Saturday, July 26, 2014

Elephant

Where do I even begin……so much has happened over the last year and so much of it I just chose not to talk or write about.  I went rogue. Undercover. But it isn’t hard to figure out.  So let’s just talk about the elephant in the room and get that one out of the way.  Yes, my name has changed.  Yes, it is my maiden name.  Yes, divorce.  But to answer the inevitable next question – are you OK?  Is this a good thing?  YES.  I am fantastic and yes, this was a very good decision!  I am in an amazing place right now for so many reasons.  Let’s face it, divorce sucks ass.  And you certainly don't get married thinking you'll eventually divorce. But, I was looking for a better place for me, a happier place and that was not going to happen in my marriage. 

So I guess I’m ready to open up again.  (well I’m an introvert so don’t expect too much) But the last year plus has been cathartic.  It’s been a journey. I have learned tons about myself and the people aroiund me. It’s been incredibly difficult.  It has also been incredibly great. 

The top 10 list of biggest life stressors includes divorce, personal injury and moving.  And that has all happened over the last year for me.  2013 was my year of change (and it’s really no surprise that my ACL tear happened on December 30).  2014?  It’s the year of rebuilding.  Of growth.  Of change. Of being better.  Of healing and moving on.  Of recovering.

And so here I am.  On a flight to Geneva that I really didn’t think I would be on several months ago.  My knee is doing great and I’m off to ride the Alps with my sis and dad.  Then meet mom in Paris for a few days.  Yes, feeling blessed is one way to look at it.  Feeling lucky that I am able to do this right now?  Yes.  Feeling light-hearted and happy and healthy?  Yes.  2014 has been awesome so far.  And I know it will only get better.

So that’s it for now.  A challenge has been laid out for me (and we all know how I do with challenges…..).  Write everyday while on my bike adventure in the Alps.  I’ll post pictures and write about the riding.  The scenery.  The baguettes and camembert. 


And who knows, maybe I’ll even start posting regularly on my return:)  Baby steps…..

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Still....(IMAZ Race Report)

Over the moon!!!  IMAZ turned out to be the greatest race EVER!!!  Well, almost but I am still just giggling at how well the day went.

Prequel
If you've been following along on my journey this year, you have probably come to sense that I have struggled.  In many ways.  But racing was where I felt it most.  Which was such a disappointment to me since I was really counting on feel-good races to lift my spirits.  When that didn't happen, I seriously considered taking myself out of IMAZ.  All season I have had problems with my gut - but only during races.  Up to Vegas, I struggled with high heart rate and low power/pace.  It was sooooo odd.  I thought I was doing everything right but nothing got me to where I felt good and confident about my abilities.  I also had this weird breathing thing - alleriges/asthma maybe??

After Vegas though, I recommitted.  It was only 10 weeks to IMAZ and I figured I could give it a go.  Just really give it my best shot.  Commit to my training.  follow some strict heart rate rules.  And just a week out of Vegas, I had my first awesome run in what felt like 18 months.  But I was really tapered for that run and it was like 50 degrees out - cooler than it had been in months - so I figured it didn't really "count".  It did however give me a glimmer of hope.

The remaining weeks just kind of went like that.  I had a couple amazing training rides out east with my Pack.  These boys are awesome and let me hang on for dear life at 30mph.  One day we rode 90 miles in 4 hours!  Another, 100 miles in 4:45.  And that was my longest ride (which kinda worried me).  Then I just kept watching my run pace go down. And my heart rate go even lower.  I was starting to feel like the "old me".  Whatever that was.  But it sure felt good.  And so I started to be hopeful for IMAZ.  Everyone asked me.....are you trying to qualify for Kona?  And the honest answer was that wasn't my primary focus.  All I wanted was to put together a solid race from start to finish that I could feel good about.  And I also knew that if I could do this, a Kona slot could be a possibility.

The wolf pack snacking in Deer Trail
This was a different build than any of my previous IM's.  I missed workouts.  I cut some short.  My job(s) were keeping me very busy (kids, Wildtree, coaching).  I never even trained over 20 hours in a week - not intentionally just how it worked out.  I even miscalculated the date of the race (thought it was a week later)But things came together right on time.  And, I went into IMAZ fully rested (that's a first) and uninjured (WOW!!!).
PIC and I found many great places to put our feet up and relax pre-race.  So awesome.

Swim
Race morning went smooth!  I slept well and had only one weird Ironman anxiety dream (PIC took all my bottles and hid them.....strange, I know).  Breakfast I went with a bottle of Osmo Acute Recovery with almond milk and some coffee.  Love that stuff.  I also stuffed a hard boiled egg down my throat.  After emailing with Stacy at Osmo, I knew I didn't really need all that many calories to start but I did need a little something.  And this seemed to work!  No nausea but I was also not that stressed.  A bit nervous but really under control.  PIC and I just did our thing race morning.  Dropped bags, pumped tires, potty-ed, talked to coach - the whole pre-race thing.  Big hugs before the swim and then jumped in and went our separate ways (cue Journey).

