Monday, September 20, 2010

Alexa vs. Syracuse 70.3

Just a little spoiler - Syracuse 70.3 won the face-off.

Saturday morning I had a carbo load pancake breakfast at IHOP with Solveig, Mary, her son Luc, and a new team member - Tim. I went home and packed up all my stuff and was on the road to Syracuse at around 11 am. First stop was the Holiday Inn in Liverpool to pick up my packet and hit up the expo. I finally bought the Ironman backpack that I have wanted since seeing it at Placid! I also bought an Mdot winter hat, a Syracuse 70.3 sticker for my car, a water bottle (I have a thing with collect bike bottles) and a Syracuse 70.3 long sleeved shirt since I did not like the generic tech shirt we got for registering. Then I drove down to Jamesville Beach Reservoir to rack my bike for the next morning. Then I headed over to Adam's, where there might have been some couch napping before we went to Mike C.'s for a great team dinner!

I met Amelia and Kelly C. at dinner and they are both awesome!

I was exhausted so we went to bed but I did not get as much sleep as I should have due to my own stupidity.

Up at 4:30, showered, made my nutrition, ate my breakfast, and hit the road at 5-ish. Good thing too because there was MAJOR congestion getting into the park (not so much when I got there, but they ended up pushing the start time back 15 minutes because people were still trying to get into the park). Amelia showed up and exclaimed "I left all of my nutrition in Kelly's fridge!" So I had a bottle of Gatorade that I gave her, and the girl across from me had an extra water bottle. So we hooked her up! (At least until the first bottle exchange). It was kind of rainy in transition but the air temperature was warmer than I expected. However, the water temp. was a lovely 62 degrees. Oh boy!

I ran into my friends Mary and Will (sister and brother) who do triathlon and came to spectate. I have not seen much of them this year so it was nice to catch up!

I got in the water just to get the shock over with. I peed in my wetsuit several times to try to warm up! :) Even though the race started 15 mins late, they managed to send the swim waves out a little more quickly than planned and my wave went off right as scheduled at 7:48 am!

The swim was cold. In the first few minutes I was feeling pretty good and then somehow I started thinking about sharting (not doing it, it just crossed my mind) and I was GIGGLING while trying to swim. Bad. So I had to force myself to think of other things. Then I got stuck between 2 other women swimming in my wave. I mean right in between them. I tried speeding up, slowing down, swimming crookedly, nothing worked. I could not get out from in between them and it was nerve wracking. Finally I lost one of them going around a turn buoy but the other one was there on my inside for the rest of the swim. I definitely swam wide. On the way back to shore I was struggling. I was swallowing water and my arms were tired. I just wanted to be DONE. My swim time was at least 2 mins slower than what it should have been.
Swim: 36:02

I had a wetsuit stripper which was nice. The run to transition was LONG. I opted to not use my armwarmers which was a good choice. The run out of transition with my bike was LONG.
T1: 3:21

The bike ride was wet. Rain, spray from wheels in front of me, and fog were all contributing factors. Lots of fog - especially at the top of the hills. Oh, did I mention that I was wearing sunglasses with the dark lenses in? Oops. My visibility was not good during the bike. During the first 20 miles I felt pretty good. I spun up Sweet Rd. easily. I passed Kelly C. on Sweet along with a girl (I think it was her) that I met at dinner the night before. I saw Jason W. and Ultra Adam spectating at an intersection partway up the hill. I also passed Jeremy somewhere in there as well. I actually passed a LOT of folks climbing that hill. After about an hour of riding though, I was ready to be done. Good thing I didn't have a cell phone because I might have pulled the "hey come get me" trick. Yikes! The rest of the ride was uneventful, but hard. I saw a guy drop his chain and then somehow get it back on his derailleur without stopping. That's a neat trick that I must learn how to do! I just kept spinning my legs up the seemingly endless hills. I could NOT pee on the bike for the life of me until like 10 miles from the end. I can't pee unless I'm on a downhill and there wasn't a good one until that far into the ride! At that point, I really had to go so I let 'er rip. Gross and hilarious. I finally got back into transition frustrated and ready to be DONE. My legs were KILLING me as I ran into transition with my bike and I knew the run was going to hurt.
Bike: 2:57:13 - 18.96 mph
T2: 1:51

Running through an aid station to be greeted by Eddy & Adam
The run was horrible. The website said "net downhill" but somehow, net downhill must equal mostly uphill. Everyone I talked to felt that way. Driving back to the race site afterwards there were some big downhills towards the beginning of the run but I did NOT notice them while I was running. It also went right down Erie Blvd. in Syracuse which is a major road with tons of traffic. I thought it would be interesting but turns out, it's not. It just kept going and going and going. I ran the first 3 miles or so at 8:30 pace and I was running with Becky Ashare who I know from some other races, but she was going too fast for me so I let her go. I also had to make 2 porta-potty stops to avoid something disastrous from happening. Then, I just couldn't pick up my pace. Every time I looked at my Garmin it said 9:15 min/mile. I couldn't budge it so I said f- it and just made it my goal to finish. My off-season was at the finish line. That is what got me through the run. I saw Eddy and Adam cheering on Erie Blvd. Ken caught me somewhere between miles 11 and 12 and that saved me. He was having a much better race than I was but by that point, everyone hurts. We ran together to the finish! I got my finisher's medal and found some teammates. I changed, ate, sat around chatting, drank some of Eddy's single malt scotch (WHAT?!) and then Adam took me back to transition so I could get my gear and my car.
Run: 1:58:00 - 9:00 min/mile

Total time: 5:36:27 - 20th AG

finished! um.. am I on crack here?

