Thursday, September 12, 2013

70.3 World Champs Race Report

The day could have went better to say the least…..BUT…with the journey I have decided to take and the mountain I have decided to climb there comes some valleys and some missteps.  I fell this last weekend.  Many things I could have controlled and others were out of my control.  Here goes my 70.3 Ironman World Championship Race report…

The finisher medal was totally worth it!
Training & Tapering….My training leading up to this race has been great despite the constant hamstring issue I’m dealing with, but I can deal with a little hamstring pain and if I take care of it I’m good to go.  My training has seen a lot of volume.  Maybe too much…I could tell leading up to this race a 4-5 day taper really wasn’t going to do too much.  It was almost too short to really bring recovery and too long leaving me feeling blah.  I may have benefited from a no taper.  

Goals….I did have big goals.  I usually do.  I started the race with a clear mind and knew what my plan was and I was prepared for things that may not go my way or at least I thought I was.  

Training and the days in Vegas….I was so happy to be away with Lee for a few days.  We usually try to spend a long weekend together, just the two of us, several times a year.  This year with my training and us wanting to spend free weekends with the boys we just didn’t get away.  The last time we actually went away was Hawaii in October to watch the IM World Championships.  So, I wasn’t fully in race mode and did enjoy a few dinners a little too much and paid the consequence on Sunday about mile 3, 5, 8, and 10 of the half marathon.  
Race morning

Race morning….My new breakfast plan….I went with hot rice cereal instead of potatoe/cottage bread.  I mixed in honey and nut butter along with a banana.  I loved it.  I think I will stick with my bread for Kona.  Probably more of because of the race I had in Vegas and the races I’ve had with my other breakfast.  Why try and change or fix something if it’s not broken?  

Nutrition….I never touched my IM perform on my down tube for the whole bike.  My plan was to have water in my aero bottle, IM perform on the down tube, a GU and Cytromax energy drops.  I barely got anything down.  I just wasn’t hungry and could feel all that food from the previous days just sitting in my stomach.  

Swim….We had to wait in a line with our wave for an hour in the rain.  I never thought I would be wishing for warmer weather at this race, but on race morning I had goose bumps and was chilled.  We had about 3 minutes in the water before our wave started.  I was right in the front and I’m telling you these women were not friendly once we were in the water.  Everyone was visiting and chatting the hour before the race while we waited in line, but once we entered the water is was like GAME ON.  I was kicked and punched before the air horn even went off.  The start was pretty brutal.  I just kept my head down and swam.  I was very proud of myself the whole swim.  I felt I swam pretty straight and was able to feel the draft from other swimmers a few times.  I was planning to be out of the water around the 35 min mark and ended up around a 36 minute swim.  I was happy with the amount of women I was getting out with and felt I was going to have a great day!

T1…The run around the backside of the lake to T1 was crazy.  There had been 12 waves which went off before us and the desert doesn’t do too great with water drainage.  We sunk in mud up to our ankles.  I had a quick T1.  It was a long haul through wet dirt.  The climb out pushing my bike and seeing my bike go from black to a brown color was sad…I actually thought “Man, I don’t want to clean this thing!”

Bike…. As soon as I got out on the road and strapped my shoes tight I could feel the front didn’t feel right and then before I knew it my bike was slipping out under me and I was on the ground.  My front wheel was flat.  I started to change my tire and realized the pump I had in my gear bag was for my training wheels not my race wheels and I couldn’t air my tire up.  So, I picked my bike and wheel up and started running back to T1 in my bike shoes.  I was asking every volunteer for bike support….I had to run all the way back down the muddy hill filled with other racers pushing their bikes single file out of T1.  I felt terrible.  As I made my way to the bottom of the hill a guy starts telling me he has a wheel on his bike and I could use it.  How nice is that?!  I found out later he was sick and decided to pull the cord on the race when he woke up and saw the weather.  I quickly changed the tire over and aired it up.  The tire of his was flat, but there was a random bike pump just sitting there.  I thought…this is a sign that I’m still going to have a great race.

One of the last things I said to Lee was – no matter what happens out there – if I flat or crash I will finish.  So don’t be worried if you don’t see me for a while.  Once I was back out on my bike I was in heaven!  I love my bike and I love riding my bike fast – even in the rain.  My official time from my Garmin when I left T1 for the second time was 2:33.  Coming into T2 I thought I can make top 10.
T2….went great – no issues.  

Run… I was out on the run in no time and felt good for the first mile or so.  My run splits were close to where I wanted them to be and I was planning to pick up the pace from there.  Then my stomach had other ideas and slowly I lost the fight – both physically and mentally but more than anything my strong mental focus I usually can rely on during a race was gone.  I just wanted to finish the race and not be looking for the next porta pottie.  I got through it and crossed the finish line.  So many lessons learned in a few short hours that it’s hard for me to say it was a bad race.  When things in life don’t go as planned, whether it’s a race or just getting groceries, we have a choice on how we react to the situation.  We can think about all the negatives and be grumpy and upset or we have the choice to accept what happened, learn from it, and move on to our next adventure.  I’ve made the choice to take option two – accept it, learn from it, and move on.  
Post my update on FB. 