So I lined up at the front thinking of my most awesome swim ever that was at IMAZ in 2010 - my first IM.  I remembered not getting touched at all at the start and finding open water right away.  The cannon went off and I immediately got clobbered.  Darn.  Of course, I was sprinting off the line and some people were trying to swim over my legs which I HATE.  And 2 minutes in I thought I was going to die.  But then I just realized it was because I was sprinting and needed some oxygen.  For a moment I thought I needed to do some backstroke but I talked myself off the panic ledge, relaxed and got my breath back.  It was pretty crowded for a bit but I finally found some open water and got into my stroke.  Funny thing is, I started in the middle thinking I'd stay there for awhile before drifting over.  But I'm pretty sure my body thinks there are magnetic target signs on the buoys because before long, I looked up and swam right into one.  And then I kept doing that!!!  I hit the buoys with my hand 3-4 times!!  Doh.

And that was my swim!  At the turnaround, I started counting the buoys (if I wasn't hitting them) and looking for the bridges.  I could hear the planes going overhead and thinking to myself that has to be a pretty cool sight from above.  There was a guy next to me that I kept pace with and a couple of pink caps in front of me.  So after my less than stellar start, I figured it was an OK swim.  Nothing speedy but not too bad.  I beached myself on the stairs (there has got to be a better way to get out of that water!!!) and some volunteers pulled me up.  I looked up at the clock and it said 8:30.  What?  If it's 8:30 then I swam 1:30?  No way.  But what did that mean?  I was so confused.  Immediately I heard Kristi yelling my name and headed to her for my wetsuit stripping.  Love her!!!  They had that thing off of me in no time and I was off to the changing tents!
Way to go finisherpix.....I'm in the pink cap!

(found out after the race I swam a 58!!  My only faster IM swim was AZ in 2010 with a 57 so I'm really happy with that!  2nd in age group out of the water and top 10 amateur women)

T1
I love the volunteers.  That is all.


Bike
Maybe I'll learn how to put my helmet on straight one of these days.

Big smiles from me as I headed out on my bike!!!  The volunteers and spectators really make a girl feel loved!  I had slathered on some sun screen so I took a couple minutes to get that rubbed in before getting serious in aero.  I saw Coach and he told me I was in 2nd so I had a bit of work to do.

Before the race, I figured I would take the bike conservatively.  You know, just a big warm-up for the marathon.  And that sounded good to me!!  Of course PIC and I had a talk the day before and she thought I could nail 5 hours.  I thought she had been drinking.  So on the bike, I started not too aggressively and only thinking about eating and drinking.  There seemed to be a bit of a headwind on the way out and I was kind of bummed but not surprised and I just ate and drank.  The way back was a nice little tailwind and some downhill where my little QR tamale just wanted to go fast.  So I did.  Weird thing was, I was sleepy.  Seriously.  my eyelids were heavy and I thought I needed some caffeine.  I also thought that it was going to be a seriously long ride if I couldn't wake up.  The cold water from the swim sometimes does this to me - makes me sleepy.

At some point, I passed the girl who was leading my age group.  And after the first loop, PIC appeared.  Ahhhh.....just what I needed.  Exchanged a few words and then I just decided to see if I could keep her in my sights.  This is what finally woke me up!!  A challenge!!  And I found I was pacing with her pretty well.  Of course, I thought she may not be having a good day if I was keeping with her (silly me - does she ever have a not good day???  I don't think so!!).  But she provided my motivation and inspiration from that point forward.  And I felt great.  No, I felt awesome.  My legs were in it - no soreness, no complaining - just strength.

A few words about this bike course.....yes, it is darn fast. And with 3 loops and 3000 athletes, it can get a bit crowded.  1st loop is awesome - no crowds, 2nd loop there are definitely some packs and lots of riders, 3rd loop?  Almost dangerous at times.  Too many athletes.  And going high speed is just a recipe for disaster.  I've heard next year will be 2 loops and I think that is a fabulous idea.

Any who, so I'm riding.  I'm eating.  I'm looking at my time and trying to do the math.  I kept coming up with 5 hours for the ride.  And I'm thinking - no way your math is f***ed up.  But on that 3rd lap, I kept riding strong and feeling good and happy.  My nutrition was great and I just had to pee.  And really, it was too crowded and too fast to coast and take care of business.  I come into town and had NO IDEA where I was at.  I didn't know PIC was a couple minutes ahead of me.  I had no idea I was 2nd amateur in off the bike.  I only knew I had biked my little heart out and it was time to see what I had for the run.

