Monday, July 20, 2015

Ironman CDA!

i liked this surprise...

'life if full of surprises.challenges.emotions.  all of which can be confusing in even the most straight forward situations.'  what would appear as a simple solution is to remove as many variables from these uncomfortable situation as possible; restrict diets, limit relationships, laser focus on triathlon, cut out feelings, etc.  by controlling as many variables as possible we increase our chances to control LIFE. simple solution, right?

i'm finding out it is not that easy.  

even if you do strip down your life...  build yourself into this little, single dimension box where every single move is done with the utmost intention... controlled... fully analyzed...  you still can not keep the messiness of 'life' out.  in that controlled, stripped down world you can create for yourself, LIFE finds its way to get in.  injury, opportunity, disaster, love, hurt, will eventually get in.   

prior to this year i thought i had my box to the perfect size i wanted. sealed off. controlled. restricted. simple. no unknown surprises. exactly how i (thought) i wanted.  

prior to this year, as i started triathlon, things just seemed to fall into place.  i went into races undernourished and over trained (not because of my coach) and always seemed to pull off a solid race.  all of which lead me to believe this boxed in 'life' i was living was working.  living this way was dedication.  living this way was comfortable.healthy. the only way to achieve my dreams.

then life started to leaking in.  so the first of this year i committed to testing a new path.  one in which allows life in.  allows balance. allows stepping out of that box of old rules.  as i started to allow myself to relax, stop forcing control and obsessions, allowing 'distractions' to be a part of my life, and letting myself have fun:
i unintentionally gave myself a chance at one of my dream goals. Kona.

leading up to Ironman Coeur d'Alene, i had several people talk to me about taking so much focus off qualifying for Kona.  put the focus on enjoying the experience.  i remembered back to the absolute joy i felt crossing my first Ironman last year.  feeling that JOY was what i wanted my goal to be for Ironman CDA.

The heat forecast contined to get hotter and hotter leading up to race day.  i chose CDA because it was a 'cold' ironman.  i keep my house temp under 70... me and heat are not friends.  so my dad came up with this brilliant idea to wear a long sleeved shirt and a silly hat to keep me cool.  practiced the set up a few times, with mock aid stations, and it seemed like this was going to have a huge impact on me having a good race.  silly looking or not :)

we arrived in CDA a few days prior to the event to get settled in and rested.  those few days of doing nothing and taking a break from the stress of work help me a lot.  

the chatter of the race still happening because of the heat filled the air.  i tried to ignore it the best i could.  took in all the encouragement Clyde and my dad continued to repeat to me :) ♥ :) the night before the race Teresa, Mark, and Dior came over.  so wonderful.  it was nice to chat.. review the game plan.. and finally meet that darling little girl. LOVEHER! as i was heading to bed that night, T called to tell me game day was ON - all 140.6


 i set my alarm at 2:07am.  woke up to no race day nerves. which was weird. clyde helped me make breakfast, then we went back to bed for another hour.  before we left the house my garmin stopped working! got it fixed, got in the car, and off to the race start.  race morning went smooth.  still no nerves.  i was just ready to RACE. 


after Chattanooga last year, Teresa and i really wanted to put a focus on my swim.  the time and volume were definitely put in.  for some reason it did not today.
COACH T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i estimated i'd hit around a 1:15-17. wrong! as soon as i ran and dove in, there were people on every end of me.  the first loop went by okay... not great though.  getting out on the first loop, there were so many people just standing on the beach. taking photos. waving at the crowd.  that was a bit frustrating where i just wanted to make that a quick transition.  second loop was not pretty.  sighting was off on the way out leading to me swimming far off to the right.  people would stop in front of me, forcing me to stop to get around them. the further out we got the more clustered it was = drinking water! the entire last loop i just told myself to breath calm and get to Rocky!   figuring out what is going on with my stroke will be a priority going forward!


quick! in and out of there.


i've learned a lot from my races leading up to CDA this year.
2 specific things: 1) i can't push the bike crazy hard like i always get carried away with doing. 2) i HAVE to hydrate.  ESPECIALLY where it was going to be a very hot day. 

the entire 112 miles of CDA i told myself this should feel REALLY easy and drink.drink.drink!

the plan was to keep things feeling silly easy until the turn around point on the second loop.  this was SO hard for me.  i felt like i was just spinning on a casual ride.  especially at first when people were passing me.  patience Christie! NO heart rate spikes.  NO standing on hills.  no racing people.  i had to keep reminding myself that i want to have a good run so taking it easy on the bike was important!

