Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ironman Coeur D'Alene Race Report


I got up at 4:00 am, showered (I like to at least start the day clean), ate my pre-race meal of whey protein, banana, Ironman Perform, and 2 fig newtons, got dressed, and was walking to transition by 4:15 am. Arrived in transition between 4:45 and 5 am (it's a long walk). Dropped my special needs bags off at the trucks and got body marked. I got to my bike to re-tape on my tubular (my dad and I had determined a better way to tape it after I had already left it the day before), put air in my tires, and put the nutrition on my bike. As I was wheeling it back to my spot, I noticed that my computer wasn't working. Since I do not use my Garmin on the bike (not enough battery life for both the bike and the run) this was not good. I KNOW it was working the day before because I checked it. I removed the computer and took it up to the techs at the front of transition. They were able to replace the battery and told me not to worry about paying for it because I'm pretty sure they took it from a "used parts" box (they were out of new ones). I was just so happy that they were helping me that I didn't care. I put the computer on, checked to see that it was working. Golden.

I distributed the rest of my stuff to my gear bags (like nutrition), dropped off my dry clothes bag, hit the porta-potty, and made my way down to the beach. There were people EVERYWHERE. It's not like Placid where athletes can walk through "swim in" and there is no one else in there. Literally thousands of people are cramming their way through to the beach. I finally made my way to the water and they weren't letting us swim, so I just got in really shallow and laid down so that I could get used to the temperature. It was FREEZING but thankfully, the wind had died down from the previous days so the water was nice and flat.


**Disclaimer - If you are scared of the Ironman swim or if your name is Deb Ozarko, you may want to skip this section.

I started in the middle towards the front. I had no idea where to seed myself so I just picked a spot by a bunch of other women. The gun went off and we were rushing into the water. The first 10 minutes of this swim were hands down the scariest experience of my life. I was getting punched, kicked, feet and hands were EVERYWHERE, and the water was icy cold. I felt like I couldn't move forward or sideways but I also couldn't stop because of the stampede of people behind me. I swam with my head out of the water, gasping for air, for the first 10 minutes. If there had been kayak access, I would have grabbed one and bailed on the race, but because you are completed trapped by people, there was no possibility of that. Eventually it thinned out enough to actually swim rather than just thrash. My heart rate finally calmed down and I could breathe normally again. Sometimes I would have a nice bubble of space and then other time I would have people all around me. I never really felt comfortable. Going around the buoys was scary and it was hard to sight because it was SO bright out. At one point I got a BIG kick right to the gut which REALLY hurt. I was also burping a LOT during the swim, which is something that has NEVER happened to me before. This subsided after the first loop. Maybe I just swallowed a lot of water during the crazy start?

I made it back to the beach in 36 minutes, which is about what I expected (especially with the slow start) and as I was getting out of the water to run across the mat, the announcer said "this is the average Ironman swim time right here." Is that why it was such a clusterf--- out there? I felt a little drunk at this point (probably due to the panic and the cold mixed together) but got right back in and started swimming. There were still people EVERYWHERE. At about the 45 minute mark, my arms and hands started to get REALLY cold. Like heavy, freezing cold, arms of steel. I tried to ignore it and pick up the pace to a) make up time and b) warm up a little. Made it out of the water a little slower than I had hope for (I was generally aiming for about a 1:12 swim because I knew it would be slower than my 1:07 speedy Placid swim due to the differences in the venue) but was ok with my swim time and was happy to be out of the cold water, alive, and black-eye free!

Swim: 1:15:08, 1:58/100 m, 24 AG, 719 OA


Ran (on numb feet) into the changing tent after grabbing my Swim/Bike bag. It was more full than when I did this in LP because my swim time was 7 minutes slower. I sat down and a volunteer started helping me empty out my bag. A woman sat next to me, noticed my Train-This uniform, and went "are you coached by Mary?" YES! How do people in freaking Coeur D'Alene know Mary Eggers!! Craziness. We got my socks, shoes, helmet, armwarmers on, grabbed my salt pills and race number belt, and I was out of there. Grabbed my bike, mounted, and I was off!

