Happy Friday! I hope you all had a great week. Mine was crazy busy with work and going into a long training weekend (my biggest ever), but first — I want to share five things this Friday!!
Can we just talk about my shoe problem? I might have a slight Brooks Running addiction. AND – these were just the shoes in my workout room. Rest assured, I am donating several of these to Girls on the Run! Do you have a favorite pair? I tend to try them all and rotate depending on my terrain, clothes (matchy-matchy), and distance.
These bars are so yummy and only have two ingredients! All fruit, no preservatives. Oh … and no fat, non GMO, Gluten free, Kosher, Vegan, and Raw. They are the perfect on the go snack when whole fruit is not readily available.
This box is truly amazing. Sent right to my door with dry ice. We’ve already made three meals using the perfect portion sizings. AND – I like the fact that they come in portions, because as I’ve learned – I eat way more than this when we cook an entire salmon filet. Do I like fresh – heck yes! BUT – this is perfect to have on hand when you are in a hurry or need something quick and easy AND nutritious.
1. Since I’ve been able to take my sling off since September 5th, I’ve managed to log over 70 miles on the trails! I am in love with the trails and can’t wait do my first 50k in December!!
2. Best trail moment this past month: Pacing Alexander (center) for his 100 miler in McCall, Idaho and hanging out with one of my besties: Joshua! BTW — Josh has his 100 miler is coming up soon!!
3. A great thing about being a Feetures! Ambassador: I was selected to wear test some new socks and provide some feedback. This was post trail hike/run, thus the dirt. If you haven’t tried Feetures! socks … they are my absolute favorite. No blisters, no chaffing, no rubbing. Soft, comfortable, and reliable! Find them here.
PS … My shoes are by Brooks! These are the Pure Grits and are my favorite trail shoe!
4. Lake Padden Trail Half is coming up soon and it’s not too late to register! Date of race is October 18, 2014. It is USATF National Championships so there will be some elite runners that you won’t want to miss!
This awesome photo is by Glenn Tachiyama and was selected for this year’s poster! Check out Glenn’s work here!
5. While I was working the expo booth for the Lake Padden Trail Half last weekend, I had the pleasure to meet Ken Foster and his lovely wife who were selling this product: Real Time Pain Relief. This stuff was amazing and I had to have some! My collarbone and shoulder is often sore, but after applying this product, I have had zero pain. The ingredients rival other products out there and to make it even better, it has a great smell (for real!). This product has reported effects of: reducing inflammation, relieving joint pain and sore muscles, increasing circulation, helping muscles to heal, relieving cramps, relieving sunburn and so much more. I am a believer after using it on my surgery site and also on my banged up and swollen knees after falling the other night. Visit the webpage HERE and enter promo code: 22128. If you have questions, Ken Foster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IM 70.3 St. George (StG) is an EPIC race of GRAND proportions. And, hopefully, this race report will do it justice and give you just a little taste of what the race was like. Epic and Grand? Yes, totally! And, during this writing, I might think of some other awesome, stellar, dynamite adjectives to add!
Preface: I have been training for IM 70.3 St. George since January, with IM 70.3 Oceanside as my warm-up. It was on tap to be my “A” race this year. My goal was sub 6 and I knew I was capable of that. In fact, I just hit a new PR in Oceanside just 5 weeks prior and I was (am) in the best racing shape I ever have been in. I was feeling very strong and confident going into this race.
I flew into Las Vegas the Thursday before the race and met up with some great friends. I rented a van and drove a couple of hours to StG, where I had rented a condo. This was my first time flying with my bike, so I was nervous as heck that something would not go back together right. My nerves settled as my friend, Josh, was able to help me put it all back together. (**A special thank you to Brent for helping me pack my bike and to the Bellingham TRI Club for the bike box loaner).
On Friday, I did a mini shake-out brick, consisting of a 20 minute bike ride and 10 minute run. Josh and I did this together near the condo, while our other friends (not racing) were out for a long ride together. Josh went to meet up with the girls, and I went to the expo.
Ironman Village, was located in the Town Square of StG. It was only a 10 minute drive from my condo. Plenty of parking and easy access. The expo had outdoor booths with vendors and the packet pickup had a tent with a long line. I waited and finally entered the tent. The day was hot and there was no shade, except for when I was inside the tent. The packet pick-up was seamless and I was off to see what the Ironman Merchandise tent had. I bought just a couple of t-shirts and water bottle.
