Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ironman Arizona #3 - Race Day!

Sunday November 23, 2008. This was the day on the calendar that I thought about every single day for 11 months. It was here. I was ready!

Sorry folks....this is a VERY long one! Hell, it was a 13+ hour race for me. A lot can happen (and go through my mind) in 13 hours!

Pre-race Routine
I woke up at 4am to start eating, go to the bathroom, eat some more, go to the bathroom some more. I was able to eat 2 bowls of Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal (500 cals with milk) before my stomach said no mas mi amiga! It doesn't sound like much, but you try forcing food down your throat at 4am on the biggest day of your life....not so easy! I had ideally wanted to get 800-900 calories in before the race, so I brought a PB&Honey sandwich with me to snack on in transition. Never ate it. Oh well.

I arrived at race site around 5:15 am. I dropped off my special needs bags, added a few items to my transition bags, pumped my bike tires, got body marked, and waited 20 minutes for my last pre-race bathroom stop. Really....I don't think race directors will ever figure it out. MORE PORT-O-POTTIES!
Before I knew it, it was time to squeeze into my wetsuit and head to the water. I hugged and kissed my mom and Pat one more time, the girls and I posed for a few pictures, and then made our way over to the Lake.

The Swim (2.4 miles)
The Ironman swim, especially the start, is like no other thing I've ever experienced. Rather than wave starts (like they have at most shorter races), in an Ironman, all 2000+ racers start AT THE SAME TIME. We were all herded out of transition and over the timing chip activation mat like cattle on their way to......well, we'll say eat....or get milked (don't want to make this Ironman thing sound too morbid). At this time I was with all of my TCSD buddies. It was so awesome that we were all going into this together.
At 6:50 am, the pro gun went off. 10 minutes left. Time to jump in the water! Rather than tread water for 10 minutes, Jen, Tina, and I stayed together along the wall of the lake. We listened to the National Anthem, gave eachother a quick, teary hug, and then 7:00 am, the gun went off!

I sat along the wall for 30 seconds or so. I'm not a fast swimmer, so I had no reason to rush into the washing machine of 2200 people around me too soon. I finally saw Don Lopez drift past me, and decided...let's do time like the present. My race has started!

The first 10 minutes of the race were actually pretty humorous. You have 2000 people going from a vertical position in the water to horizontal, and at the same time try to make forward progress at all different paces. Talk about traffic jam! The first 10 minutes were mostly head-above water freestyle, being pulled along by the masses of people. Extra care needed to be taken to avoid getting swam over or clocked in the head. I actually said to someone "Wow, this is much more relaxing than I thought!" All I could do is get pulled along!

My plan was to stay 15-20 m off of the wall, but that didn't work so well. I fairly quickly found myself closer to the buoy line. This turned out to be ok, because I found a pocket 15 minutes into the swim, and held that pocket all the way to the turn around. The turnaround was a lesser version of the start. Everyone was aiming for the same buoy, so it got a little hairy. Someone decided to start swimming on my back, so I started kicking harder to get them off. Next think I heard...cough cough cough. Ooops. I think I kicked them in the gut. Oh well. That's what you get for swimming over people!

The swim went pretty well overall. I never got really tired or tight. I did get hungry though shortly after the turnaround. Then I started smelling something like raw sewage, and my hunger vanished. On the run I later found out it wasn't really raw sewage, just a horse farm on the side of the lake. My hunger came back 200 m or so past the farm. The main thing I remember from the 2nd half of the swim was that the damn Mill Ave bridge seemed like it kept moving further away. I know I was making forward progress because I was passing buoys, but that bridge took FOREVER to reach.

I finally made my turn to the swim exit. Woo hoo! 1 down, 2 to go! Since Tempe Town Lake is a man made reservoir type thing, there was no beach to run up on. You swam to a set of stairs and someone helped to pull you out of the water and onto the stairs. I was prepared to be a little disoriented coming out of the water (swimming horizontally for 1.5 hours a bit oxygen deprived and then standing up and running can make you quite dizzy), but it was a little crazier than I thought. Climbing those stairs was tough. I made it up and over the timing mat.

Swim Time- 1:31:40 (2:24/100m pace)

Transition 1
Transition in an Ironman is slightly different than other races. First, there's the strippers (wetsuit strippers y'all....Get your mind out of the gutter!). Since wetsuits aren't always the easiest to get off, it was nice to have somebody push me to the ground and pull it off of me.