T1: 6:51


The first thing I noticed was that I was cold. Ass cold. Like I was shaking and shivering. Luckily, this only lasted for maybe 10 minutes. I rode through town, waved at my parents, and got going on the small out and back section that runs along Lake Coeur D'Alene. This section is mostly flat, but is windy, and has 1 big climb on the way to the turn around (that you later run up and over). I peed on this section (I had to pee so bad that I felt like I was going to burst) and tried to just take it easy and spin up anything that resembled an incline. It was at this point that I realized that my bike computer had stopped working 5 miles in, so I was riding by feel with only a wristwatch showing the time of day, my running time for the race, and a 15 minute countdown timer for a drinking reminder. Oh boy.

I didn't care at all that I couldn't see my speed because really, how was that going to affect me (other than maybe showing how the average speed drops once you hit the hills in Hayden, and who needs to see that??) but I was a little annoyed that I would only know the mileage at the 10 mile markers. I was mostly upset that I had lost my running "bike time" which is what I use to eat every 45 minutes. So.. I had to improvise. I knew that I got out of the water at 8:15. I estimated a 5 minute transition which put me on the bike at 8:20. I started eating 15 minutes later (8:35). So I just went by an 8:30 start and figured out 45 minute intervals based on that. When my watch would beep, I would check to see that it was 5 minutes after the correct interval and then I would eat if I was right. A little more to keep track of but it worked just fine. I ate 3 shot blocks every 45 minutes, drank every 15 minutes, and ate salt tabs willy nilly.

I started getting hot at about 1/3 of the way in, so I stopped on the side of the road to take my arm warmers off. I thought that this was a better decision than to risk trying to remove them while riding and crashing. The hills around Hayden Lake were super fun the first time around. I was having a blast, interacting with other people on the course, spinning up the uphills, passing lots of dudes with my hill spinning prowess, and then zipping down the curvy downhills! I was making sure to take it super easy. Every time I felt that I could spin a faster cadence, I downshifted. I ended up passing Adam from QT2 once we were heading away from Hayden Lake. He passed me back maybe an hour and a half later. I made it through loop 1 in ~3:10 (I had to guesstimate because I had no running bike time) which I was very happy with. I felt like I was riding reserved but had held a good, reproducible pace.

I waved at my parents and at Alan Hayter's daughter Christina as I went through town. I was smiling and having a ton of fun. I peed again on the small out and back by Lake Coeur D'Alene. I felt REALLY good until about mile 70 when we hit Hayden Lake hills take 2. I continued to spin up these hills but it was definitely taking more effort and I was noticing myself staying in the small chainring more of the time than in the first loop. I dropped my chain at one point in here and had to stop and put it back on - stupid loss of time for me. I had a pretty low point between miles 70 and 85, but then I started to feel better. The hills on this course are different than Lake Placid. They are steep and not as long, but they are definitely not easy. Once I hit mile 85 I perked up a a bit. I kept telling myself that I was strong, that I wanted to be there, and to keep spinning, and it worked. I had been getting passed by men for the entire ride (I was easily passed by 500 people I think) but I never chased anyone down - I just let them all go by me.

There were literally 4 times where I almost crashed and none were my fault. There was a surprising amount of drafting going on - huge packs of people were going by me. I just kept to the right and took it easy, letting them pass me. I had a basketball roll out in front of me, a bottle of Powerbar Perform slip out of someone's hands and go right under my front wheel, a girl almost step off the sidewalk in front of me (I yelled at her to watch out!) and the worst one, a woman who was being a complete jackass passed me, cut me off (there was DEFINITELY not room for her in between me and the guy in front of me, and I did not have time after she made the pass to even drop out of the draft zone) and clipped the rear wheel of the guy in front of her. He wobble but stayed up and she went crashing down, and slid towards the side of the road. Luckily I managed to get around her (this happened maybe 5 feet in front of me). Someone asked if she was ok and she said yes, so I went ahead to the next aid station which was a minute or 2 away and alerted them that someone had crashed so they could radio for a mobile unit to go make sure she was really ok.

I made it back into town feeling really good, strong, and confident that I had ridden intelligently. I had stayed on top of my shot blocks, and I drank (I think) 4 bottles of Ironman Perform. At about mile 70 I noticed my gut getting really bloaty and I had developed some central back pain (located where I think my kidneys are??). This concerned me a bit but I didn't know what to do about it so I just kept spinning my legs and tried to stretch my back out. I'm sure that this did not help my mental blackout at this time. This had reduced a bit once I got past the hills and was riding the flat parts back into town, so I'm not sure what caused it.

