Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's June and My Season Finally Kicks Off...

With a 10K!! June 12th, the Bellin 10k. With over 18,000 starters, I was worried about getting a good start without having an elite number. I have run this race many times before and it has always been HOT. Today, a little humid, but overcast skies. The race started with a waves so everything went pretty smoothly. the first two miles are a steady incline and with 12:20 on my watch, I'm taking it out slower than previous years. I hit the 5k mark in 18:40. yikes. Unfornuately, I thought that this was too fast a pace and follow-up with a 6:20 mile. ugh.

I get my thoughts on speeding up if I want to acheive my goals. I become very aware of how young the woman (girls, actually) are around me. I try to stay with them, but that are really picking up speed in the closing mile. I can see the clock and I try to push to go under 38, but it isn't going to happen 38:02. Goal met, however. previous age group record 38:55. I guess I have a goal for 2011. Probably not a great idea to torture my legs too much anyway with a half ironman a week later.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Potato 70.3

I should've made my appearance on here like 2 weeks ago but I have a really good excuse, I this is going to be partially a double race report but only a quick on on the first of the season since I titled this post Potato 70.3.

Anywho...unlike everyone else it seems, my season got off to a bit of a later start. This is my first year on the Zoot Ultra Team and I've been super excited to get my season going. We may not have really had a winter up here in the PNW, but now we're not really having a summer either. The lakes are still around 60, and even though I'm a Tennessee girl at heart, I think I've acclimatized quite well considering my size. I don't mind it all that much, it just means that the race season generally starts around May instead of March/April...which is also a good thing when you're going to CLEARWATER! (more on that later).

On May 30th I did the Shawnigan Lake Olympic Distance Triathlon up in Victoria, BC...kinda like my home away from home. My grandparents live there, I have lots of old training partners there, and my coach is there too, so it was lots of fun getting to see familiar faces and bike on some roads that I know quite well...the weather on the other hand...the water temp was around 56 degrees and the air temp was about the same as well. I'm okay with going numb on the bike. It almost seems normal now, but this one definitely ranked in one of my top 3 most miserably cold triathlon moments (just about even with Short Course Worlds in Vancouver 2008 for those who heard about how cold that one was...actually, maybe worse...because at that race I was actually able to get my helmet off). To sum it up so I can't get into my Boise report, the swim was COLD. Getting my feet in my shoes on the bike didn't work so well either, but luckily I went back and forth for 44k (slightly long because we were going around the lake) with a friend of mine which was a life saver. It kept my mind off how miserable I was. I never warmed up. Couldn't eat, shift, or grip onto my water bottle either. T2 was painful and after a few tries (with no luck) of getting my helmet unbuckled, I said to my friend Lindsay across from me, "whatever. I give up. I'm running with it." ha. yeah. I was gonna run 10k with an aero helmet on and had totally mentally embraced the thought of my finishing photos being the best out of everyone's because of it. There was, however, an official at the end of my transition row, and since I'm already familiar with TriBC, I knew they were allowed to unclick the clasp in such awful conditions. Clasp unclicked, I was able to get it off the rest of the way by myself and run without a helmet on. From there on out I eventually thawed out by 6k and finished off the day with a OA win. OH yeah, this was my first race as 25-29 too.

The reason I didn't post after that was because I was studying for the LSAT on June 7th. I figured that was a good reason. We don't have to discuss that though. It was fairly traumatizing. haha...but the better part of that week was going to Boise a few days later for one of my favorite races of the year.

So Boise...yeah. I was super super pumped. Despite many nights of fewer hours of sleep than I should've had while in training because I was busy taking a Kaplan class, working, training, and studying in what other free time I had, workouts were going really well. I know this is a race report, but one of my standard week before a big race workouts is 3x1mile fast. Before Clearwater last year I went 5:35, 5:40, and 5:45. It's only the second race of the season and I knocked out a 5:21, 5:20, and 5:33. Yeah, so I faded quite a bit on the last one and had a good heart to heart talk with the infield after #3, but that was the best I've ever done a full out set like that. I was just aiming for 5:30.

