Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Recap

Lake Stevens 70.3: Race Recap

Short Version
Most incredible race experience to date 

Overall: 5:35:46
Swim - 39:28
Bike - 3:10:35
Run -1:41:51

8/41 AG
327/1017 Overall

Long version

I cant believe less than a year ago I found myself newbie self lining up, clueless, for my first Olympic triathlon... and Saturday I finished my first 70.3.  It is amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to something.

 My father and I drove from Utah to WA. About 14 hours. Drive passed quickly for me...I am sure my father loved the singing/dance party I had all the way there ;)  The further North we headed the cooler temp's and greenery started to fill our surroundings.

**Side note about my love affair with Washington: Totally fell in love with Seattle the second we drove in.  Everything about it  I wish I would have explored colleges there back when I was looking for places to move to back in High School.  

I checked in Friday evening which was perfect.  I told the man handing me my packet this was my first Half Ironman, his response, 'Why in the world would you pick such a hilly course for your first?' GO BIG OR GO HOME MAN! **Checking in the day before is the way to go if crowds add to your pre-race nerves.

Saturday the race really hit me and I was a ball of nerves.  We started the day out driving the course. Holy beautifulness. 

Meeting Teresa for the first time!
Rode a bit of the course, little shake out run, and swam in the Lake.  That night we had dinner with Teresa and Mark... so much fun and calmed me down a ton! Mark had told me the day is going to go by so fast, so to make sure that I really soak in the experience. -
He ended up being so right!

**Instead of having my normal 3 meals I had light snacks throughout the day.  Going to do this again the day before my races. 

Taking Ally to check-in

Coffee, Small portion of oatmeal, and an orange.

Setting up transition was very intimidating. All the girls around me looked intense. intense bikes. intense attitudes - all business.  This was starting to get to me until I saw Teresa... she gave me a hug and wished me good luck. Ahhh - better:) Went to the car and listed to some pump me up Black Eyed Peas music and then headed down to the swim start.  My dad reminded me that this was just a bunch of little events put together, that I was going to great, gave me a big hug and I was off!

Swim: 1.2 Mile, 39:28, 2:02/100m

When I swam in the lake the day before I had decided on swimming without a wet suit until about 20 minutes before the start.  It started to rain, I got a little cold, and I thought the added bouancy from the wetsuit would make me faster.

The start happened so quickly.  I was in the third heat right behind the pro girls so I got to watch Teresa jump in the water and take off.  (btw she finished with a swim time of 24:58...Rockstar right?)

Had 1/2 gel right before the start

Walked to the dock, jumped in, sculled for about 2 minutes and we were off! I lined up right next to the buoys so I'd have an easy time swimming straight. I kept thinking swim calm and steady; but I think this ultimately hurt my swim speed. The warm water was starting to get to me about a quarter of the way through and I was wishing I wouldn't have worn the wet suit. I knew that once the men behind me took off they would trample over me which happened.  I was prepared to be hit in the head a couple times by them so it didn't bother me to much. 

-I need a lot of work on my swim: Bring on the drills
-Figure out the wetsuit situation
-More open water swims

T1 2:28
When I got out I thought I was one of the last in my age group but I saw quite a few bikes racked around my section.  Grabbed all my bike stuff and took off. Everything went smooth.  My glasses kept fogging up so I just tossed them.

Bike 56 Mile, 3:10:35, 17.63mph
'Rainy, Hilly, Technical, Cold, Rolling Awesomeness'

Getting out of T1 Teresa had told me to take the first 10 minutes easy, get some water down and get ready to ride. I did just that.  Drank some water, took a GU and got ready. Then the slight drizzle of rain started to pick up.  I honestly just smiled.  I was so thankful to have it rainy than hot. The heat KILLS me, so I could deal with this.

This bike course is beautiful.  Washington is beautiful; but winding up and down throughout the trees was wonderful.  When the course is described as hilly, they are not joking around.  I don't really remember any straight section... you are either going up or down and turning A Lot.  There were quite a few descends that I got a little very nervous on but I seemed to stay in aero the majority of the time.

Aid stations I was nervous about.  I thought for sure I was going wreck into someone.  Ended up being no big deal thanks to Teresa running through the process with me.  As I approached, I called out what I needed, the volunteers told me where it was at, grabbed it, and I was off.  I only dropped 1 thing once and the wonderful volunteer grabbed me a new one and ran it to me.