I met up with Josh and the crew sometime after 2 pm and we headed out to check our bikes in at T1 – Sand Hollow Reservoir. We located the area and took some stunning photos of the water. It was so hot out and this was the first time I really thought about how the heat (THIS heat) might affect me on race day. It was dry and HOT. The temps called for mid 90’s on race day. It was low 90’s when I checked my bike …. uhhhhh … okay then. I can do this! I practiced with heat at home on the trainer. Long sleeves and a wool cap. That should be the same.
***(insert wide eyes here optimistic but realistic scared look here)***
3:45 am wake-up. A cup of coffee, 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. I got ready and we were all out the door by about 4:30. We went straight to T2, near the athlete village and dropped our run bags. We then said our goodbyes to our crew and we boarded the buses to the start. The drive seemed to take forever.
Once at the T2, I made my way to my bike and filled my tires with air, got my hydration bottles ready and laid out my bike gear. Two more trips to the porto-potty and I was good to go.
I met up with Ginger, Jazzy, Steph and Angelina for some last photos and before I knew it, I was in the water.
Another friend from the F3 community was in my wave and it was so nice to have someone there with me. Thanks Kim! This was her very first 70.3 and I was so excited for her, that I forgot about my own nerves.
The swim started in the open water. I had exactly 3 minutes to get to the red buoys in the water before the air-horn would blow for my start. From the pictures above, they don’t look at that far away, but they were! I didn’t even make it to the red buoys before the the air-horn blew. Dang it. I’m already behind. I started my Timex and started my race.
Head down, I told myself to relax and just swim. I had really worked on my swimming the past 3 months and knew I was capable of sub 48 minutes if I really worked. I wanted to get 45 or less truth be told. I held my own and could feel others swimming by me from the wave starts after mine. I was clawed at, hit, and grabbed. I maintained my position and kept swimming. The water started out cold (60 degrees), but I soon warmed up after about 10 minutes. I was breathing hard, reaching and pulling. Trying hard to focus on being relaxed and not slowing down.
Before I knew it, I was headed in and hit the mat running. I looked down and saw a 45 something on my Timex …. WHAT????!!!!! YES!!!!!! A huge smile formed across my face. I was so proud of myself. I did it!! It was at this very moment, I decided I didn’t care what the rest of my day looked like, I was so happy with this accomplishment. (If you have followed my triathlon journey, you know I didn’t even know how to swim just a few years ago).
Wetsuits strippers peeled my suit and I was running to my bike.
My bike … where was my bike? I was turned around and it took me a little bit to find it. Mistake #1, but not a biggie. I still had a faster transition time than I’ve ever had! I was off and pedaling.
The bike … Oh the awesome, amazing bike! This truly was the course of all courses for beauty and scenery. I took it all in because it was breath-taking. It was also the hardest bike course I’ve ever done. The hills never seemed to stop and the descents were sparse. I felt solid on the bike and took in plenty of fuel for the run.
Coming into T2, I could not locate my run bag. It took me an extra 30-45 seconds. Mistake #2. When I finally found my spot, I racked my bike and quickly changed shoes. I grabbed my run belt with bib, visor and water bottle. I was off.
It was hot out and I pushed it out of my mind for all of about 2 seconds before I thought about it again. Dang … it’s hot! Shuffle. Small steps. Just keep moving. My coach, Daryl, told me if I was breathing too hard, to slow down. Okay then, I was breathing hard and I was in the first mile. Granted the first 3 miles are all uphill. Not just little hills, they gradually became bigger by mile 3. It was about this time, I thought my head just might pop off my body. My head was seriously throbbing and my face felt hot, like steam was coming out of my ears. I fueled at every aid station and dumped ice down my top and shorts to cool my body temp. Nothing seemed to be working.
I will admit at this point, about 3.5 miles in … I thought about stopping at a medical tent and calling it a day. I had PR’d my swim after all and had an amazing bike ride. I just could not get the throbbing in my head to stop and I was not sweating. My clothes were wet from ice, but my skin was bone dry. I thought I might have a stroke or something my head hurt so badly. I walked. I thanked the volunteers. I tried to stay positive because that is who I am. I thought about everyone cheering for me and eventually I kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept at it for miles. So many thoughts swirling in my head: Why did I sign up for this race again? I am never doing another Ironman. I think I like sprint TRI’s. Yeah, those sound nice. I do not like hot weather for racing. Me and Heat don’t get along. Ginger can’t do this race, so buck up and get going! Mikey would have killed this course. I loved the Yoga I did last night. Oh — that’s a cute TRI suit. Oh, HI! Where are you from? I wonder where Josh is. Is it almost over? These volunteers are so friendly. Oh, see … he’s walking too. Eek, does he know those black tri shorts are see-thru? Just say no to crack buddy. Looking strong Michelle! Run to that bush. Where is the shade? There is no shade here. Oh, photo op … start running and smile …. the random thoughts go on and on.
