I’m EXCITED to announce my new sponsorship with gHP Sport!
When the vice president of gHP Sport reached out to me a couple of months ago, little did I know it would be a game changer. He asked me if I would like to try gHP Sport, a dietary supplement of eight amino acids. Unlike other companies who have reached out to me to try their products, Michael Cooper did not ask me for anything in return. He simply sent me information on gHP Sport and the science behind amino acids. I thought, why not? So, I said, “Sure! Send me some.” However, I did warn him that I hated taking pills of any kind and often forgot to take my vitamins.
My gHP Sport arrived about a month out from my big 100 mile race, Javelina 100. I was also doing a runstreak, where I was running every day for one year straight. I had a little over a month to go, which means I would have to run even after my 100 mile race. I was nervous for that day! I figured gHP couldn’t hurt and if it provided any advantage for muscle recovery and cell repair.
Now for the results (unsolicited from gHP):
After taking gHP Sport for just a few days, I immediately noticed I was sleeping so soundly and my digestion improved. Within a few more days, I had increased energy and my workouts felt great, whether it was before work at 4 am or 6 pm at night after work. I must be honest, as much as I hate taking pills (and these took me a couple of days to get used to), I kept with it.
Fast forward to my first 100 mile race and taking gHP Sport regularly. Not only did I complete 100 miles and earn my first buckle, I had the energy to jump across the finish line!
Now for the best part: After my 100 mile race, I was able to go up and down stairs without assistance and I was able to sleep all night without any pain relievers (ibuprofen or Tylenol). This is HUGE as I remembered how I felt after running 100k earlier this year … I could barely walk, sit, or sleep!
I was also able to run the very next day to keep my runstreak alive. Not only did I run, I felt amazing (after my 100k, I could barely run a 20 min mile. I was shuffling for sure. After my 100 miles, I ran a 12 min pace no problem!)
I’m telling you, the only thing that had changed between my 100k race (and several other ultras this year) was taking gHP Sport every day. It has simply been amazing!!
This product has some great reps too! Major League Baseball player, David Price, for one:
I contacted Michael Cooper again and told him how impressed I was and he wanted me (ME!) to represent gHP Sport. Of course I said yes! Anything to spread the word to all my friends. Within days, the team at gHP Sport created an Ad with me (again, ME! like really??) and gave me a coupon code to offer it to any of my friends or followers. If you want to order it for yourself, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! I say that with 100% conviction because again, I hate taking pills of any kind. And, not only are they are safe, THEY WORK! They also come with a 30 day money back guarantee!
To Order: Go to gHP Sport and enter happyTRIgirl in the coupon code field for 15% off!
Want to know more? Read on:
What is gHP Sport?
Created by an internationally renowned Cambridge and Harvard educated British MD, gHP Sport is an all natural combination, or “stack”, of pure, free-form crystalline amino acids that encourage ones body to produce agents that start the natural process of cell repair and regeneration. Improved sleep, increased energy, improved stamina, increased muscle mass, and a dramatic improvement in athletic recovery time are just a few of the beneﬁts one can quickly experience from taking gHP Sport.
The science behind this product is so unique and effective that it carries international patents to protect it, and it is the only product of its kind that is NSF “Certiﬁed for Sport” for use by professional athletes. The NSF “Certiﬁed for Sport” designation is only granted to a product that has passed rigorous testing and been proven to contain no banned substances based on the internationally recognized World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) Banned Substance List and Guidelines: http://www.nsfsport.com. Therefore, particularly in Major League Baseball, gHP Sport has become a staple in the locker rooms of Professional sports teams helping players with their performance and recovery.