I had my Garmin on until after hell hill (section in the course (pretty sure mile 36) that you take a 90 degree turn and CLIMB!) At the top I glanced down at my Garmin and I was at an average 18.5mph /HR 161. Then the next time I went to look down at it, it was not on my wrist.  The last 16 miles of the course are mentally frustrating anyways because of the constant ups and downs... and losing my Garmin made me upset for about 2 miles.... then I remembered Teresa and Mark telling me there are going to be highs and lows out there throughout my day; just keep remembering to enjoy it and soak in this first experience.

Bike Perks:
-The whole race went by so fast but the bike was by far the quickest.  I think the added hills/rain/technical aspects of the course made 56 miles feel like nothing:)
- Mile 26 'Scott' with a fancy bike said 'go girl you are an animal' made me smile:)
- Mile 36(hell hill) One of the volunteers scram 'you first person with straight bars go girl.' That helped up that hill!

Nutrition (Teresa if you are still reading skip this part ;)
- So the plan was every hour to take in 1/2 - 1 water bottle, 1 IP bottle, and about a gel every 35 min's.

Only 1 Bottle IP perform mixed with Poweraid Zero
Only 1/2 Water Bottle

*1 GU Mile 1
*Aid station #1 Bonk Bar
*Aid station #2 100 calories of Dates
*1 GU Mile 35
*Aid station #3 Bonk Bar
*1 GU Mile 50

- Make sure I am taking in liquids
- Taking nutrition on a more consistent schedule!!
- Get tape for my aero bars - my hands kept slipping because of the rain
- Tape my nutrition to my bike and get rid of the bento box
- UPGRADE to a TT Bike WITH clip in's by the end of the year =)
- Purchase a new watch! (FYI When your band starts to break it is a good idea to get it fixed before a race) 

T2 - 1:24

At about mile 52 on the bike there is a long, steady climb, and I could feel my hamstrings really tightening.  Drank some Ironman Perform and the bike finish seemed to just appear.  T2 went really smooth and fast.  As soon as I started running out of T2 I knew I was going to have a wonderful run.

Run 13.1 Miles, 1:41:51, 7:46/Mi (**Half marathon PR)

50:21 -7:52Pace / 51:30 7:41 Pace

The run felt incredible

Leaving the transition area I had the goal to keep smiling the remainder of the race.  Because I did not have my Garmin to pace, I decided the first loop I would make sure my heart was not beating as hard as it typically does in tempo speed workouts, then the last loop I could just go for it.

The course was really great.  Small ups and downs which I prefer over completely flat. Every hill I kept thinking of how the hill repeats in training were helping me so much.

Hands down, the best part about the run was the TN Multisport support.  I ran by the team tent 4 times during the run and they made me feel like a rock star every.single.time! Whenever I passed another TN member on the course we high fived.  It was so neat that I did not know the group on a personal level and they were all still so supportive and welcoming! I was able to see Teresa on her last lap (my first) which was really fun too.  I also saw Mirinda Carfrae when she was at mile 12! Freaking intense woman.

I was a little worried throughout the run if I was pushing too hard/not hard enough without my Garmin.  I stuck with a comfortably hard pace.  Hamstrings hurt a bit going up the hill at mile 11.  Mile 12 it hit me that I was finishing my first Half Ironman and started to bust ass.  Saw a 31 year old female and pushed hard to pass her and crossed the finish line smiling so hard.

- 1/2 GU at the start
- Mile 3 Water and 1/2 GU
- Mile 6 Ironman Perform
- Mile 8 Coke
- Mile 11 GU and Water
- I also took 2 sponges at every aid station offered  

 **I wouldn't have changed anything about the run.   Other than seeing the time continue to improve:)!


About a year ago, I had found myself stuck in a negative place in my life.  I am so thankful to have found triathlon.  It truly saved my life.  It gives me confidence.  It makes me a better person in all aspects of my life.  Most importantly, it serves as the perfect reminder why I will NEVER return to that old life style. My dad always asks me why I enjoy these races so much - Every time I am reminded of this excerpt from a blog (**can't remember who's it was for credit?? sorry)

As soon as the gun goes off, I just run. All of my doubt evades me because I am 100 percent consumed in the thing that I love most. I feel my heart pumping and my legs moving, both taking on lives of their own. As I continue to get completely lost in everything I love about racing, the one phrase that comes back to me every single race for as long as I can remember is: This is who I am.

