Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving thanks, and all that

I have been lazy about updating, probably cuz I'm not doing anything worth writing about! We did do Turkey Trot 5K on T-day morning - my slowest in a few years but it was a good effort anyway. The Dane beat me as usual but I'm closer. Have been riding the road bike which I enjoy doing in the offseason. Can't imagine riding the tri bike right now, ick! Rode in the hills today on a beautiful day weather-wise - couldn't be any nicer! Only did a couple hours but it was enough since we hadn't been out there in so long. We are planning tenatively to do St Croix 70.3 in early May instead of Florida 70.3 so need to get strong in the hills. We are riding pretty relaxed for most part. I got officially registered for IM Hawaii 2008 which is exciting! Hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey day. Only one month til we go to Maui!! Cheers.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Clearwater 70.3 World Championships

NO,I did not race! I'm crazy, not stupid! I witnessed some very impressive and motivating performances out there today. And, completely enjoyed watching my teammates perform on today's great stage in triathlon. Linda M., you are the badger and my idol forever, please don't stop. Donna S., you showed some serious moxey and class and I hope to witness this again in my future, please don't stop. Lisa P., keep pushing girl and you WILL be and Ironman! Sharon B., you are one of the toughest competitors I've come across. Ladies, you rock! I get soooo much motivation from watching my friends/competitors/pros perform on one of the greatest stages in triathon. I feel lucky to witness it all! I'm feeling lazy and out of shape one week from IMFL and ready to get it together for Kona '08! Not too soon, I know. I wish that the Dane was here to share this with me because he always supports me in every measure, which I'm learning is very treasured. Never give up on your passion people, some may find it's all they have. I'm blessed, that I have my passion and support. Thanks to everyone who competed today, you gave me inspiration and I hope we clapped for you all! (we tried!!!) Cheers.