Next stop was a grassy field where our T1 bags were stored. I called out my number, and next thing you know, my bag was in my hand. I ran in to the change tent, which was quite a zoo, and found a seat. I decided to change into bike shorts rather than suffer in tri shorts for 112 miles. One extra minute in T1 would save me hours of discomfort on the bike. I was still a bit disoriented from the swim, and my hands and feet were pretty frozen, so I fell flat on my ass changing into my shorts. Oops. Just another moment to laugh about in a long day.

At first I was hoping that one of the volunteers would help me get my helmet, shoes, socks, and arm warmers on, but they were all pretty busy. Many people came out of the water shivering uncontrollably, so most of the volunteers were helping them get warm. I think they could tell I could handle myself. The volunteers did come in handy leaving the tent though. I had 4 "sunscreen appliers" attack me all at once. I was prepared for the afternoon in the Arizona sun. I grabbed my bike and was on my way.

T1 Time - 9:28

The Bike (112 miles)
The bike course was 3 loops. Mentally, I broke this up into six 19ish mile sections. The course went Northeast of Tempe onto a road nicknamed The Beeline, through an Indian reservation, and back.

On the "out" sections, the first 10 miles was fairly flat, and the last 9 miles had a gradual incline of ~400 ft. This is nothing for those of us in Southern California that are used to climbing. It was, however noticeable that it was NOT flat. The good thing about this is that we had a slight descent for part of the way back! On my 6 mental segments, I'd look forward to getting to the turnarounds. On the "out" turnaround, I was excited because I had a descent (and a tailwind) coming up. On the "back" turnaround, I was excited because we turned around at transition and I could soak in the love of the crowd and see Pat and my Mom cheering me on.

Loop 1 Highlights
  • Seeing Pat and My mom heading out of T1

  • Mile 5- Passed the "country" aid station and saw one of the volunteers handing out water in a Speedo. Little things like that just put a smile on your face during such a tough day.
  • Mile 13 - Peed on my bike for the very first time. Yes, you may think this is disgusting, and it kinda is, but it saves you lots of time from having to stop. I would pee probably 7 more times on my bike and then rinse myself with water. My friend Tina stopped at the port-o-potty 6 times on the bike course, averaging 3 minutes each stop. If I stopped each time I had to go, thats 24 minutes I would have lost!

  • Mile 15 - I feel like I am going slow. What does my bike computer say? Is that 11 mph? Ugh! Luckily everyone else around me was struggling as well. We were heading up a slight hill and into the wind. Yuck!

  • Mile 19 - hit the turnaround for the first time. Averaged 25-27 miles an hour for the next 8 miles. Woo Hoo!

  • Mile 23 - GOT STUNG BY A BEE! Little B*tch! Got stung right in the chin. I pulled the stinger out and prayed for the next 10 miles or so that I wasn't allergic (I can't remember the last time I got stung). No swelling...breathing ok, I think I'll be fine!

  • Mile 37 - Done with loop 1. Saw Pat and Mom at the TCSD booth. Heard Mike Reilly call my name.

Loop 2 & 3 Highlights

When I hit loop 2, everything started blurring together. Sorry, no breakdown on miles on loops 2 and 3. Here's what I do remember:
  • Was able to maintain 13-14 miles/hour on the 2nd loop in the section I was riding at 11 mph on the first loop. Hmm...winds must be dying down. Unfortunately this meant that I had less help on the way back to town.

  • How easy it was to stop for my Special Needs bag. This was the only time I clipped out of my pedals durin gthe entire 112 miles, and it was only for 30 seconds. One of the volunteers brought my bag right to me, opened it up, and gave me what I asked for. I took my 2nd nutrition bottle (650 cals of Carbo-pro/Motor Tab mix), and completely forgot to take my extra Gu's. Oh well. I had more cals in my bento box, or could stop at an aid station if needed.
  • Passing the "country" aid station about 8 miles from the end of loop 2. "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" was playing. Hearing that made me Soooo happy!

  • Was able to maintain 15-16 mph on the out section of loop 3. Crap! The winds changed direction! Slight headwind on the way back. Now averaging 18 mph rather than 25 mph. Booooo!!!!

Overall, I was pleased with my bike. I finished where I thought I would. I had very minor stomach issues on the bike which were solved by peeing, eating, drinking, or taking salt. My shoulders and neck got tight the last loop, so I spent more time out of aero than I wanted to. I also had a bit of soreness in the saddle area, but that can be expected after 112 miles of sitting on a tiny seat.