The scenery was gorgeous, but to be honest, I had a hard time enjoying it because I was suffering. I was not cramping however, which is the best news of all. I continued to jog/run/walk. In no particular order. In the last two miles, I put the hammer down and just wanted to be done.
Upon crossing that finish line, I was greeted by the nicest lady who helped me. I was not feeling well. At all. She asked me if I wanted to go to medical, but truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted. I saw my friends and thanked her for her time.
As I continued to exit the finishers area to meet my friends, my emotions overcame me and I started to bawl. Not cry … bawl. I’m not sure exactly what overcame me in that instant, the heat, the accomplishment of being done, my friends, the fact I didn’t feel well, or all of the above. Thankfully, my friends knew just what I needed … shade. And ICE. Angelina ran over to grab some ice from the medics and put some on the back of my neck and head. This did the trick because in about 10-15 minutes, I felt so much better.
We found Josh and took a few photos and grabbed food.
It sank in … I finished! My fifth 70.3 distance. I was happy and I was not going to be let down by my overall time. Why should I? There was too much to be thankful for.
*Swim PR (45:51)
*It was the MOST beautiful course — EVER!
*I finished (and I have the medal to prove it!)
*I had the best friends there for me (Thank you Josh for racing with me; and to Ginger, Jazzy, Stephanie, and Angelina for cheering me on all day. Also thank you to Doug and Stephanie for meeting me at the airport!)
*I had friends who wanted to race today, who were registered to race, but were not able to. I thought of them during my race! ❤
A few more Memorables:
1. I did not wear my Garmin. The day before the race, I knew I did not want to be dependent on my pace/time. I needed a stop watch for fueling, so I opted for my simple Timex for time only. This was a good call.
2. The volunteers were the best EVER. Like EVER. In all the races I’ve ever done … StG volunteers take the cake! I had all the ice, all the coke, all the love from the run course. Simply awesome!
3. Thank you to Gatorade Endurance for my fueling! The G Endurance Carb Energy Chews are the best! I am proud to be an ambassador for this company!
4. The entire race experience was unforgettable. In every way, even the hot run, I am so thankful for it. I now know what it feels like to be in an oven (on broil) and trying to run at the same time, up hill. That is the best analogy I can give you.
5. I have the best friends. They came from San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Each one of them inspires me.
It might seem like I’ve fallen off the training wagon coming off of Ironman Canada, but …
I really just fell off the blogging wagon. #oopsie
I’m pleased to report, however, I have been training again and LOVING IT! I decided to change my focus for the next few months to running in hopes of getting some of my speed back. Here’s a glimpse at my last several weeks post Ironman:
My awesome coach, Daryl, has me running 6 days a week, swimming on Mondays, and one bike on Wednesdays. I’m loving this schedule! I’ve only had one set back and it was last week. I came down with a nasty cough, body aches, and stuffy head, which all ended up in my chest. I physically was so tired and decided not to push it with training and instead, REST. I finished up this week with two solid runs. So YAY for that.
So, you might be wondering why I changed up my training. Well, I have a few running races on the horizon. My key race being the Las Vegas Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon on November 17, 2013. I’m shooting for a new PR!
I also have several other 1/2 marathons that I’m doing for training purposes. I completed one of them two weekends ago, thanks to my friends at FurtherFasterForever, with a free entry! And, surprise! Although I ran it for training only, I ended up with my second fastest 1/2 marathon time!
…. so, cheers my friends! To running in the rain, running on the road, running on the treadmill, running on the trails, running with friends, running solo, running early, running late, running without pain, running with sore muscles, …. running ANYWAY I can.
It was the 31st anniversary of Subaru Ironman Canada, and the inaugural location of spectacular Whistler.
With the alarm set, I woke up after just a few short hours. I was as ready as I could be. Thankfully, I had slept well the night prior (Friday night), so having a shortage of sleep the night before the race was no biggie, in fact, I expected this. I made my way downstairs and quietly made some coffee, a toasted bagel with peanut butter and had two small bananas. I got dressed, pulled my bottles from the refrigerator and freezer and left around 4:30 am. My friend Kari and I decided to meet to take the shuttle over to Rainbow Park, but as it turned out, we missed each other completely at our pre-arranged location.