The drive was long. It's 7 hours to Boise from Seattle and my trusy race sherpa Adam was meeting me there via a one way flight and helping me drive home post race. I'm sure everyone has heard that it was WINDY. At least it was sunny. Last year was not pleasant with a torrential downpour, hail, thunder, and lightening. I'm going to cut to the good stuff because I tend to talk a lot in person as it is so this blog may turn out the same if I'm not careful. I swam and swam and swam and then I got on the bike. A side note about myself. This is my very first year on a TT bike. For the past three years I've been on a road bike with some clip on bars and on my very 3rd ride out on my pretty red ordu at end of april I had quite a gnarly crash. I broke my helmet on the pavement (and probably had a minor concussion because I had a few symptoms but I never got it checked out), shattered my watch, and had a sore hip up until about Shawnigan at the end of May along with going to the chiropractor 2-3 times a week since. Needless to say, getting in the bars when its windy out still scares me. I road race in the offseason and feel a whole lot more comfortable on my other bike. For the most part I was okay though but word is the winds were around 30mph and they NEVER let up. Maybe for like one stretch of 5 miles and boy was it weird. Super quiet all of the sudden. At the beginning I just kept telling myself it would let up as soon as we turned to go up the big hill but it didn't. AND it was hot. I gave up hoping the wind would die and just ate, took my salt, drank, and stayed upright. A huge plus. I told my coach later that I felt like I was riding stronger this year even though the time doesn't show it. Onto the run, it was fairly apparent that everyone was feeling quite zapped from battling the winds. I knew it was most likely going to be a tough run when in the last 6 miles of the bike I found myself spinning a few revolutions and then coasting for a second of recovery...over and over. Yeah. Tough day for sure. I tried to eat around mile 3 but wasn't having it. I think that's when I got jello legs for the first time but some guy in a white top that had a big blue X across the back ended up encouraging me for all 13 miles. I only remember him from the blue X though. For the first time ever I also hiked up my jersey so I could keep ice in it. That was my second hint at survival mode. Around mile 7 I saw Adam. I knew where he was standing cheering for me and I really needed a word of encouragement too but this was jello legs round 2. Apparently they all thought I was going to face plant into a little wall I was running by, but after putting my hand down to stop myself, I stood up and kept on trucking along because I really wanted my Clearwater spot. Seeing as I still hadn't eaten, the plan of attack was to make it from station to station, trot through and get what I needed and keep on going. I remember seeing mile 12, looking up, and seeing a girl in front of me...a girl I recognized that passed me on the bike with a 28 on her leg. Here I was, running on empty, and I knew I'd be pissed if I watched her finish RIGHT in front of I did it. I gritted my teeth and I did it. First place 25-29, 4th age grouper, and 13th overall...AND my Clearwater spot. Such a relief. I like getting that over with sooner rather than later. So all in all it was a not so good day with a good ending, but I'm definitely okay with it for now.

Apparently triathlon really is a summer sport. My feet weren't numb the WHOLE race and 60 feels balmy when you've raced in 56. On a FUNNY note (and I totally forgot I did this until my best friend from home asked), but I listed my occupation as a plumber. C'mon. Clerical/Administrative sounds kinda boring and I'm definitely not a boring person outside of work so I chose the best that the pull down menu on registration had to offer. I've got a good 3 weeks to decide what I want to "be" for Clearwater. hahahaha.