Overall, I took in ~1300 calories of carbopro/motor tab mix (2 bottles), 300 calories of gu, 5 bottles of water, and 12 salt tabs. I was very happy with this nutrition.....on the bike.

The last 2 miles of the bike was great. I was soooo excited to be done! I rode through the chute back to transition (of course Pat was there cheering me on), and headed to T2.

Bike Time - 6:31:02 (17.19 mph pace)

Transition 2

T2 was pretty quick. I crossed the dismount line, unclipped (FINALLY) out of my bike pedals, and handed my bike to one of the volunteers (another perk of don't have to rerack your own bike!). I was off to pick up my T2 bag and hit the change tent.

Oooh. Ahh. Ooo. Brick legs like no other running to the transition bags. I guess I looked good though because volunteers were cheering me on saying "wow, look at her go" as I passed a few boys (in pure Jen N. fashion of course!) I made a quick stop in the tent to change into my run shorts (Thanks so much to the volunteer that helped me....I know my shorts smelled!) I got lathered up in sunscreen again. It was time to run!

T2 Time - 3:16

The Run (26.2 miles)

Like the bike, the run was 3 loops. Each loop was actually like a figure 8, so you got to run by transition area 2 times in every 9-ish mile segment. This, I have to say, was AWESOME! I got to see Pat, my mom, and the rest of the TCSD crew 6 times! The rest of the run was not so awesome....

My body decided it couldn't run and digest food at the same time. Blood flow could be used for the legs, or for the stomach, but not both. This sucked, because when my stomach felt good, I could've held a 10 minute pace easy. The legs felt great! Alas, I needed SOME calories, and even taking in a little bit would cause problems for my stomach. It would just sit there. UGH! It was so frustrating.

So, the run went something like this: run a bit, walk aid stations, take in small amount of food (coke, cookie, grapes, water, ice), walk a bit to let food digest, run a bit, walk up hill, run down hill, repeat. Unfortunately there were a couple moments on flat road with now aid stations where I had to walk as well. Boo Stomach!!!! The whole run went this way! I was cursing my stomach almost the whole time!

Other than stomach issues, much of the run was a blur Here's the details I DO remember:

  • I started the run and immediately saw Pat. Great inspiration! I smiled for the camera and made my way down the lake path.
  • Hit mile one and saw Mary's coach. He commented on how good my leg turnover looked. I agreed!
  • Passed Mary's coach and realized...uh oh, heart rate too high, stomach not happy, red alert red alert, need to walk NOW!
  • Got passed by Jen...she was on her 2nd loop looking GREAT!
  • Mile 4- best mile at 9:58 pace. Hit the mid-part of the figure 8. Saw Pat and Mom, ran under the bridge and saw the AWESOME TCSD crew!
  • Miles 5-9 - fairly good (according to my Garmin. I really don't remember)
  • Mile 10 - Decided to let myself walk all aid stations and the 2 hills on the north side of the lake. Saw Lorenzo getting off the massage table at one of the aid stations and walked with him for a minute.
  • Mile 13 - half way there. Feeling like crap. Ran into Mary. We ran together for a bit. This made me feel better. She was on her last loop...almost there!

  • Miles 19-20 - According to my Garmin, I did hit the wall. 13:26 pace and 13:54 pace. My worst miles of the day.

  • Miles 21-25.5 Pure survival. Glutes, hamstrings, quads, knees all bothering me now. Could've pushed through that pain. Still couldn't push through unhappy stomach issues. Met a girl named Jill from Sherman Oaks. We pushed eachother for a bit. This was great!

  • 0.5 miles left. Started picking up the pace! I was almost there. All smiles now. All pain is miraculously gone!
  • 0.3 miles left. Saw Pat and smiled for the camera (he then booked it to the finishline)

  • 0.15 miles left. Reached the fork in the road and took a left for the finishline

  • 0.1 mile left. Hit a dark, quiet part of a parking lot before making the turn to the finisher's chute. I had about 15 seconds where I was pretty much alone with my thoughts. Started getting a bit emotional and teary. This was really happening. In less than a minute, I'd be an Ironman.

  • Last 20 yards. Just Awesome. No words to describe. The crowd, the lights, the finishline. I put my arms arms up and smiled, smiled, smiled!

Jessica Motyl - You are an Ironman!

Well, I didn't really hear Mike Reilly announce me, but Pat says he did. I made it, I was an Ironman.