Monday, November 05, 2007

IMFL race report - no room for error

Whew, glad that one is over!! Let's just say that there was absolutely no room for error on Saturday. Once again, the AG I happen to be competing in was the toughest on the day for the women. The days leading up to the race were pretty uneventful, which is good. Tried to stay relaxed and off the legs as much as possible. Didn't sleep well the night before the race which is annoying but no big deal. I knew this was my first real try at "racing" an Ironman and I knew this would likely involve a lot of pain. Got out of bed about 3:30 AM to get in some calories for the day. Did couple bottles of boost and couple pieces of toast with PB which I really had to choke down because I don't like eating at that hour. Walked down to transition and dropped special needs bags and checked the bike over. My tires needed some air so stood in line for about 20 minutes for the pump guy. He tried to get some air into front tire but my valve extender was stripped. No problem, go stand in another line for 15 minutes for the mechanic and he changed my valve extender, filled the tire and I was on my way. Luckily, we got there early enough to account for this delay. Wetsuit on and standing on the beach ready but nervous for the day. This feeling prior to the cannon going off is one of the most intense moments I can recall. I'm aware that I'm going to get into some contact with others trying to find some open water to swim but this was a full rugby scrum. I actually felt at a few points that I could truly drown out there! Pretty scary! I spent the first 800 meters defending myself, avoiding direct kicks to the head and drinking copious amounts of salt water. Not much actual swimming going on here, just getting pulled along by the masses and defending myself. Got into some rythym after hitting the bouys to return on the first lap but swung way wide to avoid anymore beatings fully aware that anymore salt water consumption may be detrimental later in the day. Got out of the first lap in around 30 minutes which was a surprise since the first half of that lap was mayhem! The second loop was uneventful, stayed wide again to avoid contact. Probably swam a little extra but comfortable, still came out in 1:02 and change, a PR. Got through the change tent a little slow but onto the bike. I had a bit of a high heart rate on the beginning of the bike but went more with perceived exertion at this point because my legs felt good. The ride was kind of boring. Got passed by a ton of guys and a few gals and multiple packs. As tempting as it was to attach myself to the back of a pack, I didn't do it. The wind was a bit snotty the entire ride and it seemed to change every time we made a turn but I tried to embrace this and keep pushing and riding within myself. I kept my HR pretty good and kept hydrating. It was pretty cool once we first got on the bike and this was nice. Warmed up some toward the end but the weather was really perfect. Managed to hit T2 with a PR for the bike, 5:24 and change. Got through T2 pretty well and off on the run. I didn't have any idea what to expect here because I missed my long runs the past 5 weeks or so. I just didn't want to have any injury issues and felt I could deal with fatigue issues. I ran out of T2 in 7:24/mile but felt like I was running slower than 8-minute pace - this is a good sign. Kept slowing to make sure I didn't kill myself on the first loop. The first loop went pretty well, kept the pace pretty good and felt I was going along well. Got out to the second loop and learned that I was in 6th in the AG at this point. I felt we would have 3 Kona slots going in, maybe 4 if we were lucky. I managed to bridge up to and pass two of the girls ahead of me before the last turn around in the park, about 10K from the finish. By that point, I had run through all the aid stations but I knew I couldn't continue this because my quads were nearly in complete failure in the last 10K. I knew the two girls I had just passed were running the aid stations and I knew if I walked it had to be quick and short. I started on coke and anything else I could get my hands on and kept running. I felt at about mile 22 that my legs could buckle at any time and my dream would be done but I constantly forced that thought out of my head and replaced it with, "keep pushing, keep pushing, all the way to the line". Must have worked because they never came back to me. I figured I was fourth and felt content that I couldn't have gone any faster. My marathon was not great but what I expected with the lack of long run training the previous 6 weeks. I knew if I didn't get a Kona slot, I still PR'd by quite a bit, ended up in 10:24 which would have won 40-44 most years. Hobbled back to the condo with the Dane (who also PR'd with inconsistent training, amazing), showered, ate then returned to the finish line to watch Val finish. She was incredible, finishing under 15 hours. Proof that the MAO program is effective! We toasted our great journeys with pizza and a glass of champagne and hit the bed. Didn't sleep well due to so much muscle pain but it was nice to relax and reflect on a pretty complete effort. We got up Sunday morning, wrenched our sore bodies out of bed and limped back to the expo area to find out about Kona slot distribution. I was suddenly really nervous to look at the board and then saw a "4" next to the W40-44 column and my knees got weak. I got a Kona slot and didn't have to wait for roll down! This was a very exciting feeling. Needless to say, I paid the $500 and took my slot. Good thing because the slots didn't roll this year. We are on our way back home now and still really sore.....but happy! It's a really gratifying feeling to give everything and more in the race and get to return to Kona in 2008. What did I learn from my fifth Ironman? I learned that my swim training is spot on and will continue with this and hopefully continue to improve there (a long way from being last out of the water in my first several tri's). I learned that even though I lost this race mostly on the bike, I continue to get stronger but it's a slow process (I should learn to race in draft packs but wouldn't feel right doing it). I learned that the last several long run sessions in training are critical to remaining strong on the marathon, can't fake it. I also learned that even when you don't know if you can keep pace, you have to keep pushing and believing because amazing things can happen and the pain is worth it! I'm going to take a little break, run a lot this winter, work in the weight room and try to get stronger. In the meantime, I'll be out in Clearwater for the 70.3 World Championships cheering everyone on. Best of luck to everyone there. Cheers!

Friday, November 02, 2007

More hurry up and wait

So, we're within 15 hours of starting IMFL. It's not glamorous, just sitting around waiting for the big hour when we get to reward ourselves with the race we've prepared for for so many weeks. Today consisted of a 15 minute open water swim right outside our condo. Then onto the bikes for a loop of the run course which went well. Then a quick 10 minute run with a few pick-ups. Nothing extravagant, just keeping the pipes open for the big day tomorrow. We dropped off the bikes and gear bags earlier this afternoon so all we have to do now is eat a healthy dinner, sit around some more and the try to get some sleep. I, surprisingly, slept really well last night.....good sign. I read that there are over 1,100 first-timers (also affectionately known as "iron virgins") in the race tomorrow - that's a lot! The weather continues to be "Chamber of Commerce" weather - absolutely beautiful! So, thanks to all who have sent well wishes, they mean a lot to me! I'll try and get a race report out quickly. Until then, ciao.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We've descended upon PCB!

Ironman fever is alive and well in Panama City Beach! The tri geeks are out in full force and ready for action. We did a short swim in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico this morning and it was clear and calm. The weather is warm and gorgeous, couldn't ask for more. As for me, the body feels pretty good. We did a short run after settling in to the condo which was good. We get to registration later this morning then sit around a wait. My sister and her clan come in sometime today so that'll be good to visit with them some. I'll try and keep updated. Ciao.