My bike time was a bit slow, (10 mins slower than IMLP) and once I saw that, I basically knew that unless God himself reached down and put his shoes on my feet, that I wasn't going to go sub-12. I think that it is going to take a perfect day, with perfect execution, for me to go sub-12. So I am still chasing that dream. However, I did not let myself get upset and I did not let my day go. I had come to Idaho with the goal of running a good, strong marathon and that was still possible. I felt strong coming off the bike and I wanted to see if I could execute the run that I KNOW I am capable of running and that I have been training for.

Bike: 6:32:13, 17.13 mph, 25 AG, 1090 OA


I handed my bike to a volunteer, grabbed my bag and ran into the tent. People were commenting that I was still running! I whipped off my shoes and socks, put on clean socks and my running sneakers, turned on my Garmin, and opted to not wear the HRM due to the bloaty feeling and some back and ribcage pain. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses, and plastic ziplock baggie of nutrition (this was a GENIUS idea) and was out of there.

T2: 2:40


(FYI: The run course got changed this year; you have to run up and OVER the big hill, down the other side, and then back up a smaller hill before you hit the turnaround. The smaller out and back portion from previous years was eliminated and this is how they made up the mileage).

The first mile felt a little rough but once my Garmin located, it said that I was running under 9 minute pace. I tried to slow it down. My goal was to run at 9 minute pace initially and then accounting for fade, wind up with a 9:15 pace on average. I know this is a lofty goal but I KNOW I can execute it.

I saw Rob from QT2 (who I sat with at breakfast and then continued to run into on Sunday morning in porta-potty lines, etc.) as I was making the corner onto the long out and back. He was looking great and really strong. He yelled "you look great babygirl" which I thought was absolutely hilarious! He was super awesome! If anyone from QT2 is reading this and knows how to get ahold of him via email, I would LOVE his email address!

The first 8 miles went well. I had a bit of cramping at the beginning but that went away. The bloaty feeling never left; I just kind of accepted it and forgot about it. I was running through aid stations, hitting the Ironman Perform without stopping, and dumping water on my head because it was pretty warm out. I was eating 1 shot block every 2 miles and continued this for the entire run even though I'd rather eat a dead worm right now than another shot block. My Garmin told me that I was averaging a 9:10 pace and I didn't really want to push it because I felt like I was running strong, but comfortable. A marathon is a long race no matter how you look at it. I had pretty much let any time goal fly out the window and I was just trying for a strong run. I was going more on feel than by pace, but was keeping my eye on the Garmin.

I hit the turnaround and was cruising down the hill feeling good, but started to lose my rhythm about halfway back into the town. I started walking short parts of the aid stations, keeping my body temperature cool by dumping water on my head and putting ice down my tri top (I know better than to put it down my shorts - thanks for that tip Amo!). I was feeling pretty yucky by mile 10 which is when I switched to Coke. That helped a bit, but I had fallen off pace heading back into town and was feeling defeated. My pace had not fallen THAT much (it was still under 10 min/mile but I had a looong way to go). I saw Christina and my parents but didn't wave at either group. I knew I had to fix my attitude for the remainder of the race, even if I couldn't pick my pace back up. I SOO did not want to run another loop but stopping was NOT an option.

Heading back out on the 2nd loop was rough, but I was still passing people. There were a lot of walkers on both loops and I was weaving in and out of people. Looking back, I should have made more of an effort to run through aid stations, but by this point I was literally running from aid station to aid station. My pace was not THAT slow, but walking for the entire length of the aid station was absolutely killing it. This was more mental than physical because it hurt a lot more to start running again after I had walked. My quads and the bottoms of my feet were killing me. I ran up the entire length of the big hill, which I was super proud of, but running back down it was torture to my legs. I saw the message that I had written to myself at the Ford Motivational Mile (it said "you rock, chica").

I hit 3 miles to go and I said f-- it, I am not stopping at any more aid stations, I just want to be DONE. A sub-12 was out the window, and so was a PR. I did not care, I just wanted to stop running, but walking would mean being out there EVEN LONGER. NO F-ING WAY!!!