Run Time- 5:03:07 (11:34 pace)

Finish Time - 13:18:33

1350/2180 overall

29/50 W25-29

Post Race

Got caught by the finish line "catchers." They were great. They gave me my medal, shirt, hat, burrito blanket and took me to get my picture taken. They WOULD NOT let me go until I could convince them that I wasn't going to collapse. I'm glad they are there, but after awhile I was like, I swear! I'm ok! Fortunately, I found my Friend Marty at the finish exit and they released me to him. Unfortunately, Marty was as bad as the catchers. He WOULD NOT let go of me until we could find Pat and my mom. We spotted them pretty quickly, and I hobbled over to them for some big hugs and kisses!

I stuck around the finishline for about an hour. Took lots of pictures, ate some pizza, chatted with my friends and my coach, watched Tina finish, shared another teary hug with Tina and Jen. I finally decided it was time to call it a night (plus, we had to get Pat to the airport). Today was a great day, and I'll never forget it!
I'm sure I'll have a reflective "post-ironman" post in the next couple weeks, but before that I really want to make sure I thank my mom and Pat for supporting me all day long in the Arizona sun. It meant so much to me to have both of you out there. Big thanks also go out to the IMAZ were all amazing, my coach Mike, the TCSD support group, and my girls. I couldn't get to the finishline without you. may be asking, will I do another? The answer is yes. Not in 2009 (I have a MBA to finish) 2010? Maybe. I can't wait to do another. Call me crazy, but it was an awesome experience, and I can't wait to have another go at it.

Detailed Race Results:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ironman Arizona #2 - Pre-Race (Tempe)

Ironman Weekend started on Thursday. I picked my mom up from the airport and drove directly to Arizona (Thanks mom for traveling all day for me!) We arrived (fairly exhausted) around 9:30 pm, unpacked the car, and went to bed. I had 3 long days ahead of me!


My crazy week took more out of me than I thought. Getting up at 6:30 am was tough. Granted it was really like 5:30 am for my body since Arizona is an hour ahead of San Diego, but still...I couldn't believe it was that hard to get out of bed!

I went down to the lobby for breakfast, and had my first experience of the Ironman "buzz." 7am and the breakfast area was packed with fellow triathletes! Triathletes are pretty easy to spot. They were all in athletic warm-up gear....oh and the guys were all skinnier than me with smoother legs. :) The Brazilian Mafia was staying at my hotel. There were like 20 of them! There's something about triathletes with accents (Brazilian, European, Australian...all of them). They just sound fast! I'm sure they all kicked my butt on race day. Oh well.

My mom and I drove down to the expo area/transition so I could meet the girls for our morning swim in Tempe Town lake. Friday's schedule called for a 20 minute swim, and 2 mile run. Just enough to get used to the water and to keep the legs warm. As soon as I saw the girls, any nerves I had just vanished. We were in this thing together. Everything would be ok on Sunday.

I was very happy to have gotten a swim in. I hadn't been in open water since late September, and forgot what 63 degree water felt like. Quite a cold shock at first, but actually a good race water temperature for me. Once the water gets near 70, I start overheating in my wetsuit. This was perfect wetsuit/double cap water.

I ran with Tina, Elaine, Mary and Jen after the swim. Despite our frozen feet, for some reason we started running a 7:45 pace. What?!?!? And it felt easy! Must have been the adrenaline from actually running on the race course. I tried my best to slow things down. This would not be even near my Ironman race pace!

The rest of the day consisted of:

                • Registration

                • Lunch

                • Shopping at the Expo (where I let my mom know that the Zoot recovery tights would be a GREAT Christmas present....Thanks Mom!)

                • Driving the course

                • Dinner at Ra (Honestly, Sushi may be better for triathletes than pasta)

                • Pre-race meeting

                • Bed (SOOO tired at 9:00 pm. I thought I was supposed to relax the days before an Ironman...Friday was NOT relaxing!)


                Saturday was another early morning. I met up with Coach Mike at 8am to go over swim strategy. His advice was sight off the wall and keep a constant distance from it (15-20 m or so). Jen, Elaine, Tina and I then did a 30 minute easy ride on the bike course before getting our bikes and gear ready to turn in.

                (Side note: My mom was a fantastic Sherpa this weekend! Not only carrying my stuff, but making Target and grocery store runs while I got other things done. Thanks Mom!)