I didn’t lose focus though and I told myself I would see her when I see her. I added a hand-held water bottle to my run bag for T2 (transition 2: the bike to run) and dropped off my special needs bags for the Bike and Run. All I had left was my morning bag of dry clothes and wetsuit/swim gear. I got on the bus from the T2 staging area and the driver shuttled a full bus of athletes to Rainbow park. It was still dark out and the bus was quiet. Everyone seemed to be focused.
The gentleman next to me tried to make small talk, but the only thing I really heard was that he chose the Whistler course over Challenge Penticton because he doesn’t like descending. I asked him if he practiced the bike course and he said no. Hopefully, my face didn’t give away my horror that he had not practiced this bike course. It was hella hard and he had no idea what he was in for. I was scared for him! But, I remained cool and told him he would do well and I wished him a great day. Secretly, I was so thankful I had the opportunity to practice this bike course two times leading up to the race. Both times were very challenging and had me questioning what the hell I was doing. In fact, the second time, I even questioned riding my TRI bike. I pleaded with my coach to use my road bike for easier climbing gears. He assured me (and he was right) that I should use my TRI bike.
I arrived at Rainbow park went straight to my bike. First things first … I needed to pump my tires. We were told that mechanics would be on hand with bike pumps in the morning, so I didn’t bother to bring mine. I took my bike and found a long line of other athletes waiting to fill their tires as well. So, I waited. About 20 minutes in all. When it was my turn, the bike mechanic filled my tires to 100 psi per my request. He even complimented me on my nails … telling me I had the best race nails he has seen. Why … thank you! 🙂 And, with that, I quickly made my way back to where my bike was to be racked.
(I just so happened to have snapped my friends my race ready nails before leaving for Whistler!)
I filled my aero bottle and placed 3 more bottles on my bike. I then started filling my GuChomps in my bento box when Kari found me. She was ready to go. Holy hell, she’s fast! I still needed to use the bathroom and the line was horrendous! Erg. Why is this always the case? I also needed to add some socks to my T1 bag (transition 1 – swim to bike). I did that first, then got in line for the porto-potty. I waited for what seemed like a long time, but really only took about 15 minutes. Time to don the wetsuit.
T1 was buzzing with athletes ready to go.
Kari waited patiently for me as I got into my wetsuit and we made our way over and dropped off our morning bags.
This is it.
I’m doing this.
2.4 miles to start.
140.6 in total.
Today is Ironman time!
Deep breath. The sun was rising and the clouds cast a haze and a beautiful fog over the water. It was gorgeous.
Swimming. Oh, how I used to dread swimming! I’m still not great at it, but I practiced swimming much more this year than I did for my previous Ironman. I knew I was a little faster, so the first goal I set for myself was to do the 2.4 mile swim in under 1:45:00. That seemed doable, given the fact that two years ago, I did a 1:53:00 something. My coach had high hopes for a 1:35:00, but I seriously just wanted to get under 1:45:00. So, there it was …
GOAL #1. Swim a sub 1:45:00.
The pros started 7 minutes ahead of the age groupers and then it was go time … 7 am.
The course was a two loop swim, counter-clockwise, starting from the water. Kari and I made our way in and took a few strokes to warm up and make sure our goggles were on right. I knew I would lose her soon enough in the mass of 2600+ people.
The gun blew and we were off. I found my stroke and remained calm, even though I was surrounded by hundreds of people. I kept telling myself to follow the bubbles, get on someones feet and follow them. Conserve energy and breathe. Half way through the first loop, some guy was breast stoking and kicked me right in the goggles. OUCH! Thankfully, they didn’t come off, they were just shoved deeper in my skull. Thank you mister, now move outta my way!
The first loop went by in what seemed like no time and I was excited to start my second loop. I was also very thankful the race directors didn’t make us exit the lake to run ashore and then back in again. I looked briefly at my watch and noticed it was roughly 47 minutes. Not fast, but not as slow as last time. Push! I wanted to make under 1:45:00. I focused on my breathing, stroke, reaching, pulling, gliding. The final stretch, I increased my arm cadence and gave myself a push. I came out of the water at 1:43:25. YES!
Goal #1 — accomplished!
I ran up to the wetsuit strippers and was quickly stripped from my BlueSeventy. Some nice volunteer handed me my swim to bike bag and into the ladies changing tent I went. I sat and peeled off my compression sleeves. I contemplated wearing them all day, but I really wanted the full compression sock. Another nice volunteer assisted me in putting them on and then I was off to find my bike while she put everything away for me (my wetsuit/goggles/cap). There weren’t many bikes left in transition, which meant one thing … I am still so freaking SLOW at swimming.
My buddy Dave, captured this shot and posted it to Instagram:
Oh well, I made my goal. I was smiling and happy to start my bike leg. 112 miles of the toughest riding I have EVER done. Seriously.