One mile to go and I was in agony. The other runners around me had the same opinion. I finally made the turn to where the finish was and it looked so far away! As I made my way down the street, down the stupid downhill finish (poor quads) lots of people were screaming and yelling, but I just had no energy to do any celebrating. I crossed the line, heard Mike Reilly tell me I was an Ironman!

Run: 4:45:24, 10:53 min/mile, 23 AG, 958 OA

Total: 12:42:16, 23 AG, 958 OA

Post Race

I got my medal, shirt, and hat, got my photo, and got navigated to a chair. I was dizzy and I asked if I could get an IV but the lady said no because I was not nauseous. Ugh. Some nice people outside the fence got my parents for me (I could see them but they couldn't see me) and I eventually made my way out because I was soaking wet, freezing cold, and wanted to change.

I collected my parents and had them wait outside the changing tent while I got my dry clothes bag and went inside to change. It always feels great to get out of that race kit! I checked my phone and saw 10 texts and like 65 emails. Whoa! Sent a text to Mary telling her I was alive (because my finish time was slower than expected). Went to stand up and walk out of the tent to my parents and got nailed with massive dizziness and nausea. Thought I was going to simultaneously hurl and shit myself. I staggered to the end of the tent where a woman was standing by a table, and I felt myself about to pass out. I grabbed her shoulder to steady myself.. muttered "sorry" and then slammed down on my back, transition bags flying everywhere and clutching my sling bag (which had my iPhone and wallet in it) to my chest. She immediately stooped down and made sure I was ok, awake, etc. Turns out, she was a doctor, her name was Julie, and she was awesome! She elevated my feet, made me a makeshift pillow out of a transition bag, got my parents, and was rubbing my face with cool cups of water. Some volunteers came with a golf cart and helped me in it, drove me straight to the porta-potty so that I wouldn't crap my pants (YIKES) and then took me to the med tent.

I told the med tent workers that I was dizzy, nauseous, and thought I was dehydrated, and asked (again) if I could have an IV. The doctor said no, that he wanted to see if I could get fluids in orally. They brought me a cup of Sprite which I drank, and then 10 minutes later, barfed up along with most of my run nutrition. Note: this was not fun. I cried. They then gave me some kind of anti-nausea medicine which had to dissolve under my tongue for 20 minutes, and then brought me more Sprite, which upset my stomach again, although I did not get sick. I then had to go to the bathroom AGAIN, so a volunteer helped me out of the tent, but she wasn't holding me, and I staggered over to the porta-potty, leaned against it, and then fell down AGAIN as I tried to open the door. She got me up and helped me inside, and then held the door open as I did my thing. Sorry to anyone that I flashed.

I got back in the tent where they gave me a 2nd dose of the anti-nausea medicine. I felt so horrible by this point that I just sat on the edge of the lawn chair recliner thing that I had been lying in and put my head between my knees. I guess they saw me like this and FINALLY took me over for an IV. I was also worried about my parents because I had no idea if they knew what was going on and was concerned that they were freaking out and were going to take my bike and running sneakers away from me forever! I'm sure I had been in the med tent for over an hour. A nurse took my vitals and started an IV and had her son go get my parents. She then rubbed my feet because I was freezing!

After the IV, I finally felt better and was able to stand and walk without collapsing. My dad went and got the car (he had gotten my bike out of transition earlier and had returned my rental wheels to IronmanWheels - THANKS DAD!!) and my mom and I walked over once he had moved it closer. It was ~11:30 pm at this point and the final finishers were coming in. I wish I had stayed and watched but I was so exhausted, considering I finished at 7:42 and was still at the race site 4 hours later, cold, dirty, and tired. We stopped at a drugstore so my dad could get me some chocolate milk and then went back to my hotel room so I could shower (while my parents made sure I didn't pass out in there) and then got to bed at ~1:00 am.

I'm not sure which was worse, the run or the medical tent ordeal.

Some Thoughts

I need to have a good discussion with Mary as to what happened per my run. We've exchanged a few texts, but I know she is waiting for a complete rundown of my day before we can figure out exactly what happened. I will be sure to post when we figure it out (currently Mary has some ideas and I agree, considering what happened to me after the race).

