Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Barb's Race

I suppose a benefit of waiting four weeks to write about the race is that you get a more condensed version of it!  So sorry it took me so long.

My goals:  Less than 6 1/2 hours total; Under 45 minutes for the swim, 3 1/2 for the bike, and 2 hours for the run, and then whatever transitions would take.

The drive was longer than I remembered, but it was a beautiful day in Sonoma County.  When Ken and I arrived at the race headquarters (a high school) we ate the lunch I packed and took in the sights.  There was an informational race video I was required to watch before I could pick up my packet, which was a nice cool, dark room that made me very sleepy.  I resisted though, and once it was done went to get my packet, my shirt and another water bottle.  The bike-to-run transition area was there at the school, and we had to leave our stuff there.  I found the rack for my race and age group, and found what I hoped to be the easiest to get to during the race.  I simulated coming in and finding my spot, just to engrave it in my memory.  Once I felt comfortable with that Ken and I drove the bike course, which turned into an additional two hours in the car.  Yikes.  I was so grateful to have done it though, and was super excited to know the course was going to be easier than I thought! 

We checked into our hotel and then began to scope out a place to have a decent pre-race dinner.  Alas, the only restaurant we could find was Denny's.  However, they serve breakfast all day, so I totally scored a stack of pancakes...Carbohydrates, anyone???

That night was the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics, allowing for something great to watch and be inspired by.  It didn't quite work that way, as first it turned kind of weird and then unwatchable, so I was able to get plenty of sleep.

After a breakfast of a Frappacino, some orange juice, a bagel with cream cheese and jelly and a couple Ironman cookies, I was ready to go.  I double checked to make sure I had everything, and away we went.  Twenty miles to the swim start!

I was able to get a pretty good spot in transition, and began to scope out the other ladies.  And of course that includes their gear (hee hee).  As time to race drew near, our rack soon became very crowded with some late arrivals and we had to squeeze two more bikes onto an already crowded rack.  Oh well. 

Breath mint anyone? Ok, so my sense of smell is probably a bit sensitive, but seriously.  The smell of bad breath (from others, not my own) was hovering throughout the transition area as well as during the swim.  It made breathing difficult in some cases. 

Here I am before the swim...so pretty, right?  Ha!  I am so glad I cut my hair shorter.

The swim was slow-going for the first half, and there were a lot of people in my way.  Or, was I in their way?  I didn't have a good start anyway, and it took me awhile to feel like I wasn't gasping for air and wanting to breath every stroke.  At one point I had to stand up and walk to deeper water because it was too shallow for me to get a good stroke in!  I couldn't believe I had already reached the turn-around point when I did, and gave myself a very stern talking to:  "Get with it, Kerry!!!  Reach, rotate, BREATHE!  Over half-way there, now it's downstream. Go!"

And I did.  In 40:05 to be exact.

Maybe it took 7 minutes in transition because I walked?  I figured I had plenty of time to run later...

My bike was at the almost farthest point away from where I got out of the swim.  I did take advantage of the wetsuit strippers though.  A little weird, seeing as they took off my top pair of shorts with my wetsuit, but I guess it saved me time?  It was a dusty transition area, so if nothing else, it kept me from having to sit in the dirt to get it off.


My first transition clocked in as a whopping 7 minutes, 9 seconds.  Part of that I would like to blame on the fact that the Barb's Race participants' bike racks were all the way at the end of the area.  However, the rest of it can be blamed on the fact that I would trade a few minutes to make sure I was ready (aka washing off the mud from my feet, get my sleeves on, check my brakes, etc.).  And so off I went on my bike for the most nerve-racking part of the triathlon for me.  

I decided on going blue this time.  Orange will be for IMAZ.
The bike ride was BEAUTIFUL.  No flats, no mechanical problems, no "people" issues, just fantastic rolling hills, friendly ladies, and great volunteers.  The only scary part was being on a narrow road with a Wine Tour Bus hurdling around corners.  But some polite, "BUS BACK!" calls will get you a long way, and we all looked out for each other.  I stopped at the mile 28ish aid station for the potty and to refill my water bottle.  I stayed on top of fueling, lost track of how far halfway is in a 56 mile ride, which made it go by even faster!  I tried to keep checking my output, that it was fast enough, but not too fast to kill the run.

Around the point of being about three hours into the race (50 minutes from the swim, about 2 hours into the ride) I realized I was going to do much better than I thought.  I was going to be done with the bike and able to start the run by the four hour race mark, which meant there was a chance I could get under six hours.   Internal voice came back: "Oh, Kerry Sue, you've got to really try to do that!  You will be so happy if you do!  Under six hours, could you imagine?"  Alright, self.  Totally, let's go, legs! 

I cruised into the transition area (again the racks for our race were near the back) racked my bike, changed shoes and jersey, put on the visor, the race number belt, swallowed the contents of my Gatorade pouch and took off on the run.  I saw an acquaintance from my swim group, so I chatted with her while we made our way to the course.  Ken was there with his cow bell, ringing and shouting away, making me run a little faster!

