Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would see a twelve on the clock when I finished my first Ironman. I knew I would finish. I told you I'd you finish. I wanted to finish in less than 14 hours. I thought, given the right conditions, that was possible. I even told you that 13:00 would take a perfect day. I wasn't sandbagging' - I promise...so all I know to do is tell you the story....I decided to break my race report into three sections: the swim, the bike and the run...
swim [2.4 miles]
I slept very well the night before the race... I actually didn't want to get up when my alarm went off at 4:00 am.
Going into the swim I was worried about two things: (1) the water temperature of the lake; and (2) the mass swim start with 2,300 athletes getting into the water at the same time. I swam in the lake three times prior to race morning; the first day, I froze. The second day, I was fine after about 2-3 min; the last day I acclimated in about 30 seconds. On race day, it wasn’t a factor at all. I went without the neoprene hat and booties, although there were people wearing them. I’m guessing the water was 63-64 degrees? I was very thankful that I did the practice swims and that the cold wasn’t a factor.
Oddly, I wasn't nervous race morning. At all. I was just excited and so ready to start the day. You know that feeling, right? The one where you've waited and waited on something, and the time is finally here, and you don't know anything else to do but to throw yourself into it like there's no tomorrow. I got everything set up in transition, dropped off my special needs bags and then just waited for the race to begin.
The pros went off at 6:30 am. Breathe. Say goodbye to ‘Team Erin’. Head to the beach to line –up. Decided against lining up to the far right like I originally planned; there were people lined up all the way down the beach – way far right - , but there was no way I wanted to swim that extra distance. Decided to line up right in the center, near the back.
The cannon is loud and we’re off, 2300 jacked up athletes hit the water. [I counted to 10 when the cannon went off, then hit the water]
Swim, 2.4 miles – two 1.2 mile loops with a short run on to the beach between. My personal estimated time is 1:45-55, but I know better than to set goal times here. I just wanted to make the swim cut off.
I get in the water, and am surprised by the amount of personal space I actually have in the water. They are people all around me, but I swim with wide elbows and am happy that I am not getting pummeled. Even better, I do not need to sight very much since there are plenty of other athletes to do that for me. When I survived the first 200m without any signs of panic, I knew it was going to be a great day.
The turn buoys (2 of them) are where it gets rough – it’s a bottleneck. People on top of people. Some are still trying to swim. There is no swimming here. I get knocked in the head, kicked in the stomach and someone attempts to mount me (which was received with an elbow and a strong kick). I slowly made it around both buoys and and find my own space again.
We turn and face directly into the sun. I can hear the guards on surfboards yelling “to the right.” The school of fish complies.
There’s more space now, I can get into a rhythm and I’m only occasionally bumped or kicked.
I’m closing in on shore and people are starting to stand up and walk. The water is so shallow here. I swim as long as I can. I see the clock and it’s around 45 min. I’m pretty pleased. Run over the timing mat and head back in.
There’s a girl next to me swimming the same pace. I try to stay with her. I wish I could tell the zig-zagging guy in front of me to stop kicking so much. You’re in a wetsuit. You’re doing an ironman swim. You don’t need to kick up a storm. I keep trying to go around him but he keeps zig-zagging. Even after I got nailed in the eye by the guy zig-zagging kicking like crazy, I laughed and giggled to myself over and over at how much freakin' fun this was!
The second lap is rougher as the current has picked up. I swallow a good amount of lake water but I don’t care. I am doing an Ironman and am determined to enjoy every moment of it.
Reach the turn buoys again. More bottle neck. I am thankful this is the last time I have to go around the buoys.
Turn, into the sun. Men on boards yell “to the right!” I have the routine down.
Turn again, heading home. Last bit of the swim. I feel like I could keep swimming, I almost can’t believe this part is already over. And this is good. I am surprised about the amount of people still in the water behind me; I had fear of being the last one out of the water.
The little dots of people lining the shore are getting bigger. I hear the music. I hear names being called. I wonder if I will see Team Erin.
The clock is 1:35 and change when I get out, 1:36 by the time I cross the mat. I’m satisfied. I unzip my wetsuit and strip to the waist. I head toward the wetsuit strippers.
The strippers rock. They sit me down, peel my suit off my bottom half, heave me up, hand me my suit and send me on my way.
T1- Crowded. I just grabbed my bag and did it myself. I meant to put on arm warmers, but I wasn't feeling anything cold at that point. And I'm glad I forgot them, because it warmed up quickly .
Run out of transition with my bike. I see Team Erin and smile. I am happy to be on my way.
