Monday, June 27, 2011

IMCdA 2011 - I Did It!

I'm not eloquent enough to adequately describe the final run down Sherman Avenue to the finish line.  The last few hours of this Ironman were rough for me.  Maybe the hardest thing I have ever physically been through.  But all of that was erased in the last 2 minutes of the marathon.  And replaced with one of the most awesome things I have ever emotionally been through.

Race report is in the works.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

IMCdA Race Week - Saturday

Please forgive the short post.  It's almost 10pm on race day eve, I'm a twittered bundle of nerves, and I just took an ambien.  I'll try doing this in time format.

4am - Awake but back to sleep
4:30am - Awake but back to sleep
5am - Awake but back to sleep
6am - Okay, I'll get up.  Breakfast of coffee, eggs, strawberries.  Organized gear bags for check-in.
8:30am - Head to the lake with Ken and JoshyPoo for a practice swim, and Joshy's volunteer meeting.  The water was even colder than yesterday.  It seems to be bouncing between 53 and 55 degrees.  After about 5 minutes my face goes numb and I forget about it.  But those first 5 minutes - POW, it takes the breath outta ya!
9:30am - Back to the house to give my bike a make-over and finish getting gear bags ready to be dropped off.
10am - One last practice ride along the lake towards Higgins Point.  The wind was blowing pretty hard out there today!  I think the winds are here to stay for the weekend.
12pm - Bike check-in...
...and gear bag check-in, one last pass through the merchandise tent, and then back home for the day.
1pm - Regroup the troops after everyone's various volunteer meetings, lunch, and board games.
2:30pm - The fabulous Kristin came over for some mellow girl time.  She's the one who drove from PDX to Tempe with me for IMAZ in 2009.  This year she didn't have to drive quite as far, and I'm so happy I'll get to see her out on the course tomorrow!
5:30pm - Board games, dinner, board games, dessert, board games.
8pm - Popped an ambien, finished playing games with the fam, and mosied off to bed.

Up Next: IRONMAN DAY!!!!

IMCdA Race Week - Friday

I drove the bike course today.  Damn.  I spent the rest of the day with my stomach in one gigantic knot.  Major face-palm moment, a short berating of myself for not training more hills, and then I let it go.  A few days ago, an email from Coach Liz contained these words of wisdom:

Go into this race having reconciled with yourself. Have no doubts, be totally confident & trust yourself. Of all the equipment you can buy, training you can do & anything else – TRUST is the most important thing you can have on race day. Trust yourself & trust your training. You are all arriving at this start line as prepared as you can be. Trust it & give yourself permission to have your best race out there.
Friday started with another practice swim.  A short one this time, about 10 minutes, because it was supposed to be a total rest day on the calendar.  Both Mom and my little bro JoshyPoo came down to watch this morning:
The USGS site showed that the water temp had dropped about 5 degrees from Thursday, down to 55 instead of 59/60.  It was noticeably colder.  Still tolerable, but not quite as comfortable.  The chop is still present, but doesn't bother me so much.  As long as there isn't puke in the water from those who ARE bothered by it!

Massive Beginner Triathlete crew this morning:

A quick pose in front of the finish line.  I WILL be here again sometime before midnight on Sunday.
After a drive around the (hilly) course, it was back to Spokane to pick up Ken to complete the sherpa crew.  Quick tip for those planning on staying in Coeur d'Alene and flying people in and out of Spokane - the airport is NOT 20 minutes from town.  It's like 45 minutes, assuming you don't hit the miles of construction on the interstate.

I was able to kick up my legs and take a nap before heading back to the village for the Welcome Dinner.  Here we are in our awesome t-shirts that my Mom created.
The back of mine is special.
More lines.  Ironman week is all about patience and standing in lines.  This one is to get into the dinner tent.  I've never seen so many people so eager for a crappy dinner!
While the food is never anything to write home about, it's worth going to these things to hear Mike Reilly talk and get everyone fired up.  He said something that made me feel just a little bit better: "You can't control the weather.  You can't control the other athletes.  You can't control the course.  But you can control your attitude on race day."  Got it.
Following the dinner was the Athlete Briefing, where we learned that mango-flavored Powerbar Perform will be served on the run course.  Nice, if you like mango.  Which I do.  Not so nice, if you're deathly allergic to mango.  Which I am.  Saturday's mission, aside from practice swim and bike/gear check-in, will be to find out if there is actual mango bits in the mango-flavored Perform.  Ack!
The rest of the day was spent freaking out, napping, freaking out, eating, freaking out, and then finally playing some board games with the family before falling into a (pharmaceutically induced) deep deep sleep.