(5:02 for the bike. Seriously!  1st in my age group and 2nd amateur)

T2
I love the volunteers.  That is all.

Well, not all.  I stopped in the porta-potty before heading out and all of a sudden knew things were not quite right.  Oh dear.  (BTW, men.....any chance you can actually hit the bowl in the porta-potty?  I mean really.....it's a big hole how tough can it be?)

Run
I come out running and immediately see Mac from QR.  And he literally looks incredibly shocked to see me!  He said for me to go catch Sonja - and then I had a thought that I was in pretty good position.  All the spectators were yelling and it was amazing.  Coach was there saying I had a good 6 minute lead.  I had planned on taking the first 6 miles at an 8:30 pace.......no faster.  And I knew from my training runs that was absolutely possible if not a bit conservative.  But darn it if I didn't look down at my watch and see I was at a 7:45 pace.  Settle settle settle.......got through the crowds and tried to slow down.  First mile was a 7:58.  Oops.

Of course, my back was killing me but I expected this and knew that it would clear up in the first couple miles.  It did. But my tummy was not happy.  I had the "p's" going on.....pukey, poopey.  Not good.  I made it to the mile 4 porta-potty just in time and that was my first stop.  I hooked onto some guys shoulder (he wasn't too happy about that - whatever we weren't the same age group or GENDER) but I needed the pacer.  After mile 8 I had to take my first mini-walk.  And that's when I entered manage mode.  I'd run as long as I could until I thought I would pukepoop. Then I would walk and wait for things to settle and then run again.  And that's how the next 18 miles went.  I didn't look at my watch.  I saw PIC around this time and that gave me a bit of a boost.  Linsey Corbin told me I was one of the top amateurs and to keep eating and drinking.  On the way back she said "Go Sonja you look awesome"!!  At mile 17, coach told me I was still leading but only by 5 minutes.  I couldn't even tell him how lousy I felt - I just nodded and kept at it.  Mile 18 some awesome friends helped my through my next bout of nausea - telling my to suck the salt out of the pretzels and then spit it out.

At mile 21 I was passed by someone in my age group.  I was so miserable I didn't even care.  Now I was in 2nd place.  Mile 23 coach was there to cheer me up the hill.  I told him I was sick and he just said "I know kiddo".  But he hung around with me for another mile.  Then he told me to fight for it and mumbled something about 15 minutes.  At mile 25, Heidi showed up and yelled I was leading my age group.  I just wanted to say...no, someone passed me, your info is wrong.  But something in the back of my mind thought maybe she was right.  What if??????  I mean, she said she had the latest splits......what if ?????
Mile 25.  Ouch. 
Finally I rounded the corner and saw the street for the finish. My friends were there cheering and Sonja going crazy.

Pretty sure that expression says it all!

Oh glorious Ironman finish chute, how I've missed you!!!  I soaked it up.  I airplaned and touched hands with the spectators.  I looked up and saw my time and I couldn't believe the numbers looking back at me.  10:13!!!  So incredibly happy!
Joy!!!

Holy Quad!

PIC and I reunited (that's right, cue cheesy Reunited song) in the athlete area and she confirmed I was 1st in my age group and that she won amateur overall!!!  Duh, the gal that passed me was on her 1st lap!!  See how that race brain works (or doesn't)??!!

Results:
Swim 58:37
Bike 5:02
Run 4:04
Total: 10:13:51
1st age group, 7th amateur

***Oh yeah, I'm going back to Kona!!!!!!

Time for the most important part of this post........Thank You's (very appropriate for the day before Thanksgiving).  KompetitiveEdge, QR, Punk Rock Racing - the support you provide is just amazing. I really cannot begin to tell you how much your support means to me so a simple thank you will have to do.  Thank you Stacy at Osmo for your advice - I'm almost there!!  PIC - what can I say?  Another season under our belts.  It's no secret that I probably wouldn't be doing this without you:)  Can't wait for 2014!!  Coach - thanks for sticking with me through tough times. To my friends and family - love you all!  And to the supporters and friends out there on the course at IMAZ cheering for me.....Thank you!!  

And now it is time for off-season!!  I haven't done anything since Arizona but I have thought about it.  A light swim will be in my near future as well as a short jog.  My dog is so happy since she's getting walked 2x daily.  I'll be heading to XC Nationals in a couple of weeks to watch Charlotte compete.  And that's about it!!
Cheers!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegas Baby!!

Last weekend (that's how long I've been trying to write this!!) was the 70.3 World Champs in Vegas - a race that I qualified for last October in Austin.  At that time, it sounded like a great idea - of course, who wouldn't want to race in 110 degree heat with not a hint of humidity??  Actually, no.  I think anytime you qualify for a World Championship - you really ought to go and see how you measure up against the best.  So I signed up! Especially after missing last years Vegas race due to injury, I was excited!  That was last year.....

