Helloooooo!  It’s been all quiet here on the blog front as my winter break ended and it was time to get back to work for the spring semester.  But now we’re a couple days back into the swing of things and it’s starting to settle down.

And now for some ramblings…

Marathon training

With only 8 weeks to the DC marathon, training is going well.  This past week was my 14 miler, which actually felt good!  I finally got my hands on the new GU Peanut Butter gels to try them out (and one of their old classics – chocolate).  I’ve never been a fan of gels because the texture always creeped me out, but I’m a huge peanut butter addict (well, former, since I discovered this homemade almond butter from OSG – holy crap, I have to make a double batch every week, it’s better than peanut butter!), so I figured I’d give these a shot.  Plus, the texture of a gel isn’t too far off from regular peanut butter anyway – I think the thing that bothered me had something to do with fruity flavors in a gel.  It just didn’t seem right to me.

The verdict:

The chocolate is amazing – just like chocolate frosting!  Definitely a winner.  I had heard this from Chelsea, but hadn’t yet tried it myself.

The peanut butter is quite good!  It’s not exactly like peanut butter – more like honey and peanut butter mixed together (the exact description both my husband and I came to separately), but it’s yummy.  I could see using that and the chocolate in the future.

As for the No Meat Athlete training group – I haven’t been taking advantage of the group discussions too much yet, but I intend to do so more in the next few weeks.  Matt’s emails have been a nice reminder of what I should be focusing on and roughly where I should be in my training.  I like to make my own training plans (excel geek here) but it’s good to see that I’m running similar distances as others in the group for my long runs.  Coming up is our live chat which should be entertaining and informative.  But what I’m most looking forward to is just having a group on race day.  Even though we won’t all be running together, it will be great to have dinner together the night before, and gather the morning of, etc.  I’ve never run with a group (aside from the workforce challenge, which doesn’t count) at an event before, so this should be a lot of fun.

On the ironman side of things…

I’ve been continuing to include biking and swimming every week to build up my endurance in those events, practice my form, and use it as crosstraining for the marathon.

Things are going well.  I’m loving being in the pool, even though it’s frustrating when the lanes are crowded (the other day was a nightmare).  My form is improving, and I feel like I’m making progress, so we’ll see.

The bike still continues to kick my butt.  But it’s nice to get on the trainer (I ended up with a CycleOps Mag+), pop in a Friends DVD and just get my legs moving for an hour or two.

After much thought and research (which, admittedly, I could have done a better job of beforehand, but live and learn…) I decided to defer my HITS entry to the 2013 race season

But wait for it…

Not because I don’t want to do the iron distance this year.

I just want to do a different (more established) one.

Like many others, I think the HITS races have a ton of potential, but this is their first year, and the field for the long course races (half iron and full iron distance) is extremely small – the Naples full iron distance race only had 20 people a few weeks ago.  Since this is going to be my first iron distance race, I really want it to be a great experience.  And while I don’t mind being pretty much by myself out on the course, I want to come in to a great finish line – not just a couple people standing there.

So I signed up for the Beach2Battleship race in Wilmington, NC on October 20th.  It’s a great, well-established race, and I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it.

As for HITS, I’ll do either the Naples or Cooperstown race in 2013 – probably Naples since it’s in January and I want to do the Lake Placid Ironman in July (the day before my 30th birthday!).  Cooperstown is in September, which will be too soon after Lake Placid to really be recovered.  But we’ll see.  I definitely want to support HITS because I think it would be great to get another organization out there putting on the long course events.  And they have the potential to put on a good one.  It’s just going to take some time to get their momentum going.

So it looks like the plan for the next year(ish) is:

March 17th – DC Rock n Roll Marathon

June – September – some local tris (2 olympics and a half iron), training with my local tri club, and volunteering as a bike course marshal at Ironman Lake Placid

October 20th – Beach2Battleship full iron

January 2013 – HITS Naples full iron (my parents live not far from there and we were planning on being in the area anyway for the holidays)

July 21, 2013 – Ironman Lake Placid

After that, sleep.

Speaking of which, I need to get to sleep so I can get to the pool in the morning!  After witnessing a head-on collision in my lane the other day (after work, very crowded, people not paying attention and/or following standard pool etiquette), I don’t want to swim in the afternoon again.  Yikes.