Next Up: practice swim, bike test ride, bike and gear bag check-in, neurotically go through the rest of the gear and pre-race preparations, early bedtime

Friday, June 24, 2011

IMCdA Race Week - Thursday

It's sinking in now.
The day started off with a 4am crash of thunder, followed by heavy rain and more thunder.  I was able to go back to sleep until the next natural alarm clock at 6am with another enormous thunder clap and showers.  We waited out the weather by drinking coffee and lazing around.

Thankfully things cleared up enough for the 8am practice swim at Lake Coeur d'Alene with a few of the Beginner Triathlete crew.  Fine group of peeps!
The official USGS water gauge temperature said 59 degrees, someone with a thermometer got 61 degrees.  HOORAY!!!!!!  (But by the time of this blog posting has dropped again to 55 degrees.  Booooo!)  Due to the storm blowing through, the lake was pretty roughed up and choppy.  As waves crashed on the shore, we hopped in and swam to one of the buoys and back.  Not so bad.  Fun, actually!  It felt like the ocean, but without the salt.  So some of us headed back out for another lap.  20 minutes of swim time, about 30 minutes in the water, and not frozen.
Here is Mom and I by The Moose after the swim.  Apparently it poured and hailed while we were swimming, so she ended up getting just as wet as I did.
After a quick walk back to the house for dry clothes, we headed back to the Ironman Village to wait in the never ended registration line.
Once through, it went something like this (each at a separate station, sometimes with more lines): lodging form, verify ID and USAT card, pick up waivers and listen to spiel on medical stuff, fill out waivers, turn in waivers, show ID and get wrist band, show ID and get cap/numbers/timing chip, get tote bag with race day bags, swipe timing chip, prepay for race photos, get free goggles.
We headed back to the house, kicked up our feet for awhile, and then headed back to Spokane to pick up my little brother JoshyPoo from the airport.  After a 25 minute easy run around town, the rest of the night was spent eating, playing games, and getting race bags ready.
Next Up: another practice swim, drive bike course, pick up Ken from airport, lounge in compression gear while getting everything ready for race day, welcome dinner, athlete briefing

Thursday, June 23, 2011

IMCdA Race Week - Mon-Wed

We made it to da 'Ho!  Mom flew into PDX on Monday night, she ran errands all day on Tuesday while I frantically wrapped things up at work, we spent all night packing, and then headed out on Wednesday for the 7 hour drive to Coeur d'Alene.  The ride was uneventful, other than the pesky virus that seems to have taken up residence in my stomach.  I'll spare you the details.  Thankfully I have a few days to get the germs out of my tummy.  In the meantime, bland foods and extra hydration are being consumed diligently.

Here's our overloaded car.  We are over-packing extraordinaires.
Upon arrival, we checked into our awesome rental home, which is located about 6 blocks from the finish line.  Yes, that's a wrap around porch with a hammock.  It also has a cushy green backyard, lots of open space, and comfy bedrooms.  Go to CdA Getaway for outstanding vacation rental service in Coeur d'Alene.
I'll be spending lots of time sitting on this cozy couch over the next few days!

Mom went grocery shopping while I headed out for a 30min spin around town.  As I was airing up tires and getting the bike ready, I set my 2nd spare tube and extra CO2 cartridges on the counter.  Since, you know, I was only heading out for 30 minutes, and it wasn't worth the time to cram all that stuff onto the bike.  You know where this is heading, right?  Part way up a little hill, my rear tire went mushy.  I finished the climb, then pulled over to change flat #2 of the week.  It went pretty speedy and I did a little hip shake to celebrate my ninja tire changing skillz.  But...a few pedal strokes later things went mushy again.  3rd flat of the week.  Did I pinch the tube?  Or twist it?  With no 2nd tube (doh!) I called my directionally challenged mother to come pick me up in a strange town, having no clue where I was.  With time to kill, I took the tube out and did some inspecting.  Turns out a wire was sticking out inside the tire and puncturing the tubes.  Bomber Gatorskins = not so bomberish.  I was able to patch one of the tubes (after using another CO2 to find the hole) and use my final CO2 cartridge to get things inflated again, just as Mom showed up.  Of course.  I decided that the tire gods were frowning upon me that afternoon, and headed back to the house instead of finishing up the ride.
Lesson of the day - buy lots of extra tubes and CO2 cartridges (unless you are flying) before you leave home.  Your local bike shop will be MUCH cheaper than the Ironman expo bike shop.  At $10/tube and almost $6/cartridge, this was an expensive 20 minute bike ride.