Final thoughts… I learned a lot about myself and what it actually takes to have a great race.  Not that I didn’t know this before, but it’s easy to lose the mental focus in the days leading up to a race.  For me, I was happy to be getting away with Lee for a long weekend and wanted to enjoy our time together.  It was our 16th wedding anniversary. I ate more than I normally would have and didn’t make the best nutritional choices while we were in Vegas.  I had a very stressful week at home with the start of the school year and starting a new job.  I’m not making excuses for my results.  They are what they and I could have changed a lot of things before the race to have a different end to this story.  I didn’t and therefore I received the results I got.  There are so many decisions that are made before and during a long race.  I think that is part of the appeal of IM racing to me.  The winner isn’t necessarily the fastest person.  It’s the fastest person that day that made a lot of really good decisions for several hours.  It takes more than strong muscles to accomplish this…it takes strong muscles and a clear focused head. 

The venue…. It was interesting and not anything that I expected.  The bike course was hillier than I thought and the rare weather they had on race day made for a very interesting race. 
It was 111 degrees when I went riding in this picture.  Nothing like race day.

Lessons learned…So many…the biggest one is the focus I need for me before an important race.  Even though this sounds terrible, the truth is I know I have to become more self-absorbed and take any added stress out of my life.  Being organized is a huge part of getting rid of the stress and having a supportive family is the biggest key for me.  I will be heading to Kona two weeks before the race.  These next weeks before I leave at home with be filled with quality sessions and not a lot of volume.  For one, I don’t have the time.  Second, I have a ton of volume from summer and my body doesn’t need all that right now.  I have an apt scheduled for my hamstring on Monday.  I literally couldn’t sit after the race I was in so much pain.  I had my EMS (electric stim machine) hooked up for the plan ride home.  

I’m looking forward to these last few weeks and I’m not going to waste a moment!  Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive in this journey.    

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vegas I come

Kona is a little over a month away and as I type this Lee and I are on our way to Vegas for the 70.3 World Champs.  Crazy how fast the summer flew by and before I know it I will be on a plane to the Big Island.  It gives me butterflies just thinking about the opportunity I have earned.

Tomorrow (the 6th) is our 16th wedding anniversary and 7 of the previous 9 years Lee has spent our anniversary at an IM - either watching with me, volunteering with me, or being there to support me while I race.  All I have to say is – What a guy.  He did let me know that next year, come September, he will be hunting every weekend of the fall.  Sounds like a good plan to me.  I’ll probably be right there with him in the duck blind.
My best friend, Lee

These last two weeks have been very hard trying to fit in my training, work, and being a mom.  There are things I have decided that aren’t that important right now and everything doesn’t have to be perfect or according to plan.  Lee and the boys have picked up a lot of the slack around the house since I’m back working and just can’t get to everything.  We are ALL doing a countdown to Kona.  For one I think the boys will be happy to have me around more and I think Lee will be happy to not have so much on his plate too.  I think they have a new appreciation of all the little things mom did behind the scene that just got taken for granted.  Which makes me realize this whole Kona thing really is all about the journey for not only me, but also my boys.  
The Andres boys on the first day of school.  I was able to keep our breakfast tradition of homemade carmel rolls on the first day of school still going this year...and I even got a yoga class in before they got up.

Here is a little pre-race report from me leading to the 70.3.  I’m trying lots of new things which I always tell people never to do on race day.  I’m trying a new breakfast, new bike shorts and top, and a pair of shoes I ran 2 miles in yesterday.  I’m even going with some new things on my bike.  I’ll make sure I give an update on those post-race.  This is my run through for Kona…my double check of things.

I’m feeling really good…strong and solid.  I’m not where I want to be in terms of fitness…yet…but I don’t need or want to be there until October 12th.  I still have a training block to complete after Vegas.  This race, this weekend, is my springboard to jump my fitness to the next level.  The only issue is my hamstring has been bothering me lately, but I found out when my bike had some work done on it a few adjustments were missed and/or changed.  I haven’t felt right since I got it back from the shop, but chalked it up to my training.  Another bummer was finding out last night while my bike was being boxed up that my carbon seat post is bent.  It was over tightened at the bike shop. 
By no means are any of those two things excuses I will allow myself to fall back on when the race gets hard.  I have worked so hard this summer for these two races – Vegas and Kona.  I will be putting it all out there come Sunday when wave 16 (women 35-39) starts.  Go Hard or Go Home!  Bring the heat, bring the wind, and bring the hills cause I’ve been waiting months to swim, bike, and run fast.

Goals…I always have those!!  One of my big goals is to be able to manage the heat.  I’m very curious to see how the heat feels, how I tolerate it, and how it affects my times.  My swim goal is to go hard.  I find in previous racing I just swim relaxed and don’t push out of my comfort zone like I do on the bike and run.  My bike goal is to stay aero and focused the whole time and no matter what happens to stay relaxed and make good decisions.  On the run – its 3 loops….My plan is to be able to run stronger and stronger with each lap.  Making the podium in my age group will be amazing and I will be shooting for a spot on the stage.

Lastly to my friends Sara Carlson and Jarrod McKinney who are racing IM Wisconsin on Sunday – Go out there and Rock that course!  Enjoy the day and stay strong and focused.  All you need to do is keep moving forward.  You will be an Ironman!!  Also, to my good friend Sarah Simpsom who will be running herself to a Boston marathon qualifying time on Sunday morning - You got this girl!!