What I do know is that I am not upset. I had a really, really stellar first Ironman last year in Lake Placid, and let's face it, it's not always repeatable. Ironman is long and hard (that's what she said?), and not everything is always going to come together. You have to respect the distance which is something that I am finally starting to do. One wrong move and your whole day can potentially be ruined. Yesterday was a learning experience. I am not disappointed, or mad at myself or Mary, or upset. I did not get emotional during the race. I did what I could given the circumstances, and I did my best. For the most part, I even enjoyed myself! I am proud of myself for forging on during a very painful run and making the best of a not-so-great situation. And let's be real - I pulled out a 12:42 finish time. I know there are people out there that would kill for that so I am in no way boo-hoo-ing about my "slow" Ironman. I understand that it is a privilege to get to do these races!

I got the f-in' medal.

Saturday, June 25, 2011



My bike is racked. My bags are in transition. My special needs bags are ready. My kit is set out and my dry clothes are ready. My wetsuit is dry. My suitcase is organized for the flight home.

I drove the course. (There are some short, sleep climbs and some screaming, twisty downhills!).

I ate a delicious pasta dinner. (And I decorated the table).

I am ready.

And.. I never freaked out!

Oh, and I met Cait Snow and Logan Franks this morning at QT2 breakfast!! (Which was super fun by the way!).

And now, my pants are off and my legs are up!

CDA Day 3!

Today has been an odd day.

I am not feeling nervous. I feel ready, but worried that I am not more nervous! (Hello, Type A anyone?).

I got my wheel situation fixed in the morning. Long story short, at some point yesterday when I was carrying my rental wheels around, the end of the skewer fell off. I did not lose the entire skewer, but I lost the end that holds the skewer in place. So I could not get my rear wheel on. I had to take it down to the IronmanWheels tent today and get it taken care of - those guys are pretty cool!

That being done, I got it set up for the race (installed a Sonic Nut on my Sonic Wing rear hydration system) and then took it out for a 30 min spin on the bike/run course. Felt pretty good but there was a major (think, 20 mph) wind going on and it was only 60 or so degrees out.

I look happy.. NOW!
I have not had much time to sit down and get my legs up. I feel like I have been running around for the past 2 days. I went back down to the race start to get a quick swim in, and the water temperature and the air temperature were both just so cold that I didn't do. I feel super guilty because I bagged it because I just didn't want to suck it up and get in. Not a good excuse, at all. I know that the swim is actually just to shake out the nerves and keep the body moving and not crucial for fitness at this point, but I still feel guilty.

I have 1 hour and 15 minutes on Sunday to punish myself for skipping that swim in freezing cold water.

I went to the Athlete Dinner tonight and it was awesome, as per usual! I made friends with a girl in line, we sat together, and we are going to drive the course tomorrow! Seriously, THIS is why I love Ironman so much!

Tomorrow is the QT2 breakfast at 8 am, I rack my bike and drop off my transition bags, check out the bike course, and then I get off my FEET!

Come Sunday, I'll get to look at THIS for 12 hours!

Friday, June 24, 2011

brrrr it's cold in here.. it must be Lake Coeur D'Alene!

Today was busy! I woke up at 4:30 am (thank you time zones) and eventually got out of bed, ate breakfast and built my bike up. Then I headed down to the expo where I discovered that it takes me a GOOD 35 minutes to walk from my hotel down to transition. Not fun! I bought some stuff from the Ironman store, picked up my wheels, and registered.

While in the registration tent, the woman who gave me my packet of race numbers/swim cap asked me my name, so I told her "Alexa Harding" and she goes "I read your blog!!!" How crazy is that!! So here is a shout-out to Mary from Ironman registration who reads my blog from the other side of the country!! I must be famous or something..

Lake Coeur D'Alene
Anyways, I finally did a swim in the lake. It was chilly out today and rainy/thunderstormy so I waited til 3 pm to head back down to transition. I knew it was going to be cold in the water. It is currently a lovely 57.5 degrees and because it was a little stormy today, there was a lot of wind and therefore, chop, to the water. Everything but my feet got used to the water while I was swimming, but my feet remained cold the entire time. Either way, I think it could be worse. While on the beach, I started talking to these 2 guys - John and Adam from L.A. - (because everyone is friendly at Ironman!) and I ended up going out to dinner with them and some of their friends. It was super fun and I am so glad that I met some people, because being here alone isn't the greatest thing ever. It's not horrible, but it is WAY more fun with other people!

Anyways it is late and I need to get to bed. Hopefully more fun to post about tomorrow, as well as a wonderful story about Zipp wheel trouble.. seriously, could it be MY life without some sort of wheel issue??