I have to say that the porta-potties at this race were REALLY NICE! They were carpeted. They had hanging things of potpourri or something to make it smell less nasty. They were decorated with a triathlon theme! Way to go porta-potty company!

Today, I am sore. And I am exhausted. I didn't go to bed until 11:15 pm and I could have gone to bed at 8 pm because that's how tired I was. I didn't leave Adam's til after 9 and it was a looooong drive home!

I want to take a minute to congratulate everyone for a great race yesterday! It would take too long to list everyone! I am especially proud of Amelia for racing a 5:19! That is a HUGE HUGE PR for her and I totally know how good that feels! She barely missed a Clearwater spot which sucks but I'm sure there is one in her future! :)

And THANK YOU to everyone who cheered for me! Other athletes, specators, and friends.. you have no idea how much it means to me and how much it can turn a bad moment into a good one when people cheer. It's just awesome! :)

So here is my analysis of my race. I'm sure Mary can provide me with some insight. I am both ambivalent and unhappy with how my race went. Is that weird? I knew going into the race that it was a season closer for me. I know I have been tired and unmotivated since the Ironman. I know that I haven't been running well at ALL and that I have been skipping at least one workout per week (usually a swim) and that is not normal for me at all. So I knew ahead of time to not expect a PR or even a great performance from myself.

Even knowing all that, I was still disappointed that I did not have a better race. I should have raced better than I did despite not going into the race fresh. I should have at least gone under 5:30. And it's my own fault that I did not! I did not execute well. I had a shitty swim - my fault because I have been skipping swims. My bike split was ok but this is where I totally ruined my chances at even a decent race. I was hell-bent on getting my bike split under 3 hours. In my brain the thought "you did Tinman in 5:16, you HAVE to bike under 3 hours" kept repeating itself. The bike course is not a fast one - at least for me. The first 20 miles I like, but then there is just a lot of gradual climbing with no downhill and I can't ride it well. If I had just sloooowed it down a bit, I think I would have had a better (at least less painful) run. Matt Kellman's wife Karin finished 2 minutes faster than me. Her bike split was slower than mine but she threw down an awesome run time. Better execution? Yes. Much, much better than what I did. I KNEW on the bike when my legs were killing me that I was screwed. Once I dismounted in transition and tried to run with my bike, I was like "ohhhhh f--."

So I had one GREAT half-IM this year, and one not so great one. Hopefully I will learn from my mistakes!

WELCOME TO OFF-SEASON! 2 weeks of absolutely NOTHING has begun!


  1. Great report Alexa! You've put in an amazing season that you should be proud of! I dream of a 5:16 Half Iron time and you pulled it out girl! Not to mention you did IMLP THEN got back on the horse for a Half Iron. Impressive! After IMLP last year I was a so DONE! My body and my head would not have let me do a half iron! I know you hammered the bike but it's a strange course. Harder than I thought it would be. I took it TOO easy on the bike and ran a PR half marathon (even as a stand alone event). So do you think we should have met somewhere in the middle? Finding that balanced place is not easy (at least not for me)! It's like hitting a moving target b/c there are so many variables! We are learning at each race! Stand proud of your awesome season! You rock! ~Karin Kellman

  2. GREAT JOB! You are really awesome and I would love to be this good one day ...

    Hey, take two weeks off!

  3. Alexa, an awesome job on a tough day! You've had one hell of a great season! Enjoy the rest!! You've earned it!!!!!!!

  4. You were Kicking Butt on the Bike!! You passed me on Sweet Road and I recognized you and said Go Alexa!!! You rock! Congrats on your Awesome Finish!

  5. I hate when a race doesn't go as well as I wanted it to. But you did awesome, I mean, any race you drink Scotch after has to be considered a good one. (My stomach just rolled at the thought of drinking Scotch after a 70.3)

    Enjoy your off season!

  6. Sounded like an uber tough couse and you did what your body could do. Congrats on finishing another one!

    If you drop your chain and you are in your small ring up front, you can (usually) shift up to your big ring and it will catch the chain and put it back on.

    Your picture is hilarious! Post race daze?

    Enjoy the offseason! I hear lots of beer and ice cream speed up the recovery process. I read it on the interwebz so it has to be true. ;)

  7. Quit your whining already, open up another Snicker's and have another go at it next year.

    Seriously—congratulations on yet another one in the books!

  8. Congrats on a completed race! ;) No really, you had a great season, now rest've got a couple of small races next year.

  9. Congrats on your race and awesome season! They can't all go perfect, then the ones that did wouldn't be as enjoyable, right?

    BTW, to get your chain to go back on while riding - shift from big chain-ring to small, or small chain-ring to big (whichever you are not in at the time) and the chain will go back on. Unless you're off on the same side (I think) as the derailer will be moving your chain - but it works most of the time. :)

    Enjoy the off-season. Ben and Jerry's fish food works well for disappointing races for me! ;)

  10. great report! enjoyed hearing about the course, as I've spent some time in Syr (although visiting family not training). we're always hard on ourselves, but it sounds like you did what your body could, and had quite the respectable finish :) enjoy some downtime!

  11. nice race Alexa.

    dont be too hard on yourself....though it is important to make an honest review--that is how we improve!!

    nice work!


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