I set off easy enough because I knew I would need to have a lot left in my tank to climb the final 20 miles back to Whistler. The bike course was absolutely stunning and I really loved the fact that Ironman shut down most of the roads, especially the out and back to Pemberton, and it was smooth sailing. The riding conditions were near perfect.
Out and back to Callaghan whizzed by and before I knew it, I was heading back to Whistler. I knew I would see my family along the course and they caught me riding by! With a huge smile on my face!
I was just over a 1/3 of the way done and I knew I would zip out to Pemberton, which was mostly downhill with one steep climb called Suicide hill on the way. There is no climbing this hill in anything but the granny ring. I made it to Pemberton in no time and it was nice the community of Pemberton was out there to cheer us on. Afterall, Ironman had completely shut down the entire road from Pemberton to Whistler for this race, so they were kinda stuck for several hours. The special needs station was a lot sooner than I anticipated and I completely went by my bag and stopped about 50 feet away. No one could find my bag! I kept yelling “626?” … no one could find it. After a few minutes, some volunteer realized she had been holding it the entire time. OOPS. No biggie. It’s not like I was going to win this thing. I quickly grabbed some pretzels and took a swig of a 5 hour energy drink. (OOPS — something I’ve never done! …. oh well). I exchanged two of my bike bottles, since I was drinking a mix of OSMO and nothing else. And, off I went. Out and back in Pemberton was flat and fast.
I passed several people and spoke to a few along the way, asking them about their day. A few were chatty back, which I love! Rounding the corner in Pemberton to make my way back to Whistler, I knew I was in for some tough hills. This was the final push I had been scared of for months. I knew I would do it, but I was going to be in a pain cave for a bit. I was not focused on my time, I was only focused on nailing my nutrition.
Goal #2: Nail my nutrition! (Because … well, most of you know what happened in IM 70.3 Boise …)
For the bike, this meant drinking at least one bottle of OSMO per hour. I consumed 2 GuChomps on the 1/2 hour and 4 GuChomps on the full hour. Once I hit 3 hours, I started eating some pretzels and I ate 1/2 of a Protein bar. I carried on until all my GuChomps were gone!
The climb back to Whistler went better than expected. My quads were a little sore, but that was to be expected. I made conversation with a gal from Michigan and we endured the long climb back together. Heading into Whistler, there were several turns and tons of spectators cheering as I came into T2.
I dismounted and began to move forward, but lost my balance and dropped my bike. Thankfully, I didn’t go down with it, but I hated dropping my bike nonetheless.
I handed my bike off to the volunteers and ran to grab my T2 bag. I had legs!! They were moving. I ran into the changing tent and exchanged my bike shoes for my Brooks Launch running shoes. Brand new … since I love running in new shoes! It was go time. I grabbed my hand-held water bottle with OSMO and I was off.
Whoa – wait — quick stop at the porto-potty. Ok — now I’m off.
(My friend @trisilk caught this picture and video of me coming out of T2 and posted it to Instagram!! Thanks buddy!)
Ok, nice and easy I told myself. Break it into 30 minute segments. I’ve done this a million times off the bike. I’m the queen of bricks. I love bricks. My stomach was queasy and my quads were sore, but I wasn’t cramping! That was the good thing. Keep moving forward I told myself … no matter how slow, keep moving.
I made 3 more porto-potty stops in the first 13.1 miles, thinking I had to pee, when in actuality, I could barely eek out anything. It was my body yelling, “PSYCH! GOTCHA!” Damn … ok, let’s just do this.
I kept a steady pace and played leap-frog with several runners on the course. I’d walk for 30 sec to a minute per aid station, and run the rest. I was doing my plan!! I was running more than walking and I couldn’t have been more happy!! My quads were on fire … FIRE! But, hey, I just figured they were telling me that I had kicked ass on the bike course and they should be on fire. So — keep going girl!
And – I did.
With an enormous smile on my face.
I loved seeing my family out there and my friends, John and Judy.
I saw Kari on an out and back and she was behind me just a bit. What the heck? She had been ahead of me. I later found out that she had a pit stop in T2 that was a bit longer than mine. We played leap-frog a bit and it was great to see a familiar face. Towards the end, I saw my buddy Glenn, and he ran with me for a bit, but urged me to carry on without him.
Rounding the final corner to Ironman run course, I saw the time. I could see it was 12 hours and 53 minutes. WHAT?!!!! I hadn’t been paying attention to my overall time, just trying to nail my nutrition and take each leg for what I could do.