And this year has been such a strange race year for me - Sunday wasn't really any different except this time I was just ready to accept anything that came my way.  I had been sick in almost all of my races.  "Racing" just hasn't been in the cards.  So I came into Vegas with a pretty relaxed attitude and I was somewhat excited.  Whatever the day may bring.....I had been running for weeks in 90+ degree weather with varying levels of success (not).  But I've also been having some strange breathing issues - thinking maybe my allergies have gotten the best of me this year.  Or maybe I just forgot how to breathe.

PIC and I arrived into Vegas on Friday morning and it was already hot.  As expected.  After realizing that it has been YEARS since I've been to Vegas (did you know the slot machines no longer accept actual quarters????), we made our way to the race site.  Driving the course the car temp hit 109.  I am not kidding.  This meant a readjustment to the race plan.  Like I had a race plan.  Whatever.
Finish line silliness

The rest of the weekend was the typical pre-race stuff...sleeping, going to the M&M store in Vegas, pre-race warm-up but not in the icky waters of Lake Henderson, pre-race meal at Whole Paycheck.  And I actually had sherpa support at this race - Sonja's parents were out there (pictures courtesy of Eric - thanks) and my friends Lesa and Anita came out as well.  Still really relaxed at this point and slept really pretty well.
Getting the Tamale all ready for check-in (notice front tire not flat)

Probably the only time you'll see me jumping at a finish line


But the one thing I/we hadn't planned on was......rain.  I mean really - all week it had been predicted to be about 100 for the race.  Nothing about rain. In Vegas?  Yet Sunday morning we woke up to rain.  A nice, steady rain.  Enough to get you pretty wet in no time but not coming down hard enough to piss you off (well, me anyway).  Take the day for what it brings right??  And when it comes down to it, I'm pretty sure that I would prefer rain to 100 degree heat.

Even though I've done who knows how many races, this one had a lot of firsts in it for me!  Yay!!  Starting with the rain - haven't raced in the rain before.  The second first was having a flat tire in transition before the race start.  But I calmly got my bike through the puddles to the bike tech and they fixed it in no time.  Plus they were under a tent so I was "dry" for a couple of minutes.  Not a big deal, I was ready to go.

On the way to the race my tummy started its now "normal" pre-race, don't feed me don't put any liquid in or I just may give it back mode.  This has been status quo for my all my races this year and has really been a mild pain in the arse.  But I hadn't actually been sick before the race.  Until today.  Gawd, so gross.......my final porta-potty stop and it all just came up.  Into the urinal.  Not my finest moment and another first.  And totally gross.   But the good news is that I started feeling better!  I lined up for the start and right about the time I started to get cold from the rain, it was time to get in the water.
I"m the one in the orange cap.  No really, on the far right messing with my goggles:)

Funny thing about the swim start at Worlds...everyone is positioning at the front line.  And getting pretty aggressive about it.  Now, I figure I'm going to be top 10 and hopefully top 5 out of the water.  Yet, I'm getting elbowed and kicked before the gun has even sounded by way more than 10 women.  The gun finally sounded and we were off.  Then it's kind of a game of who's hanging in the swim?? Is it you right next to me that just hit me in the head?  Yep, I didn't think so......anyway, that's how the first part of the swim was.  The water was choppy and pitch black....I didn't like looking down - it was a big black abyss.  Once I started feeling comfortable is right when I started hitting traffic from the earlier waves.  On the way back in it was really choppy and really traffic-y.  But I spotted the bridge and just finished it up.
Just a little bit of water to deal with!

The run from the water to T1 was really long!!  And it was still raining and it was really slippery.  There were puddles of water everywhere and lots of slippery mud.  As I was making my way conseratively to my bike, an aggro 50-54 male comes charging around me and slips and falls right on his arse.  There ya go.  I found my bike, put on my wet helmet and wet shoes and tried to put on my wet and foggy sunglasses.  I wanted to leave them in transition but I have "special" eyes and have to wear them....
I could NOT see out of my sunglasses!

So the bike begins. Very wet.  But the temperature was very comfortable!!!  Now I just needed to remember to keep drinking since I wasn't hot, it was easy to slip my mind.  Let the climbing begin.  Funny thing was, when we hit the national park for the ride, the course we drove on Friday was NOT the right course.  Oops.  So it was a new ride with new scenery and new surprises.  The biggest surprise was that it was uber hilly. Up and down and not a flat to be seen.  But it was also straight and not too technical so I felt OK about getting some speed on the downhills.  Plus I love going fast on my QR - it is clearly meant for high speed!!!  I was eating and drinking but all of a sudden (after dropping my chain - doh!), my tummy started revolting again.  Grrrrr.....keep eating.  Keep drinking.  But I would get burpy and liquid kept coming up.  Of course, I didn't figure it out right away so I kept drinking.  And trying to eat.  And trying to tell myself that I would be A-OK on the run.  I knew this bike would be not my greatest effort and towards the end of the ride I felt a bit tired.  But coming into T2 and seeing my friends was just awesome.