**GoodBye for now Washington.  I hope to see you in the future!**

Monday, July 2, 2012

River Rampage Race Recap

Green River Rampage Olympic Tri
Race Recap

Woke up, breakfast, coffee, left.

Half way to the race start I realized I had forgotten my helmet! Crap. As soon as we pulled up I saw a nice looking couple and ask them if they had an extra…. Turns out at that moment my Life Savor, Stephan, was deciding between regular or Aero helmet – I made his decision easy :)


Checked in and transition set up
**Side note, LOVE this race company.  Super organized with everything. You have assigned spots, with a nice name tag, and underneath your name it reads the reason you ‘Tri’.  Mine said to 'Build The Machine'

Warmed up:
15 minute run with 4, 30 sec. strides
15 minute bike with accelerations

Drove upstream to race start – Made friends with the couple that lent me the helmet who were super nice.  Learned he had completed several Ironman’s with great times.   

You have about a ¾ mile walk through corn fields to get to the start.  This walk really calmed my nerves.  At the start, I jumped in for a quick 5 min. warm-up swim.  The water was SO hot… think 73-75 so I decided to go without the wetsuit. 

1.10 Mile
--Took a ½ gel pre race
--Started in the 2nd row

We didn’t have to tread water because the water level was so low everyone was standing. Start was like any other swim start: head kicking, smacks, until each of us could get into our groove. Felt pretty great the whole time.  I focused on quick arm turnover and keeping my legs straight and high up in the water.  For all but 1 section, this was  a straight shot swim, so spotting was not an issue.  Throughout the swim I saw several people just walking because the water was so low.  I am not counting this is a swim PR because there was a current.  It seemed like I was not in the water for more than 5 minutes before I saw the red swim exit signs.  I should have been pushing harder throughout the swim because my breathing was just 'normal' when I got out.    

First ever transition that went so smooth – I did everything in the order I had mentally practiced.  Shoes (No socks)> Garmin > Race belt > Helmet > Glasses > GO

Bike PR
25 Miles

Teresa had told me to make sure I stay in race mode and that is what I did on the bike.  I was most happy with my performance on the bike.  I never stopped pushing.  Course was relatively flat with 2 main climbs. Can I tell you how good it feels to pass men with their gorgeous bikes, and super fancy helmets, and loud tires? :)  Having the fast men and this one super fast girl really pushed my inner competitor on the course. 

-I had been working on passing this one man; once I finally did I took a wrong turn and went about .25 off course. Whoops!
-I need to practice turning around cones.  There were 2 cones on this course to turn around and I about fell over on both of them 
-Stayed in aero 95% of the time
-2.5 Gels: 1 at start, 1 30 minutes in, and ½ a gel at 1 hour
-1 Bottle with Poweraid Zero and 3 scoops of IP Perform throughout the ride
**Could have used ½ another bottle of just water

Smooth transition as well.  Bike stuff off, grabbed visor and 1 gel.

Run PR :)
7:48pace (7:44, 7:47, 7:50, 7:43, 7:53, 7:44)

I was a little disappointed with this run.  I wanted to sub 45 – the 90 degree heat killed me.  My legs never felt super heavy from the bike I just felt like I was sweating to death.  The run was cross country style 2-loop which I have never ran on a course of that type before.  I thought I was going to like running on the grass but I was not a fan.  I wore my Brooks Pure Connect which I love on the pavement but the uneven terrain and wet ground was not meant for these shoes.  About ½ way through the run, a blister started on the bottom of my foot from the water and mud getting into my shoe.  Each aid station I took 2 cups of water, drank 1 and 1 went over my head.  Took in 1 gel, 1/2 at the beginning and 1/2 at mile 4.  

 A buff 51 years young woman took first female with 2:12.  I hope I am like her at that age. Top male, BJ Christensen (1:54) is a freaking rock-star.  My dad and I ran into him at the gas station after the race... such a down to earth, nice guy. Since my opinion matters to him, I think he should turn pro. :)

My Results:
2:57:37 > Lake Powell Oly October 2011

2:21:57 > 36 min PR!:)
1/10 Age Group
4/73 Female
18/161 Overall

....Lake Stevens 13 days!