Next Up:
Thu - 30min practice swim, registration, 20min run, pick up little brother from airport

Monday, June 20, 2011

Taper Week 2

Taper week 2 is in the books.  A mystery throat virus made it's way through the Beginner Triathlete Coeur d'Alene crew this past week, myself included.  Okay, I know it's not possible to spread germs through the internets, but it seems like almost everyone in the middle of taper came down with something.  So it was all about extra rest and not pushing too hard through the workouts.  I ended up with a little over 6 hours of training, versus a planned volume of 8 hours.  The energy is starting to build again, my body is anxious to race, and my mind is going cr-aaaa-zy!

Swim - 2600 meters
Bike - 69.25 miles
Run - 2.82 miles (I'm not kidding)
Total = 6.19 hours

We leave for Idaho in two days.  Which means I have less than 48 hours to wrap up work projects, clean out my inbox, do laundry, grocery shop, gather race stuff, pack items for a week, and load up the car.  Race prep might actually be harder than the race itself!

I'll leave you with this fabulous video that my friend Bonnie put together during taper:

If you don't get it, watch the "original" Honey Badger video here:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

TRI-ing for a Cure

Tomorrow morning at 7am will mark one week until I toe the line next to 2700+ other athletes on the shore of Lake Couer d'Alene.  All of the hard work over the last 6 months will get me through most of the course.  Motivation and tenacity will get me a little bit further.  I hope that the thoughts of those who I'm racing in honor/memory of will get me the rest of the way.

I haven't done that great meeting my fundraising goal of $1500.  But we've raised almost $700 so far.  I'm so very grateful for all of the support (financial and emotional) from all of my awesome friends and family!  I'm going to expand the effort with my second Ironman this year in Tempe, Arizona.  It's not too late to donate:

My running singlet for next weekend:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taper Week 1: Obligatory Weekly Update

Bear with me here.  I just finished the first week of taper.  I feel like crud.  My legs won't work.  My arms are heavy.  I feel like sleeping all day, and then I spend all night staring at the ceiling.  I'm grumpy and nervous and anxious and bitchy.  And PMSing, which is like some sort of cruel joke to have to deal with PMS during taper.  Taper is already like PMS.  So maybe it's actually fitting.  Coach Liz assures me I'll feel better by the end of this week.

The plan for the week was around 13 hours of training.  What I ended up with:
Swim - 5700 meters
Bike - 80.85 miles
Run - 18.76 miles
Transitions - 0.11 hours
Total = 11.06 hours

I honestly don't know where the week went, so I have no super exciting shares for the internet peoplez in this post.  Oh, I raced.  That's it I think.  It's time to cue up the hypnotherapy sessions on the ipod, recite my positive affirmations, and focus my energy on packing lists and organizing kitchen cupboards.  Less than 2 weeks until show time!

Race Report: Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon

Event: Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon
Distance: 1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Total time = 3:04:04
Age group place = 21/25
Overall place = 332/386

This was my C- race of the year (A = IMCdA, A++ = IMAZ).  It was simply a tune-up day to test out gear, equipment, nutrition, and shake out some of the nerves.  Goal accomplished.  My PR on this course is 3:02:09.  I turned in a time less than 2 minutes slower than that PR, a week after peak training, without much in the way of any speed training.  I'll take it.

Swim = 0:32:33, pace 2:10/100m  (9th, 283rd)
T1 = 3:31 (5th)
Bike = 1:16:29, pace 19.49 mph (15th, 293rd)
T2 = 3:03 (18th)
Run = 1:08:27, pace 11:02/mi (24th, 374th)

No, I don't have a problem with pacing (okay, I do, but that's not relevant to these splits).  I just really really suck at running.  I suck slightly less at biking.  And then suck even less at swimming.  I usually rock transitions, so I'm not sure what happened in T2 this time.  Since Blue Lake is currently flooded, the transition areas were longer than past years.  But they were longer for everyone.  **Shrug**

The morning started off with a blown tube.  A $35 latex freakin-stupid-expensive tube!
The rest of the morning was the same ol' stuff.  Revolving porta-potty line, set up transition, warm-up, shimmy into super suit, and get in line for the water.  I did manage to get in a 10 minute run prior to the race, which is about 10 minutes more than I typically warm-up.  However, I didn't get down to the water in time to loosen up the arms.