7 KEY BENEFITS OF gHP Sport
• Enhance Athletic Performance
• Accelerate Recovery Time
• Improve Sleep
• Superior Stamina
• Increase Energy
• Whole Body Healing
• Strengthen Immune System
Try for yourself and see the difference! If you have questions, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A little over six weeks ago. The day was Sunday. The date was July 13th. It was going to be a long training day with great friends. We were one week out from Chelanman, an Olympic distance triathlon. I met Roxie and Rusty at Lake Padden for a swim, which oddly I have no recollection of whatsoever. I know we swam, I just can’t recall ANY of it, not even driving to the lake or what I ate for breakfast that morning. But, I know I swam and then we all set out for a long 50+ bike ride with a run to follow. This date was also going to mark my 54th day of running straight. My runstreak was going amazing!
I do recall some of my bike ride from Lake Padden to Chuckanut. I also remember passing a unicyclist and taking a picture of him behind me.
I almost hit this weird patch in the pavement along Chuckanut Dr and my heart was racing, thinking I was going to crash. I didn’t however. Not then …
As Roxie and I were coming out of Chuckanut Dr and onto the Skagit Flats, Rusty was about 200 feet in front of us. We were riding comfortably side by side in our aero position. AND, we just so happened to be talking about how nice it was to be able to ride next to someone and feel completely at ease knowing that neither one of you would make any overt moves to put the other in danger.
and then …
Without warning, it was like our front tires were magnetized, as they sucked in with such force and sent both of us flying. In less than a second, we tasted pavement. There was no time to react or think in this split second, we were already down before the thought popped in my head.
Our speeds had been between 21 and 24 mph, which propelled the both of so violently that neither of us could do anything to recover or break the fall. I went down directly on my right shoulder and spun around on my right shoulder-blade. I could feel the loose gravel below me, hot and burning. I had no idea where my bike was, but I looked ahead of me and could see Roxie about 15 feet away on her back and looking at me.
I was grabbing my right arm and trying to get up to get to her. I was kicking my legs and yelling for Roxie, apologizing because I had no idea what had just happened. Rusty came running back to us and I could hear him telling me to stay still. I could hear Roxie calling to me and apologizing too and all I wanted to do was get over to her to make sure she was okay.
I was a mess. Something hurt so incredibly bad, it was a type of pain I had never felt before. I realized I was grabbing my right upper arm and holding it close with my left hand, but did not know why. I had never broken a bone in my life … surely this couldn’t be broken. Just badly bruised I’m sure. Maybe not … it hurt like hell. OH DAMN!
I was pissed. Thoughts of my race the following weekend went through my head. This could not be happening. Get me up. Roxie! Someone call my husband. Mother F’er! Aaaggggghhhhh NOOOOO!
Volunteer firefighters showed up and they were kind. My RoadID was on my wrist but the older volunteer couldn’t understand to read the number, so I just gave him my husband’s number. It didn’t matter though because Rusty had already called Dean. Rusty was taking care of the both of us. The first ambulance arrived and took Roxie because she hit her head hard and was in and out of consciousness. I was sick to my stomach. What the hell just happened? All I could picture was our wheels coming together and the sound of the metal tangling and throwing us. I just cried. BECAUSE I was mad, pissed, confused, hurt, and sad that Roxie had been injured.
The second ambulance came for me and before they even tried to move me, they started an IV and gave me some pain meds. More flowed in the ambulance and I remember taking one photo …
The emergency room was a blur. I think I was on so many pain meds by this time. My husband and daughter showed up and I immediately started bawling and apologizing.
The x-rays were taken right in my room and showed a broken right collarbone …
I was told that most people don’t have surgery for a broken collarbone and it would possibly heal on its own, but since it was broken in more than one place with fragments in between, I might want to think about seeing an orthopedic surgeon for surgery. I made my way to Roxie’s room as we were both being discharged at the same time. Just walking a few feet to her room, I broke out in a sweat and had to sit down. It was not a pretty site and I felt nauseous.
We finally made it out of the hospital and picked up our bikes, which were so graciously taken to the nearby fire hall for safekeeping. The ride home was a pukefest and I felt horrible for my family having to listen to me. It hurt so bad to throw up because I didn’t have anything in me to throw up and it was moving my shoulder all around. UGH!