Goal #3: complete Ironman Canada in under 14 hours! (My first IM was in 14:06:00). Read about my IM Canada 2011 experience HERE.
Accomplished, tackled, nailed, smashed my PR by ONE HOUR and 12 minutes!!!
In less than a week — my second Ironman will be reality!
Am I nervous? Hell ya!
Scattered? … what was the question?
Am I capable? Darn tuttin!
I know I have worked my butt off the last 14 weeks — thanks to my awesome coach, Daryl! So much so, in fact, it has been nearly impossible to keep up with blogging! Fourteen weeks went by in a hurry and although I made several attempts and drafts for my weekly training reports … well, they just stayed in draft form. #sorryimnotsorry
In a nut shell — here is what I’ve accomplished the last 14 weeks:
125 hours and 5 minutes of swimming, biking, and running
1512 total miles of swimming, biking, and running.
I’ve gotta say, after adding those totals … I was pretty pleased. I’ve trained harder and smarter this year and I’ve been able to ride the Whistler course two times. I feel prepared in my training and know that I won’t make any physical gains this last week.
Mental preparedness is now my calling.
“Swim to ride, ride to run, run to win,” says my coach. Cheers to that!
With my race bag packed two days ahead of schedule, I was more than ready to take on IM 70.3 Boise.
5:30 am rolled around the Thursday before, and I said goodbye to the family and drove away. This would be my first, and hopefully my last, LONG solo driving adventure. I made six pit-stops along the way before arriving in Boise some 10 hours later. My child-hood friend, Rae, had invited me to stay with her and her husband, Casey, for the long weekend. Both being triathletes, and having done Boise in the past, Rae and Casey were a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.
Boise day-of-race, I was told, was a crap-shoot. The weather often toyed between down-pour rain and freezing temperatures (2012) and soon-to-be, sweltering hot this year. I was also told the bike course was always windy. ALWAYS. So, I’d better hold back on pushing too hard on the bike and save some energy for the run.
Rae chauffeured me around, which I loved because I didn’t have to figure out where to go, when to be there, etc. We headed for packet pick-up Thursday night. It was a seamless process and very well-organized with tons of volunteers. It could have been that I also beat the rush of the crowd that were due to show up on Friday to check-in since race day was Saturday. In any case, it was super cinchy and I was in and out in no time! I was also able to add my local TRI team to the IM 70.3 Boise list, The Bellingham TRI Club, at the last-minute.
The expo was pretty non-existent, compared to other events I’ve been to, but what I really cared about was the IM 70.3 Boise gear! I scored:: new Tri shorts, pint glass, water bottle, t-shirt, M-dot ornament, and cookie cutter. Cheesy I know, but I like that stuff!
My highlight on Thursday, besides being in Boise for the first time, was meeting Alexander Ford and his family, and other FurtherFasterForever Tri Peeps who I have been following on Instagram. We met down at a local brewery, called 10 Barrel.
On Friday, I did a quick shake out bike and run and Rae joined me. It was already so hot out!
We took my bike to check in at T1 at Lucky Peak Reservoir, where the swim was going to be. Looking out at the water, the first thing I noticed was all the waves and choppiness from the wind. Oh my. A bit of panic set in. I gulped. Rae asked me if I wanted to get in. Uh …. no thanks. I think I’ll wait until tomorrow and wing it. (and, PRAY that the wind dies down between now and race time).
Friday night dinner was home-cooked spaghetti with french bread. YUMO! (thanks Rae!) I prepared my race bags and made my hydration bottles. On my down tube, I made a mixture of 3 scoops CarboPro with GUbrew electrolytes. I froze this bottle and intended to sip from it every ten minutes on the bike until it was finished. My aerobar bottle was water with GUbrew and I packed two more GUbrew electrolyte tabs for replacing the water at the aid stations on the bike course. With one bottle in the freezer and the other in the refrigerator, I bid everyone goodnight.
Race morning, I slept in a bit. After all, IM 70.3 Boise is a 12:00 start. I don’t know any other 70.3 races that have a start time this late, and I’m not a fan. With the heat of the day ahead, I would have much preferred a morning start time.
I had my pre-race breakfast, 1/2 plain bagel with a banana and a cup of coffee. I can’t eat much before a race and I knew I had been carbo loading and eating and hydrating with electrolytes really well the past few days, so that didn’t worry me. We left Rae’s house around 9:15 and headed to T2 to drop my run bag. This race is a clean transition race, meaning EVERYTHING has to be in either the run or bike bag. No footprint for a transition zone whatsoever at either T1 or T2. Just your bag. In fact, the T1 bag had to be hanging from the bikes. Nothing on the ground.