I can only imagine that this guy is saying "check out that badass Honey Badger over there.  Her gozongas are THIS big.  She's just going to take what she wants."  And the other guy is saying "I know.  I'm scared."
2009 - 33:04
2011 - 32:22

Starting with W30-39 is seriously worse than the Ironman swim.  For real.  I had the left side of my goggles ripped off.  One gal kept grabbing my shoulders and pawing all over my neck and back.  Since I really wasn't in the mood for massage therapy, I gave her a friendly reminder nudge to the ribs and she quit trying to molest me after that.  The rest of the swim was uneventful.  My sighting sucked.  I forgot that I was racing and slowed down to cruise pace (welcome to the habits of IM training).  I finally pulled my head out of my ass on the second half and got down to business.

2009 - 3:00
2011 - 3:31
Cap/goggles off, wetsuit off, helmet on, sunglasses on, GO!  And then the looooong run to the bike mount line.  I kept my shoes on the bike this time and it worked great.  No flying mount though.  Next year.

2009 - 1:13:42
2011 - 1:16:29

Uh...this hurt. I am seriously lacking in bike fitness this year.  And the weirdest thing - my inner thigh tendon thingies (those things connected to the inside of the hips) completely cramped up at mile 20.  I didn't even know that was possible.  I'm sure it comes from doing 13-14 mph in training with zero speed work...and then trying to hammer in a race.  I definitely need to do more time trials in prep for Arizona.
Oh, OH!!!  I had a stinking weasel drafter chic sucking my wheel for most of the bike ride.  I could hear her breathing right behind me, so I turned around and give her the bitch eye.  She would pass, cut me off, and then slow down, effectively blocking me.  So I would drop back the appropriate distance, then pass her again, and continue on at my normal pace.  Within a few seconds I could see her shadow pull up just behind me.  And stay there.  CHEATER!  I gave her a few snarls, and we repeated this little dance for about 10 miles.  I finally blasted by her a final time, blew one of my world class accurate snot rockets, and didn't see her again.  My hubby got her on camera shamelessly catching a free ride.  Race number and all.  Athlete #335, who placed 13th in the F 35-39 age group (if you care to look her up on the results), may you always have the wind in your wheel-suckin face.  Play fair and you won't get blasted on the interwebs.

2009 - 2:14
2011 - 3:03

Climb out of shoes, dismount, looooong run back into transition, helmet off, socks/shoes on, GO!  Visor and race belt on while heading out.  I honestly don't know what took so long.  Probably just the running, since you know, I sort of suck at that sort of thing.

 "Oh, goody, running."

2009 - 1:10:09
2011 - 1:08:27

I spent the first mile trying to shake the wonkiness out of my hips.  Once things loosened up, I was able to settling into a just-slightly-harder-than-comfortable pace and keep it there.  I tried to pick it up a bit towards the end, but sort of fell flat.

I've been testing out a few different finishing poses.  How about this one?

Lots of walking to cool-down, a short spin on the bike later that night, and a good sleep in my compression tights.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekly Recap: The Big One

I made it to taper.  That alone is an accomplishment, yet it has me feeling a little bittersweet about my prep for race day.  I'm excited that the worst of it is over, but I still wish that I had just a little more time to get ready.  My training for this race isn't what I hoped it would be, but I had to overcome a lot of hurdles even to get this far.  I have to remind myself that I do this for fun.  It's a hobby.  And no matter what happens on race day, that one day does not define me.

Swim - 8450 meters
Bike - 155.58 miles
Run - 23.36 miles
Total = 19.07 hours

The alternating narcolepsy/insomnia phase of training has set in, and I'm far too tired to document all the events of this past week.  But here are the highlights:

- I channeled a lot of Honey Badger to get me through the week.  I was badass.  I ran all over the place.  I was cr-a-zy.  I really didn't give a shit.  And eww, eating snakes.  So nasty.  If you don't understand, go here:
- I had my last long run mid-week of 3 hours.  Since I'm slow, this got me to 15.15 miles.  Julie came out for the last few miles with me and snapped this photo of my awesome outfit.  Pink Power!  It was hot and raining, so please pretend that this is nice and focused.
- I had a mini-crisis when I realized that my brand new wetsuit was not going to work.  This was the same evening that I realized that my new shoes were not going to work either.  So 3 weeks out from race day and I need to revamp 2 very important items.  Panic ensued, a trip was made to Portland in the middle of rush hour, and hundreds of dollars were spent.  Ironman = empty bank account.
- My last long ride was an epic fail.  Zipp 808s do not play well with 30mph gusts.  Instead of 112 miles I made it all of 40 miles.  I tried to finish it up on the trainer, but I was mentally defeated.  One bad day does not a season make.  So I wrapped up the day with my brick run and tried to focus on having a better day tomorrow.
- The week culminated with the OWS race at Hagg Lake.  Major confidence booster!

Next up...taaaaaper time.