Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's Next?

One of the most frequently asked questions after people hear you have done an ironman is "are you crazy?" closely follwed by what's next?

For the rest of this season I am focusing on half distances (both  half ironman and half marathon) then in October when I officially go into off season I will focus on form and speed, that I feel I completely lost in peak training for Ironman CdA.

Luckily I do have a good answer to the question of what is the next big "A" race:

I am SO excited about Ironman Lake Tahoe!!!

I have already started working with coach on a plan and will start officially training in January. I am glad to have some time off before jumping into Ironman training again but am also looking forward to it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ironman Coeur d’Alene Race Report – The Run

This was was by FAR my favorite part of the day. It was a party from mile 0 all the way through mile 26. You can read about the swim here , the bike here and the prep here

I had a great time, honestly this is probably because I didn't feel the need to push myself. I chatted with Cory, other athletes and volunteers the entire way. I was really worried that I would get off the bike and feel terrible starting a marathon in the late afternoon but I was SO excited to be off the bike with seven and a half hours to complete the marathon. At this point I knew I would make it and it actually felt really good to be running!

 The run was two out and backs so we got to see all our friends a bunch of times and we knew what we were in for. I liked that there were no surprises.

 There was a long steep hill right before the first turn around, I will admit that I walked most of it both times. As we made our way back into town I made sure to thank every volunteer and high five the local college kids that were out partying and supporting everyone. The locals are so nice and set up their own aid stations.
 The half way turnaround is back in town where I got to see my family again, so nice to have them out there!  The second lap was more of the same, I felt tired but good. I was confident and having a good time. The only uncomfortable thing was that I got the chills but when I put on my long sleeve shirt I got too hot. But since a little temperature unbalance was the worst of it so I am not going to complain. It was a very long marathon (5:50: something) but the miles ticked by quickly to me, and soon I couldn't believe it was the last mile. We ran into town, rounded the corned and just had a long down hill straight away to the finish. I could hear Mike Reilly calling out peoples names and announcing them as Ironmen. At this point I felt like I could fly, it's the most incredible feeling in the world.
I was busy looking for my family and soon I spotted them in the crowd. I love this picture because you can see my mom and the sign she made us. She was SO excited to see us finish, moms are the best!

I was so excited to be done that I didn't hear Mike Riley announce our names, I am bummed about that but I still enjoyed every second.
Puffy and Happy!!

We were headed down the shoot, given blankets, medals, finishers hats and shirts. Part of me couldn't believe that I made it and was officially an ironman. 

Aftermath to come later.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ironman Coeur d’Alene Race Report – The Bike

After running out of the tent I headed out to the bikes, Cory (who swam faster than me) was waiting for me under the tree we had designated as our meet up place I ran up and gave him a big hug, I was so happy to see him after the though swim and know that I would have him “with” me the rest of the day. I ran down grabbed my bike and headed out onto the course.

 Riding through town was fun because there were a lot of people lining the streets cheering and encouraging everyone. As we headed out onto the first part of the “bow-tie” you hit some hills but there were lots of fun bands and it’s very scenic along the lake. 

 We quickly turned around headed back though town and out along the highway. This part of the course is still very pretty but there are less people and this part was really hilly. My back and stomach were cramping and I wished I had brought my Advil to help deal with the pain but I knew that I wouldn’t get any until mile 60 something when we got our special needs bags so I continued on.  To distract myself I tried to thank every volunteer or police officer I passed and it really did help to take the focus off just me. I was glad to have my rain jacket on as it was really cold and cloudy for the entire first loop.
Where's Cory???

I saw my family around mile thirty, I tried to put on a brave happy face, I didn’t want them to know I was hurting so early on in the race because I knew they would worry. They cheered like crazy as we zoomed past. Right after the turn around we both had to pee so we pulled over at the next aid station, it felt so good to get off the bike for a couple minutes and stretch I felt ten times better when I got back on. 

I cheered for other RMTC members when they passed going the other direction which was hands down the best part of an out and back course. 

I saw my family again and enjoyed the mostly downhill ride while we headed back into town. It was starting to warm up at this point and I was starting to feel a bit better. The miles were really starting to tic by and soon enough we were at our special needs bags. I grabbed my advil and stuffed my jacket in my bag, I knew there was a possibility I wouldn’t get it back but at that point I didn’t care. At about mile 60 the sun started shining and my back stopped hurting and my entire race turned around. I was able to pick up the pace and was passing a lot of people, my mood was great so I was chatting with all the other participants and volunteers as we made our way back through town and out one last time on the highway. I really didn’t expect to see my family again on the bike course because you have to wait so long and we zoom by in about 5 seconds but there they were to greet us after our last big climb. At this point I was having a great time and my smile was genuine.
2nd loop feeling a lot better

 When we turned around I was elated, it was mostly downhill and only about 25 miles left on the bike. I passed my family again cheered with them and headed into T2  where they caught up with us again, I don't know how they did it!
I was happy to be off my bike after 7:34:32 of riding. A volunteer was there to take my bike from me so I could just run into the tent without having to rack it. I was handed my T2 bag and was greeted by a volunteer. She grabbed my bag dumped it on the ground and started asking me what I wanted. I felt a little brain dead so I took a moment to breath and concentrate so I wouldn’t forget anything. The volunteer helped me get my compression socks on that I planned to run in, my running shoes, visor and this time I remembered to grab my medicine bag to take with me.  I had put a full change of clothes in my bag in case I would want to change but I didn’t feel the need so ran out where I saw Cory getting sunscreen applied, I joined him, had sun screen applied and we were off for the third and last part of our day.