Coming out of T2 (BTW, I just love it when your bike gets valet parked at worlds!!), my legs felt decent!  This was strange since it was the first. time. all. year. that my legs felt good and maybe even a bit springy.  My tummy was not rumbling and I thought for just a moment that maybe I can run this entire thing!!!!  Yea....not so fast hot stuff.  About 3/4 mile in the tummy took a turn for the worse and I was looking for a place to uh, pull over.  There were so many great cheering people on the course that I really didn't want to start puking on the spectators - a little dignity please?!  So I went into manage mode. Run when you can and for as long as you can.  I stopped at the aid stations but didn't take anything at first.

It got really bad the second lap, I got passed by lots of people.  Sonja passed me half-way through that lap - she was cruising!!!!  I yelled at her to go go go.  By the top of that hill, I started feeling better.  Just 1 more lap to go.  I ran the downhills as fast as I could trying to make up time now that I had a green light from my belly.  The last downhill I just kept going and thought of the finish line and my dear friends who were waiting for me (lots of love to Anita and Lesa for coming to watch).

Best race?  Nope.  Decent race?  Yes! I managed my tummy through the bad parts and kept talking positive to myself.  Since I had no expectations I really couldn't be disappointed.  And 13th at Worlds? I'll take it!!!

Best part of finishing?  That's right.  Time to partake in some Vegas fun!!  Well, not Sunday night.  Sonja and I talk a big game but by about 10:00 it was time to call it a night.  We did however do some good damage at the pool the next day.  Went to Zarkana that night, hit the blackjack tables to lose not that much money, and have a couple of cocktails:)  When in Vegas baby!

Of course, none of my racing adventures would be complete without thanking my sponsors and supporters!!!  Kompetitive Edge keeps me looking good and taking care of my bike.  I love just going in there and talking shop with the boys!  Quintana Roo - seriously love this bike.  It is so super fast and fits so well.  And Punky and Punk Rock Racing - well you are da bomb.  And it was great seeing you on course:)  My parents, PIC and her parents, my sis and my family and friends - you are all there when I need an ear or a smiling face.  Thank you!!!




Saturday, August 10, 2013

Boulder 70.3 Recap

Holy Moly - I DO have a blog!!!  Dang, I have spent all year neglecting this sucker:)!!  Oops!!  Well, I have yet another race report.  And it was my goal to put up a post in July that was un-race-related.....I figure a post a month is a decent goal right? Yep.  Couldn't quite find the time to sit quietly at my computer and purge some thoughts out of my brain.  So it's August!!  And I raced (or rather I tried to race) again!!

Before I head to the race report, let me report on this first.  It is AUGUST.  And I'm healthy (well, body at least)!  The last 3 years I have had some sort of injury come about during July.  And I would be lying if I said I didn't think about that all month long.  Any twitch, ache, pain, sniffle, sneeze, strange body noises, I figured, that's it.  Here comes the injury.  But no!!!  Nothing!!!  No stress fracture, no shingles, no weird abdominal pain, not even plantar fasciatis.  Can you believe it???  I can't!!  But, then again, that was my number 1 goal this year.  Get through it without any major injuries.  So far so good!!!

Boulder 70.3 - I'll make this one quick.  Last time I raced this was 2 years ago as I was recovering from shingles.  I had a decent race but then again I was all hopped up on steroids to treat the shingles.  Regardless, I had a problem with my stomach that day and ran out of gas on the run.  But I did run but ended up 3rd (I think).  It was a great race in that I was well enough to race!!  Shingles really suck and after that awful experience, a life-affirming race was just what I needed.

Last year I was supposed to race.  But, a wonderful stress fracture in my foot made that one impossible.  So I hobbled around the Rez cheering on my athletes, teamies and friends.  It was a bit hard doing that but I sucked it up (buttercup) and went and put myself and my boot out there.

This year, I had no idea what my race schedule would end up looking like so I just signed up in the event that I may be able to race.  And after Honu, I figured I'd give it a shot and see if I could get 6 weeks of decent training under my belt.  The training went fairly well although I was having a common theme of under-calorie-ing.  But I was determined for Boulder.  I wrote out my nutrition plan and had packed my bento box and run belt accordingly.  Trust me, I knew exactly what I needed to take.

Of course, race morning comes around and my tummy is a little upset.  Sometimes this happens but usually it settles down by the time the race starts.  Not today.  As I was waiting in that incredibly long line to park at the Rez, I felt just a little bit pukey.  Argh.  And the line threw me off my normal pre-race routine.  Not enough time for a couple port-a-potty stops.  