I met up with Alexander and Rae gave him a ride to Lucky Peak swim start too. We parked and hiked about 20 minutes to get to the start. I had to set up my bike bottles and get my tires pumped. No transition zone to set up, so I just hung my bike bag from my handlebars.
Then the wait for my swim wave. I was in WAVE 5, which was set for 12:15. I was relatively calm considering the water was a choppy mess. This would be my rockiest swim EVER. And, if you have been following my blog or know me, you know how thrilled I was with this. Nonetheless, it was GO TIME. Time to conquer this swim. Goal #1 was a 45 minute swim. Given that the water was so choppy and everyone was rocking, I told myself I would be happy to finish under an hour.
The horn blew, and just like that … I was off. The swim felt remarkably solid for being thrown around like a lonely towel in a washing machine. I didn’t dare stop for the one time I did, I ended up with a load of water right in my face. Forge on. I swam to the outside left, way away from everyone or anyone coming up behind me. And they came in droves. I didn’t care if I swam an extra 1/4 mile, just so no one swam over me or kicked me. I was swimming for what seemed like forever, but all the while, I was very comfortable. YAY for some progress! I came out of the swim feeling like a million bucks and prepared to rock the bike course. Wet suit strippers at the top of the hill skinned this rabbit and I was off to find my bike bag.
Slow transitions seem to be my specialty and I need to find another gear to speed up my transition zones. I dried my feet, put body glide on them, socks, then bike shoes. Glasses, then helmet and oh yeah …. wetsuit and goggles/cap in the bag cinched up. Away I went.
The air was warm and dry and I quickly warmed up after the chilly 60 degree swim. My feet, which are typically frozen for quite some time, liked the ‘warmness’ of the air. A quick descent right out of T1 and I was on my way. EASY I told myself. Hold back.
HOLY WIND …. okay, then …. this makes it easy to hold back. Sideways, pushing, almost loosing control of my bike a couple of times type side wind. Headwind on descents made it hard for the so-called easy recoveries. So, I kicked it down to easy gears and just remembered my quick cadence. I took a Peanut Butter Gu at 30 minutes in and again at 1:30 and a Roctane GU at 2:30. I used CarboPro with electrolytes every 10 minutes. I used salt tablets 3 times on the bike and I consumed water with electrolytes from my aerobar bottle. I’ve got this. The miles clicked by and I was passing people in my age group left and right. How can this be? I was riding super easy, not pushing it at all. OH YEAH … I was so looking forward to killing it on the run!
The miles seemed effortless on the bike and before I knew it, I was finished! This time really sped by for me. The course itself was really nondescript and not the prettiest of courses I’ve ridden, but I didn’t mind it. A couple of hills, but nothing to write home about either. The only real killer was the wind and one technical trail – single track – with no passing. It was downhill at first and I wasn’t prepared to quickly go uphill and I was in my biggest ring. OUCH! I had to suffer the mash-fest to get up the hill because I didn’t want to drop my chain or get chain suck from shifting.
Hwy 21 was most remarkable on the bike and a guy standing on the corner made me laugh. He was holding a big yellow sign that read, “GO RANDOM STRANGER!” His friend was holding a sign that read, ‘THIS IS A MOTIVATIONAL SIGN.” For whatever reason, this made me LOL.
Coming into T2 – I knew I was prepared to run. This was my speciality and I had been practicing bricks for the past 22 weeks. This run was mine for the taking. Settle in, steady pace … break it into thirds and race the last third. I’ve got this.
I quickly racked my bike, changed my shoes, grabbed my hat and race belt and I was off. One quick stop at the porto-potty. I tried to pee on the bike, but I just couldn’t do it. Literally, I couldn’t make myself go. I tried. And tried. And tried. Seriously. Couldn’t make it happen. So, into the porto-potty I go, but I really didn’t have to go … so maybe that was my problem.
The run …
….. oh, this run.
I am a runner. I’ve got this …
Four minutes in …
UGH, pain tightening in my left quad. Pain so bad I know I needed to stretch the sucker out. I moved out of the path and started to lift my left heel to my hand for a good ‘ol quad stretch …
ARRRRGGGHHHHHH! Charlie horse in my hamstring … opposite side. F%&* S($# (many expletives I can’t remember here).
I am bent over in excruciating pain. Unable to move. After a couple of minutes bent at the waist massaging my leg, I try to walk. And … I’m limping. It hurts. Tears start flowing out my eyes. I look at my watch and know I will have to walk this 13.1 miles or a majority of it and my goal of sub 6 just went out the window. I cry harder.