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I made it to Coeur D'Alene!

I made it! I am in Coeur D'Alene! I am going to try to blog daily (I couldn't do this in Lake Placid because I did not have internet) as I proceed through IRONMAN WEEK!

me and Erin! I look ridiculous, as usual
This may have been the longest traveling day of my life. I woke up at 3:30 am to hit the road at 4:20 am to drive to the Buffalo Airport. Flew to Las Vegas and arrived at 9:20 or so (12:20 eastern standard time). Grabbed a bite to eat and met with my friend Erin who lives 15 minutes from the airport! She is a college friend who I haven't seen since 2007 so it was great to see her AND simultaneously kill my 3 hour layover! She picked me up and we went over to the strip - visited the Bellagio and Caeser's Palace.

I then departed from Las Vegas and flew to Spokane, WA. Both flights were really good, on time, and there were no clouds so I could see what I was flying over! I have never had this happen before, and since I really haven't seen a lot of the USA west of Pennsylvania, I was super excited! So forgive me for the horrible, out-the-window, airplane photos, but it was really cool to be able to see parts of the country that are SO DIFFERENT than from where I have lived!

flying over Kansas (we asked the flight attendant what state it was)
I am assuming.. the Colorado Rockies!

So that was interesting to look at, to say the least. Finally landed in Spokane, both of my bags made it (suitcase and bike case) and I caught the shuttle from the airport to Coeur D'Alene. Who happened to be on the shuttle with me? Two guys around my age doing the race, and one of them knows Mary's because.. HE'S QT2!!!! The minute he told me that he was from Boston and was here with 15 teammates I go "WAIT, what team is it?" and then he goes "QT2" and I go "MARY EGGERS IS MY COACH!!"

Craziness! He was super nice, as was the other guy in the van! My god, I love Ironman.

Anyways, I am here, in probably the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in (I think it might be bigger than my apartment). I walked down the road to an Irish pub for dinner, took a shower (I was gross after flying all day) and now, considering it is 7:30 PST but 10:30 EST, I am quickly crashing.

The plan for tomorrow is get up early (shouldn't be a problem with the time zone change), grab breakfast at the hotel, build my bike, go down to the race site and register, hit up the expo and the Ironman shop, pick up my race wheels, come back and get them on the bike. Then get a nice 30 min swim in to see if the water is as cold as everyone says. I also have another 30 min workout that I can't remember if it's a bike or a run.

So that's all for now! Thanks to EVERYONE who has emailed me, tweeted me, or commented on my facebook today! It makes traveling and racing alone a lot more fun when I have so much support from friends at home! You guys are the BEST!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

there's no crying in Ironman

Thank you, dear friends, for all your kind words and comments on my grumpy post from last week. I had a really busy training week, busy work week, and was quite stressed out from lack of time. Maybe a little moody? :) And then on Thursday, the hard drive on my laptop died, which really was the breaking point.

I am not heading into CDA surrounded by negativity; I am just trying to not put so much pressure on myself to beat my time from IMLP. I want to race well, but well doesn't always necessarily mean better. I went into Lake Placid with a goal, which I did not meet, and instead of leaving feeling accomplished and like I did something amazing (which is exactly how you SHOULD feel after completing your first Ironman, regardless of whether you finished in 9:59 or 16:59), my pride was clouded by some disappointment. And because I don't want that to happen again - I want to be happy with how I do - I am trying to not think about it. I think it just came out wrong. Mostly I want to have fun, be happy, take a chance to look around while I am riding, enjoy the scenery, make new friends, check out hot guys in spandex, spend time with my family, and mostly, not be miserable on the run. :) Of  course I desperately want to PR (who the f-- doesn't?) but my life will not be over if I don't. Life goes on. Ironman Wisconsin is still up for grabs in September!

There's no crying in Ironman, right?

I think we are smiling too much for a long ride day!
Anyways, I am over the hump. My last big training week is d-o-n-e. I had a 6 hour ride on Saturday; I rode 5:45. I rode from my house, around the lake, and back. Matthias met me at about 1.5 hours in so that he could do the loop around the lake. Due to me not paying attention.. we had a few directional mishaps - nothing major (shouldn't I know this route by now?!). We took it nice and easy, enjoyed ourselves, I didn't get negative at all or end up feeling like I wanted to stop and lie down.