UP NEXT...I'm SPECTATING at CDA and I'm super pumped. My trusty sherpa, Adam is doing his first Ironman so we're switching roles as racer/race support and chauffeur home. I know LOTs of people racing and I'm throwing my road bike on the trunk of his car so I will be everywhere on the run course...after I get my training done while everyone is out on the bike. As for my next real race though, its the Vancouver Half Iron on the 4th of July. Another one of my favorites!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Deuces Wild Half Ironman Race Report

Jamie and I drove up to Show Low early Friday morning so that she could do the XTERRA bike course pre-ride. We stayed at the same cabin in Bison Ridge we rented last year and of course brought the dogs. :) We arrived at the race site at noon and Jamie left for her ride while I went to Safeway to stock up on food, beer, and wine, not in that order of priority. ;)

I went back for packet pick-up and to collect my very dusty wife. Jamie was a little freaked out by the bike course. Being so new to MTB, there were parts she was too scared to ride and she fell a few times and had a big bruise on her knee. She wasn't sure she could do the race. We went back to the cabin and made an early dinner. I was in bed by 7:30....and never fell asleep! I have no idea why, but I maybe slept 90min the entire night! The same thing happened last year before this race, but not nearly this bad. I have no idea why, but when I got up at 4:30am, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I felt ok and just started going through my pre-race motions.

Jamie drove me down to Transition and the usual activities and meet and greets kept my mind away from dwelling that I hadn't slept. The air was warm and comfortable, a bad omen this early in the morning at 6200 feet of elevation. It was going to be 94 as a high, a good 20 degrees hotter than last year. The upside was the lake water temp was awesome. I put on my wet suit and did some easy swimming, curious if I would feel the altitude like I did last year here and at Mountain Man.

Swim- 28:53
I was really hoping for a good swim to start this day off right. I also figured it would show me how not sleeping was going to effect me. Well, the answer was not so much, I felt great. All the Half men started together, so the race was all around me in real time which I loved. I get sick of wave starts and trying to figure out where I am.

I swam hard to the first turn buoy and was well up front. I drafted behind one swimmer a bit but they seemed to slow and I went around. I felt no adverse effects from the altitude either. I knew of at least two great swimmers in the group would be off the front. Once I rounded the first marker for the long down lake leg, a guy I passed jumped on my feet and stayed with me the whole way. He only tapped my feet once and I was cool with him being back there. At the second buoy, I could see the lead swimmers heading back in and I didn't seem to far behind. I picked up the pace, sighted well, and hit the boat ramp with a new PR at the Half swim distance. Good start to the day.

I ran over to the wet suit strippers and then the run up into Transition. My drafting partner ran along side me and thanked me for the pull. He said that was his best leg and wished me well. Nice guy.

Bike- 2:20:23
I had a fast, efficient T1. I had my shoe's clipped in and ran up a slight incline to the mount line. I stood on my shoes and got away quickly. There was ample time to slip into the shoes as I left the park area around the lake and did so quickly and efficiently.

Once into my shoe's, I could see two Tri Scottsdale riders ahead. One was Jon Poisson, one of the great swimmers I had mentioned. He was still trying to get his shoe's on as I went past. Here I am less than 1 mile into the race and I was ahead of a guy who it would normally take many miles to catch up to. I passed by them and left the park and headed out to the main highway. As I went past Bison Ridge, Jamie was out there with the dogs. As I went past she yelled first place was right in front of me. That would be my friend Sam Perry, the best swimmer in the field (he swam a 26:02). I passed him with mile 3 and now I was leading the race! They had a car leading the field which stayed up the road from me with it's flashers on. So cool! I had never lead a race like this before.

I was feeling terrific, targeting and comfortably holding a HR around 152. I had a gel flask and a bottle of water on the bike and grabbed a Gatorade at the first aid station. I began to consider my race plan since I was up front, I could dictate the term of the race somewhat. I knew I had a few weaker cyclists immediately behind me, so any attack was going to come from further back int he field. Any strong bike/run guys would be at least 2-3min back right now and I decided to pull a Lieto. I was going to use the bike to put in as much time as possible to give me more cushion and options for the run. So I stayed down on the bars and went to work. I stayed on top of my nutrition and hydration and kept my effort consistent.

The last 20 miles or so of this course has some pretty long, gradual hills which I attacked aggressively. I would stand and wok hard and then allow for a brief recovery. As I passed by the mile 50 marker, I began to think about the run and pulling back a little on the pace when.....PSSSSSSSSSSTTTT!