Wiping my tears under my glasses, I continue walking as other athletes are running by me. It’s such a pretty run course, on a paved trail next to water and trees. I want to run so bad. What the heck?? I fueled just right, didn’t I? I hit mile one in 10 minutes. Geesh. This is going to take forever. First aid station, I down some water and get some ice. I chew on the ice and the rest goes in my shirt and down my shorts to cool me off. It was the hottest part of the day and now I was grumpy. Cranky grump. But, I continued to talk to people and walk with others when I could. I stopped at every aid station and kept drinking, only now I started drinking coca-cola. OH, this is good. I jogged a little, but mostly walked.
After a couple of miles, I felt a raw type pain on the back of my left ankle. What the heck? I look down and it’s rubbed raw. UGH. I stop, pull up my sock over it and carry on. At the next aid station, I get a bandaid for both ankles because it’s rubbing raw on both ankles. I’ve never had this problem before. EVER. I stop again at the next aid station because my first bandaids came off. That’s when I realize …
hey dumbshit …. you forgot to cinch up your laces. How could I have forgotten that? Now I’m angry with myself and tell my ankles to just go ahead and bleed. I deserve it. Dummy.
Oh — and for pain’s stake … what’s one more bandaid change? They’ve come off again and I can’t seem to go any slower anyhow, so I take my time changing them out for the third time. Swell.
I was just finishing the first loop of the run course when I found Rae and Casey. I hugged Rae tight and told her what happened and I started crying again. She gave me a pep talk, but in my moment of delirium, I really don’t know what she said, but I kept moving. Casey told me to stop with the cola and switch to water. Good call … I listened. I started to jog slightly more the second loop and finished with a new PW. Personal Worst.
Nonetheless, I finished.
And, I finished smiling.
I went straight to medical and told them how bad I was cramping. Hoping they would give me an IV of fluids to make me feel better, they gave me chicken broth. In my non-sensical rationale, I told them I had been consuming electrolytes all along and had no idea why I was cramping.
Casey and Rae took care of getting my bike and all my gear bags and helped me to the car. I took one picture with Alexander, who was waiting at the finish.
As I was taking this picture, I just felt sick. Nauseous. No sooner did they get me home, and I was throwing up the lame chicken broth. Oh yuckiness. I hate throwing up. I can’t remember the last time that even happened. Never in a race or after a race. I still had no idea what was happening.
I didn’t seem to come to my senses until after Rae and Casey fed me dinner at 9 pm that night. I felt much better, even though I really didn’t want to eat and my throat hurt from throwing up. I drank a ton of water all through the night and woke up just devastated. What the heck happened? I ran through everything in my mind again how I had awesome swim and an awesome bike … what the heck?!
My bike …
I went out to my bike in the garage and pulled my water bottle from the down tube. It was half full (or half empty at this point in the game). SHIT. I thought I had consumed almost all of it. After all, I was drinking from it every 10 minutes. I ran inside and asked Casey if he had dumped my aerobar bottle.
How much fluid was still in it?
CRAPOLA! Then I replayed the aid stations I went through. Only two had I grabbed a bottle of water. I poured half over my head and emptied the rest into my aero bottle before pitching it inside the trash zone. I knew I had to consume AT LEAST 3 full bottles while on the bike, probably 4 with the heat. I consumed maybe 1 to 1 1/2 bottles max.
SIGH. THAT WAS IT. CASE SOLVED.
Time to regroup.
Time to recharge.
I have IM CANADA in 12 weeks and I need serious practice at hydration and fueling. Obviously.
Lesson learned – but it doesn’t make it any easier in the moment. I am so glad I finished and I never once thought I wouldn’t – it’s just not in me to quit. I am most thankful for all the support from my friends and family over Facebook, Twitter and IG. Thank you! Truly.
As Casey told me — Boise is DEAD to you. LOL! I love this. I may have to resurrect it next year.
Better late than never, here are my three things for this Thursday:
1. I had my first Open Water Swim (OWS) this week! I had put it off as long as possible and so … it was time. I am so used to the 80 degree pool at Bellingham Athletic Club, that the 60 degree water of Lake Padden was a bit shocking to my system. I must make myself get in a few more times before next Saturday.
2. My favorite day at work was yesterday! It was the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics of Washington. I run a leg or two of it every year during my work day and I am so thankful I have great bosses who let me take some time to participate in something I love. Yesterday, I ended up with just about 5.7 miles. I ran the first leg solo and then picked up my buddy and co-worker, Kyle, for the remaining miles.
3. In less than a week now, I will be in Boise, ID! Race day is Saturday, June 8th. I’m praying for nice weather.