Sunday I did a split run - 1:45 in the morning, then a 1 hour recovery ride on my trainer, then a final 1 hour run which was to be done 3 hours after the recovery ride. I felt surprisingly good on both runs (with the exception of an emergency potty break towards the end of the first run). I felt like I NAILED the afternoon run with an average pace of 9:01. I was really happy with that.

Is it normal to feel THIS GOOD <2 weeks out from an Ironman? Is this a good sign? I hope so!

Now, I just get to spend the time I would have spent training on errands and prepping for my trip. My laptop is fixed and luckily no data was lost (although I did have to shell out some cash for a new hard drive). My race wheels are rented. Fiona has a kennel reservation. I have obtained a bike box from the Kellmans and learned how to put my bike in the box. (THANKS GUYS!!). Tomorrow I am going over the IMCDA bike course with someone who has raced it. Hopefully I will get my car back soon. I bought a new mattress which is being delivered on Saturday. I have to meet with Mary next Monday to discuss my race plan/goals. I have already made a ginourmous list, which I have then have to pack! All in all.. I am going to be a busy girl for the next week!

I will be absolutely SURE to post my bib # and tracking info when I get it. I will also be sure to post from Coeur D'Alene! (For all of my stalkers..). I love my stalkers!


Friday, June 10, 2011

stress is bad

With Ironman Coeur D'Alene quickly approaching (16 days. WTF.), I am feeling more and more stress. Not nerves. STRESS. Because I have expectations of how I will do. I worry and stress that I will not be able to repeat or better my first Ironman performance.

And even though they are different races, in different years, and different locations, with different training, and I'm different.. it doesn't matter. I still worry and compare myself. Then and now.

The fact is: worrying about performance detracts from the actual experience of the race. I am not going to win. I am not going to even win my age group. Honestly, I have about a 1% chance of even PLACING in my age group. So does my performance at this race really matter (as compared to my performance at Lake Placid last year)? NO.

If I go to this race and do my absolute best - ON THAT DAY - that is what matters.

What matters is taking that race day and enjoying it, remembering it, realizing how lucky you are to be able to 1) afford to do the race, 2) travel to a beautiful part of the country, 3) actually put your body through 12+ hours of cardiovascular work without collapsing from a heart attack, 4) look hot in a race kit (HAHA).

All of this should NOT lead to having a mental breakdown at mile 18 when you realize you're not going to hit your race goal (guilty). Not lead to getting upset if your time isn't faster than XX:XX (guilty).

You (ok, I, this is obviously a pump-you-up message to myself) need to have confidence in your race and your athletic abilities and let the race just.. happen.

Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 Keuka Lake Tri Race Report

Keuka Lake Tri.. was one of the best days of my life. Not because it was beautiful out. Not because the race is an amazing event. Not because Mary was race announcing. Not because I saw so many wonderful friends racing, volunteering, and cheering. Not because my parents came to watch. Not because I finished the bike with a huge smile on my face.

Not because I won.

But because all of this happened. On one day. To me.

I needed it.

Honestly, I think the details are a little monotonous. It was a sprint. We swam .46 miles and I pushed it.. came out of the water in the front of my wave. I hammered the bike (13.8 miles) and passed the one girl that was ahead of me. After that I saw no one else from the sprint. I hit the run (5K) and gave it what I could. I crossed the line, and that was it. I won the race!
one of my favorites, Dad was a little too quick
with the camera.. that is my foot though!

Swim: 14:23, 1:55 pace
T1: 1:12
Bike: 39:17, 19.1 mph
T2: 1:04 (this was slow, I couldn't get my bike back on the rack)
Run: 23:57, 7:44 min/mile
Overall: 1:19:53

favorite cycling picture ever!
This is my first win ever! I AM SO EXCITED! But I'm not quite there yet. In a competitive field ( which this was not) I will always get toasted. I need a better swim, and a better run split. Mary thinks (and I agree) that I am better suited for short course racing. I am already planning a year off of Ironman next year (for my sanity) and I think a good goal would be to focus on short course speed (and also, just have some FUN!).

Some highlights from the race:

I think perhaps I wasn't running hard enough if I was able to scream "wooooooooooooooooo!" at the top of my lungs at all of the teammates/friends that I saw. But I just LOVE cheering them on!