Up Next, the run!

You can read about the swim here and the prep here

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ironman Coeur d’Alene Race Report – The Swim

I did NOT get a good night sleep before the race, luckily the night before that was good so I wasn’t too worried about it, but I was a ball of nerves. Our wakeup call came at 3:30 am, I downed some coffee, ate a bagel with Nutella and started hydrating even though I wasn’t hungry at all. We grabbed our special needs bags and headed down to city park. Transition opened at 5:30so we got there with plenty of time to park and walk over. I took the garbage bags off my bike and turned in the special needs bags. Next on the list was body marking, normally at triathlons there is a long line but at Ironman there were so many volunteers that there was no wait. I felt fine and nerves were low while I was busy doing tasks. Soon it was time for the pro start, I wanted to watch but couldn’t make my way from transition to the beach there were so many people there to cheer on the athletes. Instead I put on my wetsuit and thought about heading  to the beach to acclimate to the water.

Unfortunately they weren’t letting the age group athletes on the beach so we stood in a group of athletes standing and waiting for about 20 minutes, that didn’t do good things for my nerves BUT I tried to breath slowly and calm down, I didn’t want to waste precious energy on being nervous.  I was happy that the swim was a two loop course, it really felt like that broke things up and gave me a break in the middle.

Soon enough we were funneled unto the beach, heard Mike Reilly tell us to have a “perfect” day and that he couldn’t wait to call us all ironmen. The gun went off and I made my way down the beach to the water I wasn’t in a hurry because I wanted to avoid the more aggressive swimmers and to give myself a chance to get used to the water. I waded in to my waist and wasn’t too cold so I decided to go for it and start swimming. Thanks to adrenaline I wasn’t feeling too bad and didn’t get too much body contact until I rounded the first turn buoy.

 I expected this area to be slow and congested so I took my time and made my way around slowly until I was headed back to shore. For some reason this was the worst part of the swim for me. I had a lot of contact during this part. One particular participant kept swimming over me and once punched me in the temple really hard, I saw stars for a few seconds and had to shake it off before really moving forward again.

 Also at this point I was getting some pretty intense cramps in both legs, it made me nervous to be cramping SO badly so early in the race but I kept moving forward and soon enough I am standing up out of the water to run across the mat and start my second loop. 

I glance at the clock and see 1 hr 20 something minutes and panic a little. The swim cut off is 2 hrs and 20 minutes if it took me  and hour and twenty minutes to do one loop I was screwed! I didn’t think it had taken me that long but I wasn’t sure, A volunteer standing on the beach yelled that the time on the clock was the Pro’s time and we were at 40 something minutes. I felt good about that number and headed back out for my second loop. The swim out wasn’t too bad at first but then a storm rolled in, it got really windy and cold, there seemed to be huge waves to battle against and I couldn’t see the buoys easily. I made it to the turn where I really struggled to get around the first buoy because of a bad calf cramp, I pushed through and started my way back to shore. I was happy to be headed back to finish up the swim leg, I was cold and ready to be out of the water. I came out of the water at 1:39:25, it took me almost an hour to do the second loop, but I didn’t care I was happy to be out of the water before the cut off!

I  ran up the beach and made my way to a wetsuit stripper, I almost always get calf cramps taking off my wetsuit so I was glad for the help. 
Then a volunteer handed me my transition bag and I headed into the tent. At this point the tent was crowded and there weren’t any volunteers to help but I didn’t mind I grabbed my arm warmers and put them on as well as my helmet, socks, bike shoes and sunglasses. I wish I had grabbed my meds bag and put it in jersey pocket but that is a story for the next post. At the last minute I decided to throw on my rain jacket since I was cold and there were heavy clouds, this was one of my best decisions of the day. I asked a volunteer near my to pack up my bag, left my crap and headed out to find my bike.

Next up the Bike!
You can read about race prep Here

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ironman CDA Race Prep

I promise I will get to the actual race eventually!

But a big part of being successful in Ironman is very careful race prep.

After riding and running we headed to Ironman village, it was HUGE and the line for athlete check in was already really long. Luckily they made it up to us with some great race swag.

After check in we went to lunch with Randi, who offered great advice (this is her second ironman and she is an awesome athlete). On Friday we went back to town to try swimming where the race would actually start. On Thursday we tried swimming at our cabin and the lake was so cold that I couldn't hold my hands in the water.

It shook my confidence so I wasn't looking forward to trying to swim again at the swim beach.

It was still really cold but warmer than it was near our cabin so the swim was manageable and I felt better about race morning. After swimming we cleaned up and headed back to the cabin to pack our "gear bags". Ironman gives you five bags for you to pack things you may need during the day.

I spread out all my gear and checked my list three times to make sure I had everything I needed.

There are a few things I learned during the race but I had packed everything I needed. After packing up we headed back to town for the athlete banquet, the food was bland but that's just fine with me and it was fun to hang out with friends and listen to Mike Rilley's presentation.
It was really nice to have so many athletes from RMTC there to share the fun!

On Saturday morning we headed down to drop off our bikes and bags.
I think it's really nice dropping off your bike early so you don't have to worry about it race morning.

 We then checked out transition to make sure we would know what we were doing on race day, holy confusing!!

After dropping off our gear we headed back to the cabin. I wanted to spend the rest of the day relaxing with my pups. On the agenda was eating an early dinner and heading to bed because our 3:30 wake up call was coming up fast!