My front tire just gave up the ghost. Oh, no. I kept riding and reached back for my can of FastAir which was tapped to my HydroTail. I pulled it off and made the right turn into town. The first thing I noticed was that I seemed to be moving pretty quickly still. The wheel would make a clunk sound every revolution but my pace was still good. Could I make it? Stopping and using the FastAir might work but would take at least 1-2min. If it didn't work, I was just back to riding on it or changing it out entirely, which would take much more time. So I decided to press on as best I could. I knew the course and there were a few turns and one hill left, but I was SO close. The lead car came by me and I told them about my flat. They said the only rider coming up on me was the leader of the Olympic race, who turned out to be my buddy Cam Hill! He went by as we entered the park and we exchanged well wishes. He laughed as he saw me riding on my flat. I took the last turn slow and headed towards the dismount line, very happy with my decision.

Run- 1:39:03
As I ran down into Transition, I could hear the announcer taking about me and my flat! The lead car had radioed it in. I put on my ZOOT TT 3.0's, grabbed my visor, race belt, and another GU flask and I was off. A lead MTB came out to guide me so I still had company. He said I had about a 5:00 lead after the first mile. I thought it would be enough. I was almost wrong.

The run begins along a trail which goes around the lake. It's in good shape and you can run pretty fast on it. I went through he first mile or two feeling pretty good. I ran up through the camping area and out to the dreaded out and back section. It's a rolling, rocky, dirt road that just seems to go on forever and you have to do it twice. There's no shade and it's slow and tough running. It would also give me my first look at who was behind me. Cam and his lead bike guy were coming back the other way and I gave him a high five, he went on to win. I hit the turn which is around mile 3 and headed back. I asked my lead bike guy to find out who was Olympic and who was Half for me and he rode ahead. No need though as soon I saw Brian Folts, who I knew was in the Half running with another guy i didn't know. So there they were, 2nd and 3rd about 4min or so back.

I kept running well and descended back around the lake and then up towards a second out and back only done on the first loop. I was getting my gels in and and water at the aid stations, but it was starting to get hot. I made the turn and headed back towards Transition where I would begin the 2nd loop. Brian and the other guy were still a few min. back and I was hoping they were so preoccupied fighting each other I might slip away. The run on the trail this time was much slower and I knew I was beginning to fade. When I did the camp ground loop, I saw Brian had been dropped by the other runner who was now within 2min of me and I was slowing. I struggled to hold it together as I headed out for the out and back again. Now he was within 1 min. I was going to get caught, I was sure of it. I couldn't lift the pace, there was still over 2 miles to go. If he caught me, I wouldn't be able to respond. There was a hill about 1/2 mile from the finish and I got to it still in the lead. I pushed hard going up and was wasted at the top. I asked the MTB guy where was the 2nd place runner and he said about 25 yards behind. I looked down the road towards where the finish was and decided I was not going to loose this race, not toady, not after all I had done. I started to run harder and harder. My HR skyrocketed and I got a little tunnel vision as I pushed. Less than 200 yards from the finish the MTB guy said he couldn't see him anymore. I had made it and crossed the line.

This was not a very good run for me based on pace, but the conditions were very tough and even the 2nd place guy had the fastest run split of 1:35 so everyone was slow on the course. Once across the line, I stopped , bent over with my hands on my knees, and tried to recover as I waited for 2nd to come in and congratulate him. I found Jamie and the dogs and kept drinking as much water as I could.

This is a great weekend of racing which features a Half, and Olympic, and Aqua Bike, XTERRA, and even a kids race. Jamie woke up Sunday morning with a stomach flu but despite that and her concerns witht he bike course, she started the race and had a great swim. She went on to complete 95% of the bike course before having to stop. She rode all of it except one section and was so happy. For me, it was a great race, especially since I was very unhappy with my perfromance last year. I wanted revenge and I got it. :)