I did not have fond memories of this run course.  It surprised me two years ago with the amount of hills it contained!  There were other factors to be sure- starting a marathon at an estimated time rather than a specific start time means nutrition can be off.  I had also started running at about 5:15pm and finished just after 9:00pm, beginning in heat, ending in the cold dark.  This time would be different.

The course seemed, um, shorter?  Yes, yes, I know I was only running half the distance (one and a half loops instead of three full), but the loop went by so fast, it was thrilling.  I was going to just "experiment" with walking the aid stations and not actually take anything every time, but the heat was cranking up, so at the very least I took two water cups- one to drink, the other to dump on my head.  I also acquired an affection for flattened cola.  That just may be my new favorite endurance beverage (a little sarcastic, but only a little).  There were some residents along the course who offered their hoses to spray you on your way if you wanted ("Yes, please!" was my usual answer, followed by turning around in a circle so I could get evenly wet).  It made the hot run a little more cool and comfortable. 

Around mile ten, I think I lost my smile.  Up to that point I was just so happy to be out there!  I had kept my mile pace very comfortable and steady.  I was even running faster than I thought I was.  I thought of all the long runs I had put in to be ready.  I knew I could keep walking the aid stations, and to do so became a necessity.  I was so thirsty all the time!  Finishing the half marathon under two hours would be a reality, as would finishing the total race under six hours.  But I was beginning to feel really uncomfortable.  I could feel chafing happening on my sides from my sleeves, my knee was aching, my feet felt hot, and I wanted to be done.  Just keep doing what you're doing, I told myself.  Not that far left to go.

I was going to bypass the aid station at mile 12 and just push it in to the finish line, but the thought of a cup with ice water in it won over, and I ended up stopping and really enjoying it.  Then off on my way, I had a race to finish!  I cruised in the last mile, found my smile again and relished in the accomplishment of the day.  I realized I had never been passed on the run by another female.  That made me super excited!  I knew I gave it all I had left in the run.  And as I powered in to the finish line, there was this little thought that went through my mind about finishing the 70.3 mile race...

"Is that all?"

Training works.  It's like making deposits in your bank account along the way, and then able to make a withdrawal and have plenty to spare.

I'm going to be ready for IMAZ.  My account is open and active.

My splits:
Swim: 40:05
T1: 7:09
Bike: 3:09
T2: 4:41
Run: 1:48:56
Total: 5:50:15

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week in Review 8/20-8/26

First week of school, so able to stick to a routine and get almost everything in the manual done.

Swim, 1 hour

Tempo Run: 6 miles; 1 warm-up, 4 @ tempo, 1 cool down
Ride: 1:20 tempo ride

Ride: Moderate 1:30 exploring which roads still had road construction.
Swim: 1 hour

Track workout: 1.25 mile warm-up; 2 x 2400m; 1.25 mile cool down

Rest Day (But I was still on my feet all day cleaning!)

Triple Day (aka A Free, Made-Up Triathlon with Pat and Burt):
Swim: 4 x 400m
Ride: 60 miles
Run: 5.5 miles
We swam in Pat's community pool; then did two loops on the bike, starting at his house to Sheri's and back; ran two loops to get to 50 minutes.  The guys were running slow. ;)

Long run, 14.5 miles/2:10 (4x 10 minutes @ 75%, 20 minutes at 60%; plus warm-up and cool down)
I wasn't able to get the cool down ride in afterwards.  I woke up at 3:30am to eat, then was going to wake up at 4:30 to start.  That changed to 5:00...so no bike.  I always seem to run out of time Sunday mornings!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Quick Recap of August

It's been a month?  Woops.

To fill you in on all the "exciting" happenings of the last month, here is a quick recap:
  • Barb's was FANTASTIC- A total confidence booster and fun experience.  I'll keep working on the details.
  • I cut off my hair- Not too short, still long enough for a ponytail, but so much better and lighter!
  • The number of days to IMAZ has fallen to double digits- Surreal, and I know it's going to be here before I know it.
  • Kids went back to school this week which means some very lovely time to train and a regular routine is back in order.  I like order and routine.  They are my friends.
  • I went on a thousand mile road trip and was still able to get all my training in, as well as some very fun cousin time!
  • Speaking of family, I am all the more inspired to be grateful for a healthy body.  With some beloved family members having health issues, I cannot help but to want to do this Ironman thing on their behalf.
  • I am trying to soak up every moment of training and the Ironman experience as I go, because I know it will be over before I know it, with no hope of being able to repeat it for a long, long time.  Much thanks to the husband for having house & family without me on Saturday mornings for almost eight months now!
  • Last night my friend offered to let me use one of their tri bikes for the Ironman.  I am going on Tuesday to see which one will fit better.  I am so very grateful for the generosity!