one second of it, even the bad decisions I made.  They always eventually turned to good.

At Ironman Louisville a few weeks back, I raced my last pro triathlon.  It was a fantastic end to a career I'm proud of.  Most of all, I am proud that I raced with integrity.

And now, I make the transition to life.  It's a transition I've already been making so it's not a huge jolt.  Although I was always worried I wouldn't know how/when to finish pro triathlon, it was actually much smoother than I thought.  I just knew it was time and I just knew what I wanted to do next in life.

I have just as much passion and competitiveness inside of me.  Now I channel it into different things: The Run Formula, which is my baby; family and friends; new athletic goals - mountain biking (Xterra?), trying to break 3 hours in the marathon, Pemi Loop with my boss, going after a sub 20 minute 1650 in the pool.  Oh and maybe watching a little tv, hanging out at my favorite place (The Villa - duh!), and sleeping in every now and then.  Life on the other side ain't bad at all.

Blogging doesn't seem like a thing people do anymore.  Maybe I'll do it anyway, because I'll have to share my pictures of my mountain biking bruises somewhere!  Or maybe I won't.  That's the thing about retirement - you do what you want, when you want to.  :)

Who doesn't love pizza and a coke after a 70.3?  My last, in Augusta, Georgia in September.

After IM Louisville, we did Louisville things.

One of my all time favorite races (why, I'm not sure - it's always miserably hot), Eagleman 70.3, this year.  With some of my favorite friends in the world that I've been racing with for ages.  :)

Okay, pizza and a coke after a race is great, but burger, fries and milkshake with Kim after a race - EVEN BETTER!  Chattanooga 70.3 in May.

Steelhead 70.3 in August.  Amber and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.  :)

These two.

Run Formula Vermont Trail Camp!  More of this fun to come!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Do people still blog?

Because apparently I don't.  At least not very often!  The other day one of those memories came up on Facebook and it was from what seemed like a lifetime ago (really only 4 or 5 years ago) and a comment was made "remember when Instagram and twitter and social media didn't really exist and we all just blogged instead?"  Right!  The good old days!  (but I do kinda like Instagram...)

ANYWAY, my blog was looking a little sad since I hadn't updated it for almost 4 months so I decided I'd write an entry.  I'm not ready to give up the good old days just yet, I suppose.

What has happened since I last raced, in Texas, in November?  Not that much.  Or maybe a lot?  That's what happens when you don't blog for 4 months - you forget what happened! So we'll let the pictures from my cell phone tell the story...  :)

On Christmas Day I went mountain biking with John.  It was warm and awesome and I didn't crash (badly).  WIN WIN!

For New Year's we went to Burlington, my first time in Vermont.  And we saw the world's tallest filing cabinet.  Because why not?  :)

I started training "for real" again some time in December or January.  I wasn't very fit.

I went to my first Bruins game!  With John, who is very suspect of selfies.

And I got a new race bike!  She's fast and furious and ready to roll, thanks to my bike mechanic/fitter extraordinaire!

Then I went to Florida for QT2 pro camp.  I got to ride my bike outside in the sun with awesome people.

I had a meltdown (or two) at camp.  I went in unfit and it was hard.  Like REALLY hard.

But there's only one way back to fitness and that's a painful, long road that involves a lot of hard work.  Thankfully I had awesome, fun teammates for 3 weeks to help with this process.

I had my best day of camp on the last day.  We swam long and hard and then ran 18x800.  I stopped thinking and just told myself to stick with Jennie.  So for 9 miles, that's what I did.  Somewhere along the way, I decided that I'm not done with this sport just yet.  It was an important decision.

Then I came home and it snowed in Massachusetts.  Not surprising.  But my fitness was way better than when I left.  Also, not surprising.

And THEN, this past weekend, The Run Formula had a Boston Marathon training camp!  I had a blast with these awesome campers.  They inspired me and made me laugh and they all crushed it.  I want to run the marathon now too.
And that pretty much brings us to the current!  Oh, I ran a half marathon in there somewhere too.  It went well.  I ran fast and then we turned into the wind and I ran slow.  All in all, just about right.  :)  First race of the season is Chattanooga 70.3!  I even went so far as to get plane tickets to TN so this is HAPPENING.  Blog report to follow.  Eventually...  :)