                At 12:30 pm we got to pick Pat up from the airport! Yippee! Pat was awesome, and was able to come in for 36 hours to watch me race. It really wouldn't have been the same without him there. I was so happy he was in Tempe to share this experience with me. We spent most of Saturday afternoon relaxing (watching Wall-E on Pat's computer) and eating.

                For dinner, we made another trip to Ra for Sushi. I was originally thinking pasta as that is usually my carboload dinner, but the sushi from the night before worked really well. Most importantly, it didn't sit like a rock in my stomach like a big pasta meal sometimes does. Plus, sushi does have all of the important nutrients we needed: Carbs = rice, Protein = tuna, edamamae, Salt = miso soup, soy sauce. I think I may have found a new pre-race meal!

                So, I made it! Less than 12 hours until the gun goes off. Was I really doing this? Yes I was! I was ready!

                Ironman Arizona #1 - Pre-Race (San Diego)

                Ok folks! This is going to be a long one. A long SERIES of posts actually. So much went into this race (phyically = 6 months, mentally = 11 months), that one report just can't do this experience justice.

                Throughout my posts, you'll start to see a girls. Honestly, I don't think this race would've been possible without them. Jen, Tina, Elaine (B&G), Mary, Mer, Juls, Joanne, Stacy, and Angie. Not everyone did the race, but all were there throughout the entire journey, and I'm so grateful for that. I signed up for the race because of them (Peer pressure = Jen saying "Do it now, because in 2010 you may be married and knocked up!"). I got through my long rides because of them (6 hours on a bike each Saturday will make you like family). We motivated each other and consumed LOTS of food together (Coke, carbo-pro, Sunchips, Pizza Port, Gu, Pierogis, Fondue, Gatorade, Steak, Frozen Yogurt, Sushi, Crab Legs....ok, I think I'll stop now). We went through this journey together, and even though triathlon is an individual sport, we were a team.

                Pat and my family also made this journey possible. Pat and my mom both gave me the encouragement to sign up (STILL working on my Dad, he STILL thinks I'm crazy! :). Thanks especially to Pat for being so patient with me through my training. Since he was on the east coast for the past 4 months, we didn't get to see each other very often....yet, when we did, he completely supported me and the workouts I needed to get in. And since most of our commuication was via phone, he got to listen to endless babbling about my workouts. He never once complained. I am SO SO SO lucky to have a man in my life that supports me the way he does, and shares in a passion for triathlon and staying active and healthy. Thanks Pat! :)

                Ok, back to pre-race. Where shall I begin......

                T minus 8 Days - Saturday 11/15
                Had my last "long" ride with the girls. My workout was to do 30 miles, with the middle 10 miles hard. Most of the other girls had 30 miles as well, so we decided that 2 loops on the Silver Strand in Coronado would do the trick. 1 hour and 45 minutes later, our last long ride was done. Although this was less than a third of the distance of many of our long rides, it was still a thrill to be done. I would find that throughout the week, I hit what I felt were all monumental moments in my training. The last long ride, the last long run, the last pool swim in San Diego, the last pre-race 5am run, the last trainer ride (FYI...the trainer WILL NOT be used for a long long time....spin class or outside until at least mid-January!)

                Post-ride, the girls and I stopped at a Coronado cafe for a 2 hour breakfast. See below. Such good times!

                T minus 6 Days - Monday 11/17
                It's Ironman week! And of course more stressful than I ever imagined. After an unfortunate incident at the lube shop, my transmission pump on my car needed to be replaced. Great! Started stressing big time. A $1600 car repair bill plus hotel, food, gear later in the week in Tempe! Not what I need just before the holidays. Luckily, my car was fixed quickly, and this little debacle kept my mind off of the upcoming race.

                T minus 4 Days - Wednesday 11/19
                Car is fixed, I'm over the money thing. Now I'm stressing about the race. Am I really going to do this thing? There are moments when I feel nauseous and light-headed. Am I really going to do this thing? It's hard for me to eat...nothing sounds appetizing. Lots of Emergen-C so I don't get sick. Am I really going to do this thing?

                T minus 3 Days - Thursday 11/20
                Last day of work. I came to the conclusion that I AM going to do this thing. What WAS nerves, turned into pure excitement and emotion. I got teary eyed every time a co-worker wished me luck. Something big was going to happen on Sunday. One of my co-workers is a Deacon at one of the local Catholic churches, and he blessed me just before I headed out the door. Really Awesome! I busted out of work at 1:30 to pick my mom up from the airport and head to Tempe....Ironman weekend was here! :)

                Saturday, November 8, 2008

                2 Weeks....

                Yes, I'm almost there. 2 weeks and counting.