I saw 2 of my favorite Train-This alums - Jeremy and Glenn before the race so I talked to them for a while (and then my parents showed up and joined us!). They are 2 of the nicest guys I know.

I made 2 new friends, Sandy and Tim, who I then facebook stalked when I got home!

My friend Matthias did his first tri in a few years - he did great!

Greg had a superb race as well!


Greg, me, Matthias post-awards
Sticking around for awards is always one of my favorite things. Even if I don't get an award, I like to cheer for people who do. Especially people who are really proud of how they did, or are getting an award for the first time, or made a huge improvement in their racing ability and are rewarded with a medal!

lounging in the grass with Mary and Will
After the race, the lunch, the awards, I hung out with Mary and Will Mitchell (brother and sister). I have known them for a few years because I see them at various tris. They are both awesome, fun, and hilarious! I also met Tim Dwyer who is a marathoner that I've heard of but never met. I ended up drinking a beer, watching a squirrel plot to steal a cookie, and just lying in the grass chatting for probably 1.5-2 hours. It was an amazing end to an amazing race!

the squirrel spies the cookie, perched on Mary M's wheel


Sunday, June 5, 2011

days like today

It's days like today that set the standard for how a race should be.

It's days like today that make me understand why I do this.

It's days like today that ignite me to get faster.

It's days like today that make me appreciate all of the amazing people that are in my life.

It's days like today that show me what is important in my life.

It's days like today that I win a race!

It's days like today that I love being me.

Official race report coming soon!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lake Placid, flat tires, and race season!

I went up to Lake Placid over Memorial Day weekend to do some big training miles. I haven't felt the urge to write about it because I still haven't decided how I feel about the training that I did.

I rode the entire bike course on Saturday (well, 111 of the 112 miles). I got caught in a thunderstorm for the last mile of that ride and got completely drenched. I did a split long run on Sunday while the humidity was on high in Lake Placid, with a 2 hour bike in the middle. I am now unable to sit on my bike seat without cringing. Ouch!

I got my 2nd flat in LP on the Ausable Forks out and back section (I got my first flat there the day after Tinman last year). One thing I love about Lake Placid is while I slowly changed my tire ('cause I am not very fast), every single person that rode by asked me if I needed any help. I was FILTHY after changing this flat.. I'm not sure how I got so dirty but I had gross tire grime all over my hands, legs, and most likely, my face. HOT.

I also ran into one of my blog friends, Emily, while riding the bike course. Apparently I have honed my stalker skills to perfection because how did I know it was her? I have seen photos of her bike on her blog and it's a red Cannondale. In the land of Lake Placid you see lots of Felts and Cervelos, but you don't see a lot of Cannondales. I rode up behind her and the person she was riding with right after High Falls Gorge and we chatted a bit. (Note: I asked "Are you Emily?" like the creepy stalker that I am). I had another blog friend up in Lake Placid as well, but I didn't get a chance to meet up with him (because of my strict pass out at 9 pm habit).

Anyways, perhaps I will post more about the weekend. I'm not sure yet. I am in a major funk right now.

I have my first triathlon of the season on Sunday at the Keuka Lake Triathlon. I am excited because apparently, 54A (which I think was the worst road in all of NYS) has been PAVED! I'm doing the sprint (per Mary). Since it is somehow already Wed., I am trying to get my stuff ready to go. I have washed my race kit. I need to get my Zipp wheels ready (ahhhh.. the Zipp wheel drama begins again). I need to clean my bike. I need to locate my wetsuit and get an open water swim in on Friday. I need to clean out my transition bag and make sure I have those crucial items such as: race number belt, timing chip strap, body glide, safety pins, etc.

I got into a minor car accident on my way home from work this morning. An older woman was pulling out of a parking lot and hit me. There is a decent amount of damage done to my car - it is drivable - but I hate driving around a banged-up car. The accident was her fault so it's nice that I can get it fixed without having to shell out thousands of dollars. I lost a whole bunch of sleep today dealing with insurance companies and dropping my car off at the garage. It was a pain and I am tired, but now my poor little car is waiting to be fixed and I have a rental SUV (UGH - I know!) that will get me to my race this weekend. Going from accident to garage to rental car in less than 12 hours is pretty impressive, I think!

More later, I am tired!