But I got my wetsuit on and prepared for the swim.  they did that funky self-seeded swim start which I was kind of cool with.  It meant I was with the first wave and I thought maybe I'd find some feet to swim with.  (I forgot how murky the Rez is and finding feet until you are right on top of them is what usually happens) Well, the pros went off and a few minutes later we went.

The swim start was different for me because although I started fast, I still had people with me at the first buoy.  And there was lots of traffic up to the first turn.  But after that, I found clear (murky) water and swimmers to the left and right of me to pace and steer off of.  It was great!!  I was even passing people the last 1/2 of the swim.

Onto the bike, I had no idea what my legs would bring me this day.  And honestly, starting out, I thought it was going to be a looooooong ride.  Athletes were passing me like I was standing still!!  My heart rate was waaaaayyyy too high and my power for that HR was not good.  So I just thought about settling down into my groove.  The HR came down 10 beats and the power went up - YAY!  I went to grab a snack out of my bento box and it came unfastened and I almost dropped it.  Darn.  Had to stop for maybe a minute to fix it.  But see - I was thinking about my nutrition.  I knew I had to start getting those calories down.  Tummy was OK with putting food in.  I was burpy and it was sloshy and I just hoped it would also settle down.  I also started passing people and that was good too.  I felt somewhat strong - YAY!

About 20 miles in, I found a friend (not) whom I will call Douche Bag DB.  You know the guy.....hates to be "chicked".  So he passes me back and then sits up.  Grrrrrr.  So after the appropriate amount of time (legal passing people) I passed him back. Not a minute later there he goes again.  And sits up and stops pedaling.  Really DB?  That's how we're playing this??  But on the right turn at about the halfway point, he dorked out and skidded out and hit the pavement.  Of course, this is a busy intersection and although I gave him plenty of room there was a car and a volunteer and dirt and I thought for sure I was going down too.  Thankfully, I managed to save that one and took off.  Never saw DB again.

Pretty uneventful remainder of ride except for the last 5 miles.  I was tired of my tummy.  And now I was worried about the run.  It should have settled by now and though I was conscious of putting calories down every 15 minutes.  I knew it wasn't enough.  F*%k.  So I sat up a bit and tried to figure out what I should do.  I cut all liquid/calories hoping that would do the trick.  But as I pulled into T2, I was pretty discouraged.

So, onto the run I go......just hoping really.  But my heart rate was high and I felt awful.  So I slowed down.  And then I walked up the first hill.  Then I hit the port-a-potty.  Then I thought I would puke.  In fact, I wanted to puke - since that might have helped my situation.  But no, no puking today.  And that is how the first lap went.  I tried coke.  It was too fizzy.  I tried the chews in my race bag.  Blecchh.  And at the end of the first lap I saw teamie Katy and called her over for a conference.  I was seriously considering a DNF I was so miserable.  We talked it out and I just decided.  Ah,,, what the heck.  Lap 2 couldn't possibly be as bad as lap 1 right?  Right!!!  It wasn't as bad!!  My tummy finally allowed coke and some calories.  So I was able to run a bit more.  Not much more but a bit.  I just decided that I wasn't going to be hard on myself.  I'm not gonna cry.  I'm not gonna sulk around.  Not sure what I could have done to have a different outcome but I'll keep trying.  So I smiled and talked to people and thanked the volunteers.  And about 2 hours after I started my "run" I finally crossed the finish line.

And I still made the podium - 4th I think.  Maybe 5th.  But they gave me the 4th place award:)

So there ya have it!!

What's up next???  How about a little SPRINT???  At Cherry Creek Rez!  Who has signed up for the Athleta Iron Girl Tri?  You should!  I'll be there trying not to blink (I don't want to miss the sprint).  But I think this will be FUN!  Come and join me!!  I believe there are still some spots left in the event.  It's Saturday, August 24th I think!  When was the last time I did a sprint?  Not sure so this will be entertaining!!  Maybe I can even nail my nutrition for the one:)



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Honu 70.3 Race Report

Well let's just get to the down and dirty business of writing a race report I'd rather not......in writing this I noticed lots of words that I wouldn't want my kiddos to read so I substituted!!!

I signed up for this race back in December with high hopes of a possible Kona slot.  At that point I knew it would be better for me to KQ (kona qualify) in a half rather than a full.  See, I'm not bomb-proof - Ironman training really takes its toll on me.  I love the distance and everything about it but I've had a hard time staying healthy in previous Ironman build-up training.  I hate to admit this but apparently I'm getting older.  It pucks writing that:)

And, since it's Hawaii - it's hot.  A good place to test my nutrition before hopefully heading back to try the full in October.  Of course, I had a back-up plan.  See, I signed up for Placid last year.  If I didn't qualify at Honu, I'd give Placid a go. More on that later.

