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.
When TIUX Compression socks reached out to me and asked me if I’d like to review them, of course I said yes! I love compression socks and have tried just about all of them. And, they came in my two favorite colors: Pink and Yellow (with lavender feet) — Bonus!
TIUX website reads:
Premium compression socks without the traditional retail markups.
We know compression socks are over-priced and over-marketed. So we made our own to prove that it doesn’t have to be this way.
So, they made the same quality product and only charge the customer a fraction of what other compression socks are charging.
I can say this with certainty as I’ve tried them: THEY ARE LEGIT. Compression in all the right places, no awful toe seams to mess with your shoes or your feet, great colors and best of all — my legs felt great! Oh — and did I mention, I took them for a long trail run my first time out? No blisters, no chafing, just compression sock goodness.
You know what else I loved? The packaging. I’m all about the packaging people!
Look at this cute box!
The box slides open to reveal the socks!
I’ve been asked what I love about compression socks. It’s how they make my legs feel: which is AWESOME! I like them before, during, and after long runs. Here is what TIUX says:
Why Wear Graduated Compression Socks?
Graduated compression socks have a higher compression at the ankle and gradually decreases towards the calf. Graduated compression will enhance circulation and increase the level of oxygenated blood to your legs, while pumping deoxygenated blood back to your heart. Stimulating blood flow helps athletes improve performance, reduce muscle fatigue and recover faster.
Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks
Provides muscle stabilization to decrease the risk of injuries and muscle tears. Minimizing muscle oscillation reduces soreness and fatigue so you can recover faster from a strenuous training session.
Improves agility and muscle efficiency with a heightened sense of body awareness. Greater movement efficiency will elevate your performance and reduce injuries.
Increased Arterial Inflow
Improves performance with greater blood flow to the muscles. Delivering oxygenated blood to the legs reduces muscle fatigue and speeds up recovery.
Increased Venous Return
Accelerates the rate of blood flow back to the heart to help alleviate swollen and achy legs. As deoxygenated blood is pushed up the leg, metabolic substances are removed to help muscles recover faster.
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!
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.