Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ironman 70.3 NOLA 2014 Race Report

Short recap: Okay swim, dropped a bottle and cramped/threw up/blew up on bike, cramped and walk/ran the run. I ended up in med tent for 2 IV bags upon crossing the finish line. Somehow still managed to be 2nd in AG and snag a spot to 70.3 Worlds. Happy/thankful to have qualified, but that is not how I had imagined it happening!

Cheap bag, blah hat, another shirt...
Swim – 35:27 (1:14/100yds)
T1- 2:42
Bike – 2:35:56 (21.7mph)
T2 - 1:16
Run -1:41:14 (7:44/mile)
Total – 4:55:33
2nd AG, 114 OA

Here is the longer report with the fun details.

I have been spending a lot of time in the pool and I am considerably faster than I was before (in the pool). My open water swimming still does not match up with my pool swimming, but that will hopefully come with more experience in open water. I cannot be mad about my swim, because it was a half ironman PR swim by almost 2:00. I also came out of the water feeling fresh and ready to ride. The swim course is an “M” and kind of difficult to navigate – the sun was coming up and we were looking for yellow turn buoys. Besides the water tasting funny and looking pretty dirty, I thought the swim conditions were okay. I exited the water in 17th in my AG, which happens to be the highest I have ever been out of the water! Woohoo!

She looks WAY too happy.
The bike course is essentially a “Y” on closed roads. I think it is a great course – flat and closed roads. I was told to expect a headwind on the way out, and a tailwind on the way back in. I know we had a headwind on the way out, but I honestly cannot tell you what the wind did on the way back in. All I know is that it was not a tailwind, and we had a headwind toward the end of the bike course. Gotta love when the wind shifts.

I felt fresh out of the water and onto the bike. I believe I was under my target wattage for the first 5-10 miles, and was passing quite a few guys in my AG. Everything seemed to be going well. I traded my empty bottle at the first aid station and was ready to hit my target watts. Somewhere between miles 17-18 I dropped my water bottle. I knew it was going to be a long day. At mile 25 I was already cramping, at mile 30 I had pretty much stopped sweating, and by mile 35 I was throwing up on the bike. At the next aid station I decided to take water to dump on myself and drink, along with IM Perform to try and get some of the calories/electrolytes back. I was hurting pretty bad at this point. The next 10ish miles were just pure torture – into the wind and people were blowing by me. I was struggling to hold 18ish mph. At the last aid station on the bike (mile 50) I took two waters. With two miles to go, I was cramped so bad that I couldn’t pedal and could only coast. I was seriously considering walking my bike into t2.

Blue skies.
Coming into T2 I knew the run was going to be painful, but I was ready for it. The first couple steps off the bike actually felt great. At this point I thought I was already out of the AG race, but I was not too sure. I had not been passed by anyone in my AG on the bike, so I thought maybe there might be a slight chance I was still in the race.

The first ¼ mile on the run felt great. I started thinking I may be able to save the race. Then BOOM! Cramping – legs and arms. I knew I was in trouble. The first 6 miles of the run course have a couple bridges and overpass crossings, so it was not flat. At the first aid station I planned on taking Perform and Coke. I guess they didn’t have the coke ready, so I took perform and ice. At mile two, I was finally able to get Coke…unfortunately it was not flat and I started throwing up shortly after drinking it. I was miserable, but determined not to walk.

Around mile 7 or 8 – I really do not remember – there was a lady cheering us on yelling, “You look great. You’re doing awesome.” …and I was walking, getting ready to stop and stretch. I was bent over in the middle of the street, so cramped up that it probably looked like I was trying to do some yoga pose…and the race photographer was there. Awesome. I decided to try and run by, but I don’t think I was too successful. I had to stop and do more yoga in the street, haha. As all of this was going on, a race support vehicle stopped and a guy asked me if I was okay. I think I said, “no” and continued to stagger down the street. He then got on the radio the alert other race vehicles to watch for me coming down the road – I guess I didn’t look too good.

I look great...
At mile 8 I came up on a kid with a “20” on his calf. I told myself I needed to make the pass, and then get around the corner so I could start walking again without him seeing me. Right before turning the corner I looked back and saw him walking. That was when I made the decision to run if he ran, and I could walk if he walked. At that point, I had a feeling that we were somewhere near the podium for our AG, but I still didn’t think it would be a Worlds spot.