Pre-Race
The days leading up to the race were incredibly chill.  My original lodging and travel plans had blown up a few months ago but a friend at my club (and swimming buddy) was going and had a  room in the house he was staying at next to the pier.  Not in Waikoloa but sounded pretty good to me!  I traveled out on Wednesday and met up with the other house guests that night.  The house is incredible....this was my view every morning for coffee.  The caretakers are the most incredible people - they took care of all of us, cooked for us, told stories about the island, and made me feel like I was right at home.  Awesome.
I could sit in that chair all.day.long.
Anyway, I was relaxed and confident leading up to the race although I had some nagging in the back of my head that my bike training was still not up to par.  My ocean swims were feeling spectacular and I was happy with my run.  The weather was also perfect on Friday!!  Could it be that we would have a relatively wind-free day on the Big Island?  Would we have a bit of cloud cover?  (optimism at its finest)  I knew the competition was going to be fierce but was ready to give it a go
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Hapuna Beach for the swim......could it get any better than this?

Race morning I was nervous.  What is this all about? Race breaky went down OK and all I can say is I'm really happy I have switched to green tea extract for my caffeine.  Coffee was a no-go.  On the drive out it initially appeared that there was NO wind.  Could it be???  Yea.  No.  Once we hit the heli-pad I could see the winds were a-blowing.  Kind of hard.  Ok, we all have to deal with the same conditions so I put a smile on my face and was looking forward to the bike and trying to stay aero with what promised to be difficult conditions.

Swim
This year, pros went off at 6:50, men at 6:53 and women at 7:00.  I liked this!!!  My goal before the swim was to find fast feet and hold on.  Several local girls were racing and I knew that they were much better spotters than me.  If I could get on some fast feet, I would have excellent pacing and also not have to sight as much. The canon went off and I was right next to Michelle S.  This was good, exactly where I wanted to be because I knew she was trying to hold onto a really fast girl.  Girls are so much nicer than boys.  I really liked the start - yes, we were aggressive with positioning but no one ever clawed at me or tried to take my legs down or clobber me in the head.  Great start.
I'm the one with the pink cap up near the front....see me??
The swim was essentially a big rectangle.  On the way down, it was protected in the bay.  Ham I felt good!! I lost my feet but hopped on another girls.  My breathing was bomber.  I was relaxed and strong.  All of a sudden we encountered a little bit of man-traffic and I popped my head up to see that we were already at the turn.  I was pretty sure I was in for a record-setting swim.  The way back takes you out of the protection of the bay and into some open water.  It was bit rough - every time I breathed to the left I got a mouthful of water and an eyeful of sun.  And, I had lost my feet, again.  Some girls had taken an inside line but I decided I wanted to be just bit closer on the inside of the buoys heading to the final turn.  These buoys were going by pretty fast too and I made a fantastic line to the turn!!!  Dang - nice relatively straight swmming me!!  At the turn though, the man-traffic was unbelievable.  Basically, we hit all the guys swimming in the 37-42 range.  That's a lot of men.  I had to stop completely and when I looked up all I could see was a sea of blue caps.  No clear water and it was really choppy.  Another pink cap was right next to me and we looked at each other and I said "holy stir-fry"!!!  She said something along the same lines and I started swimming trying to not run over these guys.  Of course, now the men were trying to take me down.  Pulling on my legs and sinking them.  Ugh.  I found a bit of clear water but noticed I was too far on the outside so I went in a bit.  Then I thought to myself..."self, keep your eyes open - you might see a Honu or something really cool below you".  sure enough, about a minute later and 20 feet down a HUGE manta ray swam beneath me.  It was the most unbelievably beautiful creature I had ever seen.  I didn't freak out, I just smiled and figured that was a good omen for the day since I was clearly having the swim of my life.

Leaving the water I was almost sorry the swim was over! Michelle was right next to me and we had a nice little chat up to T1.
Running out of the water with Michelle S. We were definitely not as serious as we look here!
Swim time: 30:37.  I thought for sure I was 27.  Not so.  I was 10th fastest woman (including pros) and only 5 minutes off the fastest men so I'm calling it a good swim.  Plus I saw a manta ray.  Awesome swim.

T1
It is a long haul up from the beach to the shower to the bikes.  But other than that, totally uneventful.