Swim Time: 01:36:06
T1 Time: 5:44
Monday, June 28, 2010
The day was amazing. I enjoyed every moment of it, although it was tough at times, and finished with a smile on my face.
I'll post a race report once I get back home, but I do want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone for their support, well wishes, thoughts and prayers. It meant so much to me, and pulled me through the tough times during the race. So, THANK YOU!!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I wonder how I got here, really, although I know exactly how I did.
Doubt is of no concern right now, there simply isn't any room for it, I have no use for it, and I would not allow it, anyways.
One does not get to the final days before an Ironman without many things going their way. Many sacrifices by friends and family. Many words of encouragement.I am grateful. As I read the emails, the comments, and the facebook messages, and I take the phone calls and hear the voice mails of encouragement, I am humbled by every one of you. You guys have shown me support and love and you've picked me up when I've been down. You've been patient and understanding when I haven't had time to blog, to show up in person, or even remember to do what I said I'd do. You've reminded me why I am here, and why I love to share my thoughts with you. Why I love to swim, bike and run with you - be it virtual or in person. And the motivating thoughts of how every last one of you has impacted my life will propel me to the finish line of Ironman Couer D’Alene... and I'll be thinking of you, you can count on it. You will be there with me. And, I am ready. And that bring me to the goals section of this document.
Writing down goals is hard because once you write them down, you can’t come back later and deny you ever said it. Once I write it down, it’s real and I’m committed.
My overall race goals are:
1. To not die.
2. To finish.
3. To finish in under 17 hours.
4. To finish in under 17 hours and still be standing.
5. To finish in under 17 hours and still be standing and smiling.
In ideal conditions, assuming I execute my plan perfectly, I am capable of finishing in 13-13.5 hours. I don’t think this is likely, but it’s possible. So, 13 hours would be a super bonus, breaking 14 hours would be awesome and just breaking 15 is kind of where I expect to actually finish. Slight (only very, very, very slight) disappointment starts to set in at 15 hours. Once again, number 1 goal is to not die…number 2 goal is to finish. The time doesn’t really matter.
I may or not have a chance to blog while I'm in Idaho. If I don't - think iron thoughts for me, and I'll see you on the other side...as an Ironman, baby.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I really never thought race week would come. But it has. We leave on Wednesday, and I still have so much to do. I said farewell to my bike yesterday, and it's on its way to C'ouer D'Alene as we speak. We will reunite on Thursday!
My last training weekend went well. Saturday, I headed out to Cedar Park and rode solo (well, kind of. There were a ton of people out there). I got in 45 miles at a steady pace, followed by an easy 30 min run off the bike. I missed my usual Saturday morning company on the bike, but the time alone on the bike was perfect for me to start mentally preparing myself.
Yesterday, was the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon which I used as a "dress rehearsal" for next week. One final run through. Except that I will be doing like 10x the distance next Sunday. Anyway, this is the third year I have competed in this particular triathlon, and I was anxious to see how my times compared. I was very so excited with my overall improvement from last year, and also improvement in each of the three disciplines.
2010: 1:17:04 (500m swim: 11:08; 14 mi bike: 43:17/19.4 mph; 3 mi run: 19:24/6:28 pace)
Not only was it exciting to improve, it was awesome to see so many friends out there racing, volunteering and cheer leading! This is one of my favorite races every year - not only is it close to home, but extremely well-organized and all around a great race!
I have some light workouts this week to keep the pep in my legs, but mostly I will focus on rest, as well as nutrition.
I will have my lap top with me in Idaho so I will try to do update this blog. On race day you can track me on ironman.com if you’d like to check in. I’m estimating about 14 hours if conditions are favorable, nutrition goes well and … well, if everything goes well. But really, it doesn’t matter when I cross that finish line. It’s going to be an amazing journey. I’ve worked hard to be able to make it.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
and, I think the nerves have set in! I've had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach the past few days. Anxious. Jumpy. Overwhelmed. Mind constantly running. Inability to focus. Deep in thought. Sounds like I need some adderall, huh?
I keep reminding myself to take deep breaths. This weekend I have my last rides - short 40-45 miles on Saturday + 30 min easy run, then Sunday the Lake Pflugerville Sprint Triathlon. It's a super short triathlon, which will be good practice for me to go through the motions one last time in a race atmosphere. Then I will say bye bye to my bike Sunday afternoon as it will make it's way to C'ouer D'Alene.
I hate to wish time away because this experience has been so special that I don't want it to be over quite yet...but I will feel better once my plane has landed in Spokane, I arrive to Idaho, I'm checked in, bike picked up and ready to go, Special Needs Bags packed, practice swims have been done...and the only thing left to be done is soak up the Ironman experience and RACE!