Over the next couple miles, I was passed by a lot of M40-49. As they would come up on me, they would say stuff along the lines of, “You’re younger and faster than me, run with me.” But I could honestly only run with them for a minute at a time before having to walk. It was not pretty, but I am very thankful to have had multiple running partners to drag me though that last 5 miles. I was in more pain that I have ever been in, and mentally I was ready to be taken away in an ambulance before dropping out. My head was throbbing, my body was on fire, and I felt like I had knives stabbing my quads, arms, and feet.

About to fall over...
I finally made it to the finish line and happened to be cramping and kind of fell over. The volunteers that caught me said, “You don’t look too good.” In my less than coherent state, I replied, “How rude.” She laughed and brought me to the med tent. They asked me how I was feeling and told me I was one of the more rough looking people they had seen so far. Great. They started an IV bag. After my first IV bag they looked at me and decided I needed another one… Did I really look that bad?! I was feeling pretty alright after the second bag though. So thank you to the wonderful medical staff for taking care of me!

Podium. Thanks @maggieru
I can’t say that I am thrilled with how my race went, but I am happy to have qualified. I think I was just disappointed that I put in the work to have a great race, and then things just kind of fell apart on race day. I know that race did not show the fitness/progress I’ve made since last year. I do think it shows that I am mentally a lot stronger this year than other years. Last year in Vegas I think my mind gave up on the race before my body did. This year, my body was shutting down, but I was fully prepared to suffer for as long as I needed to.

Finisher and 2nd AG medals
Thanks for reading and thank you for all of the texts/messages/calls before and after the race. It has been a long training cycle, and I am looking forward to recover and racing some short stuff now! Good luck to all as the race season

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Late March--Early April Update: Coaching and Training

The kids I coach found my blog, and told me I need I need to update it. So, here is the update.
I miss the FL sun!!
 On March 10 I started coaching a junior high track and field team. So far it has been a great experience – I just wish it would not rain so much. I have learned many things in the first month of coaching, but most of the things are what the athletes say about me.  The students are not afraid to say what they think, so I figured I would share a few things with you:
1. I’m mean. I actually make them do workouts. *gasp*
2. I have a GameBoy Color— I’m old.
3. Everybody Loves Raymond is my favorite TV show – once again, I’m old.
4. Everybody Loves Raymond is on TV Land… You guessed it, I’m old.
5. I was born in 1990—yep, I’m old.
So yeah, this is what my athletes have taught me so far. We still have 4 weeks left in the season, so I am sure they will continue to let me know how old I am…everyday.
They think they are cool...
 We have only had one track meet so far…well we had half of a track meet and then it got rained out. The next meet was cancelled and rescheduled due to severe storms. The rescheduled meet was cancelled because of rain. They were going to reschedule the rescheduled meet, but we could not find a day that works. Anyway in the first meet, we had a pretty awesome showing from our milers. Our guys went 5:37, 5:54, 6:04 in the season opener – all running PRs. We also had a girl run 5:58. They are all faster at the mile in junior high than I was!
Trainer rides... Yay
 Now, 70.3 NOLA. I say that every race is a new and different experience…this will not be an exception. Training for NOLA had been great while in Florida. I do not regret coming back to Illinois, but it made training a little more difficult. I got sick within the first 2 days of being back in the state. Always fun. Then I guess it must have been one of the snow covered long runs I did that triggered an old injury, and I found myself in the walking boot for a couple weeks. I was going to try and run through it, but I found myself almost in tears less than 2 miles into runs. At that point I figured it was time to let the foot rest. I was still able to swim and bike without much pain, but running was out of the question. I also found myself on the trainer for pretty much 95% of my rides upon arrival in Illinois. Normally I can just suck it up and get it done, but after almost 95% of rides outdoor in FL, riding the trainer indoors really was not much fun. Over the past month, the one thing I will say that has been great is swimming. I have really been enjoying it, and I have made some good progress in the pool. I have never been known for being a strong open water swimmer, but I am hoping some of the things I have been figuring out will help.

So what does it all mean? Well, my foot and ankle are pain free now, so that is a good sign. Basically all I can do is focus on what I can control—power, nutrition, staying focused on the task at hand. Chrissie Wellington found a way to win when she was less than 100%. I am by no means on the same level as Chrissie, but it shows how important it is to be mentally tough. I am excited to race!
Bring on the warm weather--I'm ready for summer!

Thanks for reading. Good luck to everybody as the race season starts.