The next several days were spent high on pain medications because the pain was quite literally, the worst I had ever felt. It hurt to sleep, to move, and I was a dirty mess! I was frustrated that I couldn’t get into the orthopedic surgeon until Friday, July 18th, five days after my accident. However, once I did get in, the doc wanted to get me in for surgery right away to fix my collarbone, which was the first bit relief I had all week. Finally, someone to fix it! I offered him all sort of gift cards and incentives to fix it right then and there that day, but he laughed and said he liked my motivation, but suggested Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday it was!
Surgery day: July 22nd. I was excited and nervous. I just wanted to be fixed and whole again. Surgery was uneventful for me as I was under a pain/nerve block and anesthesia. Once the both of those wore off … sometime the next day …
ohhhhhh man …
WORST PAIN EVER! Even worse than the initial bike crash. What did I do? How long will this last? And, my pain meds weren’t even cutting through the pain. Thankfully, the worst of the pain was over within 48 hours and I was just really uncomfortable for the next week. My daughter was magnificent and took such awesome care of me, keeping me on schedule with my pain meds. The next week was spent in bed, watching a bit (or a lot) of Netflix and sleeping. I had never slept so much in my life!
Every day was better and better and I went off all my pain meds one week post surgery. I signed up for another 70.3 (Oceanside) and also planned my first 50K in December. Hey … I’m an optimist!
But, even optimists have their days of disappointment. For me, this came 3 weeks post surgery at my first follow-up appointment with my surgeon. I was ready to start physical therapy and most of all, run again! I was all smiles while I waited. I envisioned the doc telling me that I was ahead of most of his patients. I mean, after all, I was off all my pain meds completely after just one week post surgery and I was starting to feel good. (confession: I may have also googled PT exercises post CB surgery and tried doing a couple of them on my own using pain as my guide … I will soon find out that this was NOT a good idea. A very bad idea in fact).
He had me go take some X-rays and then I waited.
…. then … the worst news:
my collarbone was STILL BROKEN. What?!!! How can it still be broken?! I was so dumbfounded and upset. I was told not to move it AT ALL and keep it in the sling if I wanted it to heal properly. I told my doctor that I had been doing a couple of very easy exercises and was promptly told to stop doing that. I was told that I was NOT to use pain as my guide because I had no concept of pain … huh?
The doctor leaned in, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Gina, you are an Ironman. You can’t use pain as your guide. You have no concept of pain.”
I left the office feeling an all time low. What a setback. More sling life. BUT! Two positives: he told me I could drive and I could cycle on my trainer sitting up and keeping my arm tucked in. DEAL!
Other stellar positives include my wonderful friends and family who have gone out of their way to make my recovery the best. I have received the most beautiful flowers, food, magazines, friends spending their time with me, phone calls, and texts. My heart has been overwhelmed with the support. One friend even sent me his ultrasound device to heal broken bones. To those friends and family who have been there for me or have thought about me … I thank you! It has meant the world to me.
AND … as most of you know, I haven’t been just holed up in my house. I have been able to get out and about with some help and below are some of my favorite outings:
One more week and I see the doc again (Sept 5th). Praying for some good news … like perhaps I can go back to work and also RUN again!
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’s hard to believe one year has actually gone by since I started my happyTRIgirl blog! I have loved sharing my workouts, my goals, my race results (the good and not so … um, stellar), my pictures, and my life. Sometimes I have wished for more time to spend writing and recapping races, but work and life can get in the way of this hobby.
The best part of blogging? Meeting and talking with other bloggers! I have been inspired by so many and am thankful for all the people who follow my blog, through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and email.
I’m heading into 2014 with new training goals and I’d love to keep sharing my journey with you.
Do you have a favorite blog post of mine? If so, what is it? I can tell you from the audience stats, this blog had the most views:
Looking back over a year of blog posts as I was writing this blog put a smile on my face! It’s like re-reading a journal, only better because it’s laced with photos and nice comments from my friends (YOU!). So, with that … here’s to another great year friends!!
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!