A few of my favorite quotes to calm my nerves...
"Anything is Possible" -Ironman Motto
"Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal."
"That which does not destroy me makes me stronger"
"Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles...brag for the rest of your life."
"I have met my hero, and he is me."
"You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face."
And, my personal favorite:
"If you can't fly, then run.
If you can't run, then walk.
If you can't walk, then crawl.
But whatever you do, keep moving." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
There is always a lot of excitement around this announcement ... not that the bib numbers themselves are all that exciting, it is the excitement of knowing that the assignment of bib numbers is just another sign that race day is almost here [as if the countdown clock approaching single digits didn't scream that fact to me already!]
Next week at this time I will be en route to C'ouer D'Alene!! There is much to be done in the next week, but once all of the packing is done (packing = stress) I am going to make a deliberate effort to take a deep breath and enjoy every moment of our vacation and the Ironman experience.
Let's do this!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Case in point. These are work conversations I've had today.
Co-worker: XXX is out sick today. Can you cover the front desk at 1 pm so I can go to lunch?
Me: Sure. (while thinking...1 pm. I need to check and see what time zone C'ouer D'Alene is in. Are they Mountain West? Pacific? Must do this right now. FYI - they are Pacific.)
Co-worker: Can you update the pool hours on the website? We've changed them.
Me: Sure (while thinking...I need to add extra swim cap and an extra pair of goggles to my packing list. Must do this right now.)
Co-worker: (enters my office with Starbucks coffee in hand) You know you're addicted to Starbucks when you come in, they know you're name, and someone has left a gift card for you.
Me: Haha (while thinking...of yeah, someone told me to bring my own coffee to Idaho because they have weird coffee over there. Who told me this? I can't remember. Must add coffee to packing list. Must do this right now.)
Then, after I take care of these very important Ironman related things, I can't remember what the heck I was even working on in the first place.
I fear I'm going crazy. Please help. :)
Monday, June 14, 2010
Am I really close enough to race day to be tapering? I still remember the day I signed up, almost a year ago. It felt like it would be an eternity before I’d start training in earnest, let alone race.
And then January came and I started doing basework, and Ironman seemed so remote. Unlikely even.
And yet here I am. Taper. Because I’m doing an Ironman. Soon. Crazy soon.
But right now, resting will be my highest priority. Rest up, recover, build. I know my body will thank me. I hope so because I’m going to be calling on you to come through for me in, oh, about 11 days.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I am starting to feel the hunger. The urge to race, to make my withdrawal from the Bank of Ironman, to get it on…
*excuse me, you, yes, you right there with the food in hand while sitting at the computer – are you gonna eat that?*
Um, yes, I’m feeling that kind of hunger these days too. Last week, there was a day where I had one dinner before my evening ride and another after I got home. When I got up to pee at 3am (well-hydrated machine, I am) I thought about food and if it was too early to eat something. Today I bought 2 lunches. You know, just in case I get hungry…oh, like 20 minutes after I eat the first one.
For some reason there always seem to be two open boxes of nuts in our house right now. Apparently if I have the box of nuts, Dan fears what will happen if he takes them from me and just opens a new box instead.
I’m not that scary when hungry, am I?
Well, I did yell at Dan last night for drinking the last of the Gatorades and insist he drive me to Sonic to get a Diet Sprite. (thank you!!)
Yeah. So. Anyway…It will be interesting to see how my body adapts to not training like crazy and eating normally when this crazy business is over. I think after a few weeks of replenishing the supplies drained by IM, it might settle down. maybe.
no blogging for me the next few days as I will be in San Marcos for work. Have a great week friends!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
As I look back on the incredible year leading up to Ironman C'ouer D'Alene, I can’t help but feel so SO grateful. I have a wonderful cadre of tri/running friends and training buddies, family and friends who got me to this point. The support, the gentle nudges, the sometimes violent pushes, the flexible scheduling, the eagerness to join on training sessions, the coaching, the laughter and tears…it is simply overwhelming.
To my family and friends, I say: You made my year. I’ll never forget it.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Last week's totals:
Swim - 12,628 yds
Bike - 135 miles
Run - 58.15 miles
Ironman is 20 days away. And, I have a strange sense of calm. Maybe it still hasn't hit me yet.