Bike
It was windy but I wanted to give this thing my all and see where the chips would fall.  I was happy, smiling and passing people.  We were supposed to stay on the inside of the white line since the road wasn't closed.  But there was a rumble strip so that made passing really interesing. I basically had to swing my bike out hard to the left in between strips but not sharp enough to go to the middle of the road.  Immediately I noticed that people (mainly men) were passing me on the uphills and I was re-passing on the downhills.  Ummmm......I'm on the smaller side so that scenario should actually be quite the opposite.  But not today....and that nagging little fear in my head became a bit louder.  You are not fit enough for this bike.  Shut up HEAD.  I managed to stay in aero even with the crosses and felt strong that way.  I just didn't feel strong climbing.  And the winds were brutal.  And this course pretty much climbs both ways (there may have been snow in addition to the incredible heat and wind).
Climbing out of T1
The eventual winner of my age group passed me like I was standing still (maybe even going backwards a bit) at only 46 minutes into the ride.  Are you fluffing kidding me?  That voice in my head got a bit louder.  You are NOT fit enough for this bike.  SHUT THE *FUN* UP HEAD.  I put my head down and tried to be positive......it's not over till it's over.  Anything can happen.  Anything is possible.  My nutrition was not working as I'd hoped - my tummy was just being cranky but I tried stuffing as much in as I could.  At least I was on top of my hydration.

At the turnaround in Hawi, I picked up a water bottle and doused myself.  The only problem with that, is the water I put on my head eventually made its way into my eyes.  With all the salt and sun screen.  Ouch.  Plus I was on the downhill and my eyes were tearing up anyways - everything was a bit blurry.  Ouch.  And then there was a fudgsicle semi truck coming right towards me as I'm going about 40mph.  rumble strip and riders to my right.  Oh dear.  I held on for dear life and that truck was, no joke, 3 feet on my left.  I made it through but that scared me.

Some ladies were passing me and I noticed the same thing.  I was just getting dropped on the uphills.  The head wind was fierce.  And it was getting hot.  At 2:20 in I calculated my calories and I was maybe at 500.  Oops.  When I took drinks of water, I'd burp and it would come back up and out.  Not good.  My shorts were white with salt (as was everyone else's).  I was watching my watch and my watts and realized that my first 58 miles at IM Kona the previous two years were going to be faster than my 56 miles today.  Bratty voice in head:  You are NOT FIT.

Ride time: 2:51.  I think I was sitting in 4th coming off bike.

T2
Off my bike.  Found my bag.  Sat down and got my shoes on.  Put my race belt on and the number was hanging down.  Dang....need to fix that.  So I walked out and got it fixed.

Run
Clearly I was in a calorie deficit.  Clearly I was already feeling defeated.  And it was flipping hot.  Not only is the bike course legit......this run course is no walk on the golf course.  It takes you on the golf course where you feel like you are in a steam room with the humidity coming off the grass.  It takes you on the golf cart path which is incredibly turny with quick and steep ups and downs.  Really hard to get a rythym . And then there are a couple of out and backs on the asphalt where you feel like you are running in an oven next to the lava.

I couldn't even make it to the first aid station without stopping.  Sinkhole beotch in head:  You shouldn't be here. You are not fit.  And I couldn't help but listen to her now.  I started making deals.....just run to the aid station and then walk through. Just run to the next turn.  Just try to run.  I had lost my fight.  Every aid station water over the head, in my mouth.  Ice down my bra and shorts.  coke in my mouth. Burp up said coke.  Try again.  And another woman from my age group passed me.  And another.  Evil sinkhole beotch in head:  You should just drop out.  Me:  No farting way.

So I had just a little bit of fight left.  I ran to each aid station and made little goals along the way.  Just run up this hill - aid station is on the other side.  Just 2 miles left.  You can do this.  1 mile left.  Come on.  A quarter mile left.......and all of a sudden you can see the ocean and the finish line and it is the most spectacular view ever.  Over the bridge and finish.
Managed a semi-smile and a shaka:)

Run time.  I'm not even going there.
Finish time:  slowest half ironman ever.
That wasn't my time and I look pretty miserable (I was)  but check out the sweet finish line!!

After
The volunteers were, of course, amazing.  I was light-headed and so a couple of guys helped me out - poured water on my head and laid me down and put my feet up.  A few tears later I was OK to move on.

Best part of this race?? The after party!! Tough to feel bad when you are drinking Longboards next to the ocean and talking to friends. So it wasn't my day.  Shlitz happens.  I just wish I hadn't traveled so far for this performance:)  But then again, I traveled far and was in Hawaii!

Placid?  Ummmm.  No.  there will be no more attempts at KQ for me this year.  There is too much stuff going on in my life right now for me to even think about Ironman training (maybe an upcoming post on this but don't count on it).  My focus now will be to just get through the next couple of months and to try to build my fitness to where I can consider "racing" Boulder 70.3 and hopefully get my stuff together to compete in Vegas.  There will still be an Ironman though.....Arizona is still in the cards.

And I disappointed?  Yes and no.  This is just what its going to be right now.  I'll take a deep breath every morning, put a smile on my face and remember this view:)