usually i don't slow down for aid stations.  if i happen to grab and keep a hold of the aid great, if not, there is always another.  CDA i slowed down for EVERY aid station.  grabbing 3 bottles (1 gatorade, 1 water, and another water to drench myself).  i made sure i was getting in a constant flow of food, hydration, and salt.√  nutrition felt spot on.√  never was hungry.√ never bonked.√  was peeing consistently.√  felt good.☺

i really enjoyed this course. (other than that dang no pass zone... got behind slow people every single time!)  it was all very pretty, had climbing which I love, the 2 loops help split the race up mentally... all in all, great!

rolled into T2 feeling fantastic!


i knew getting off the bike i was ready to run. pacing the bike like i did left my legs feeling fresh with no real fatigue.  saw Rick and Clyde right out of transition and they told me Teresa was right up ahead.  it's nice seeing family/friends on the bike but the run you actually can SEE them :)  

having my support team on the course meant the WORLD to me!!!!!!!!!!! T wasn't sure my placing... but thought around 6-7th. typical Christie would have let this really effect my race. i didn't this time. onward, chase down the girls.

first out and back was not bad. the entire time i ran with a huge smile on my face.  it was HOT though!!!!!!! around mile 2 i saw Clyde again and he told me just nice and steady - don't push it! so that's exactly what i did. 26 miles is a long way so those first 20 need to feel easy! there were lots of familiar faces out there pushing through that heat! today was not about speed... it was about not falling apart and melting :) 

along the course whenever i had the chance i would completely drenching myself. saw my dad and T again on the second loop...high fives and smiles to see them both!!! i did not feel a real low point until the flat stretch on the second loop right before the climb. so i counted my steps over and over until i was up and over that dang hill. ready to head back to the finish!  at that point i made a deal with myself to make it to each aid station running, once i got there i could walk through getting in hydration and soaking myself.   
before i knew it, mile 24 hit. i turned the corner to see Clyde! he believes in me when i don't even believe in myself...and that gave me tons of energy!!  he told me he thought i was close to the third place girl and i had to move if wanted it.  this was a huge surprise to me.  after T2, i never saw any girls so i assumed i was still around 7th! as soon as he left, i saw her.  orange kit. same girl that passed me in St George!!!!! (good think this was a full marathon... i need those miles to catch up to the fast swimmers!) as i came up on her wondered if i should go for the pass or wait closer to the finish line.  i did not want to make the same mistake i did last year in St George 70.3.  i could tell she was hurting though and i was feeling stronger and stronger so i went for it and did not look back.  

the end of mile 25 i saw Clyde again and asked if she was there. he told me to JUST RUN!!! i was doing it!! i took off my silly cooling shirt and hat, and got ready to enjoy the best part of the Ironman - that home stretch.

as i got to the top of Sherman Avenue there was Coach T telling me no one is behind you, enjoy this, i am proud. Tears!!!!!!! it amazes me how all the pain, fear, insecurities, and doubts just vanish.  regardless of the place i ended up, i was happy that i did not give up.  not as in not finishing. i knew i would finish. but i did not give up fighting and just settle for 7th. ended up exited the water in 36th and finished in 3rd. the entire day i kept moving forward to finishing the race with JOY. 

awards came the following day and surprise...  KONA!!!! still on cloud 9 over it. so thankful and grateful to get to go race at Worlds in October.  freaking WORLDS!!!!  sharing that moment with my people was amazing. you bet i already have some goals for that race - at the same time, i plan to go with the main goal of experience that finish line JOY! 


after the race several people made comments to me that all my hard work paid off.  and yes, i agree, at CDA, the hard work did 'pay off.'  BUT hard work is not what earned me that Kona slot.  not letting struggles, set back after set back, under-performing at races, bad training sessions, and the uncomfort of this new way of 'life' break me down enough to just give up.  hard work is actually the easy part.  especially when you are excelling.  but it is during the times when you seem to be up against a wall, working your ass off going nowhere that you have to find some other gear to not throw in the towel.  a lot of times, for me, that other gear is my amazing support team reminding me to KEEP GOING.  

Since the race, i am really trying to make myself recognize the goal i achieved.  it's so easy for me to devalue my own accomplishments, unsatisfied with my current level wanting to quickly move to the next 'big' goal. 

so right now:
..i am reflecting back and being proud of the progress I have made since starting triathlon in 2012.
..remembering that progress = patience and patience requires trusting the uncomfortable.
..realizing uncomfortable situations is where growth and new possibilities lay.
..trying to trust my training, my support team, my 'new' path outside of my old box.  continuing down this uncomfortable, scary, unstable, uncontrolled path that every day i have more and more trust is exactly the road in which i need to be traveling down.

            Oh... and right now: some swim/bike/run'ing is going down. KONABOUND!!!