I had a solid training weekend, despite disastrous runs thanks to the ten zillion degree heat index and temps. The ride Saturday was awesome. I had great company which made the 80 miles fly by. I never thought I would say that 80 miles flew by, and that I actually really enjoyed a bike ride. We averaged 16.7 mph on a hilly course, and I was super excited about that. That's faster than I've ever averaged for that distance. Learning how to use my gears properly has helped a ton. I had a 12 mile run afterwards, and lucky for me it was like 1 pm and sweltering hot. Ugggggh. I ran the first two miles with a friend, and then he turned back because he was lucky to only have to run 4 miles. I was right at an 8 min pace for the first two miles, and picked it up a little by mile 5. That's when I started to lose it. It was simply too hot, and I simply had not drank enough water on my ride to prepare. I finished 9 miles at a somewhat decent pace and then walked/shuffled/crawled/pouted my way back to my car. I made it home and felt like sh*& for the rest of the evening. I guess 7 hours exercising in the Texas heat will do that too you. Went to bed early, and still woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. Fueled up anyways, and headed out for my 10 mile run. The heat and humidity was back again, no matter that it was only 8 am. This proved to be a mental battle that I was determined to win, and lucky for me I'm as stubborn as a donkey. I finished the run - it was slow - but I finished. I imagine Sunday's run will be like the last 10 miles of the Ironman marathon - a mental battle where you are fighting for every step.
After my run, I headed out to Lake Pflugerville for my open water swim. I think I was suposed to wait until later in the afternoon to do it, but I just wanted to be done with workouts and enojy the rest of my afternoon. The swim turned out much better than the run (never thought I would say that either). The water felt awesome, and my sighting was on point (for once). I rewarded myself with a very large and unhealthy meal at Buffalo Wild Wings afterwards. And, I did not feel one bit guilty.
Today's workout was only a swim, which I did at lunch. I would be excited about a free evening, only I have to come back to work tonight at 7:30 pm for a meeting. Excuse me, but do these people not realize I need to be in bed by 8:30 pm?? AND, I'm going to miss the Bachelorette!!
Ugh. Happy Monday.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I'm actually really excited about tomorrow's ride (did I really just say I'm excited to ride 80 miles!?). One of the guys I ride with on Wednesday evenings, invited to ride with his group out of Cedar Park. They have the route all mapped out, so all I need to do is show up and ride! It will be nice to ride a new route and meet new people. It will be another long Saturday of training, but I won't be out there alone.
This morning I received the most wonderful surprise in the mail; lots of really cool Ironman postcards with well wishes from family friends, relatives, neighbors. etc. It meant so much (thanks mom!), and the postcards will be traveling with me to C'ouer D'Alene to read one last time before race day.
As I'm getting closer to race day, I've been looking for the words to sum up this experience to date. Something that sums up this journey of self discovery. The gigantic leap that I took to change my life, to prove to myself that I was more than I ever thought I was, to realize that I had more courage than I ever thought, to learn who I am and put myself to the ultimate test. As cliche as it sounds the one word that always comes to mind is simple: believe. It's what I will be saying to myself on race day as times get tough during the race. Simply believe.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Not that I was productive besides getting my workouts done this weekend. Because I wasn't. The house is still a mess, and my to-do list is still a mile long, but whatevs.
I had a great ride with my coach on Saturday. Best.ride.ever. He taught me so much, most importantly how to use my gears properly. It was basically a crash course for Cycling Dummies. And, I am indeed a dummy because for over the past year+ I've had my bike, I have never ridden in my big ring; didn't know I had it. Just ignored the gears on the left of my bike because I did not know how to use them. So embarrassing. Turns out I should have asked because they're quite important. Anyway, I just picked up some speed after being introduced to my very important big ring, and I am super excited about it. We incorporated some hill repeats and intervals into our workout. It was hands down the hardest I have ever worked on my bike, but the most rewarding.
I ended up switching up my schedule a little bit, and decided to do my long run yesterday instead of Sunday. It was HOT, but I knocked out 21 miles and felt good. And strong. And ready for this race!
It's really funny to be how I have changed over this entire process. Not only have I learned so much about myself, but I no longer approach my weekend workouts with a sense of dread/resentment for sucking up my time. I look forward to them. I look forward to my Friday night routine of dinner, Friday Night lights and relaxing on the couch, in bed by 9. I look forward to early bike rides with friends and biking in new and different areas on Saturdays. I look forward to my Sunday long runs where I can reflect on the week and get ready for the next. It's become a lifestyle. And, one that I am really starting to enjoy.
I told Coach Shawn I didn't know what I would do with my free time afterwards. His response: "sign up for another one."
And, I thought a lot about this on my run yesterday, and thought, well, maybe I will.
But, not until I finish this one first. I've still yet to put all three events together, and I still have a huge task to accomplish in less than a month.