                I know I haven't posted in eons, but honestly, I've just been WAY too exhausted. Between work, school, and training, I have nothing left to be creative on my computer in the evenings. Now that it is taper time, and I only had a 65 mile ride this morning, I figured I could give it a shot. So, here's an update on how things have been going the past couple months!

                **Note, I've posted random pictures of the few fun things I've done in the past couple months to show that I kind of (used very loosely) have a life outside of work, eat, train, school, sleep. :) **

                Training has actually gone quite well for me these past two months. My weekly schedule has been something like this:

                Monday: 4 mile run am, ~2500 yd swim pm

                Tuesday: Track workout with my coach, Mike Plumb. 2 mile warm-up, 3 mile main set, 1/2 mile cool down

                Wednesday: ~2500 yd swim

                Thursday: 4 mile run am, 1+ hour Trainer ride pm

                Friday: 4 mile run am, Long swim (3000-4400 yds) pm

                Saturday: Long ride, brick run

                Sunday: Long run

                Since I "officially" started my Ironman training plan with Mike on the day after Memorial Day, I have logged 166,000 yds swimming (94 miles), 1631 miles on the bike, and 616 running miles.

                Epic Workouts
                Throughout the past months, I have had what I would consider, some epic workouts. The first was 2 weeks after Big Kahuna. Mike's schedule for my Saturday was:
                • 1 hour swim
                • 100 mile bike
                • 1 hour run

                Let me just tell you, I was scared sh*tless for this one! Luckily, my good friend Elaine is also using Mike as a coach, and she had the same workout. We started at 7am in La Jolla Cove. Our ride took us from La Jolla, up to San Clemente (yes, that's Orange County folks!), and then back to La Jolla. We arrived back to our cars just before 4pm....102 bike miles later. I ended up cutting the run a little short (30 mins rather than 1 hour) because it was getting late....and I had places to go! I somehow managed to make it to a bachelorette party at 7pm that night (looking cute, I might add...that's been a tough one these days!) My scheduled run for the next day was 10 miles. For a long run, that's pretty short, but let's just say that after that epic Saturday, the run was not fun!

                Another "epic" workout included a 100 mile ride/6 mile run brick. For this workout, we had a pretty big group. We had a headwind for the last 15 miles heading North into San Clemente, but had a WONDERFUL tailwind the entire 50 miles back to Fiesta Island. The brick run was tough as it was pretty warm out, but I managed to run the 6 miles at just over a 9 minute pace (Thanks Elaine for being my carrot)! Again, my 12 mile run the next day was probably my toughest mental challenge workout during training.

                My final big weekend was last weekend. Saturday was an 80/4 brick, and Sunday was a 16 mile run. The brick went well, and Elaine...the crazy runner she is off the bike, helped us push the pace on the run. For Sunday's run, I headed to Mission Bay, and the Mission Beach boarwalk. At about 13 miles, I ran into Tina. She decided to turn around and run with me. Five minutes later, we ran into Mary, and she decided to join us as well. I ended up adding a little on to my run with the girls, and got back to my car at 18.6 miles. Having never run 20 miles before, I decided....what the hell? I finished the run in 3:03:30, a 9:11 pace. I was super excited. The hard training was epic day...Ironman!

                Friends and Support

                All of this training would never have been possible without my girls. Elaine, Tina, Joanne, Mary, Elaine G., Jen, Mer, Juls, Stacy. Long rides, emotional support, and post-ride food friends. They've been there for all of it.
                Pat has also been my rock through training. He listens to my long, boring stories about each workout, and provides motivation, strength and confidence for the workouts that make me anxious. On my first epic workout day, I was at mile 80 on my ride, with Torrey still to climb at mile 95. I was so tired! And then I got a text from Pat, simply saying "You're doing great." That was all I needed to kick it into high gear and finish my workout. Thanks Pat, I love you!


                Here I am! 2 weeks from now, I will be embarking on the greatest physical challenge I have ever put my body through. Although I have moments of nervousness, I know I am ready. I've put in the hard work, and now I'm ready to roll!

                Sunday, September 7, 2008

                Big Kahuna Half Ironman - 2008

                Big Kahuna, by far, has to be one of my favorite races. This year didn't disappoint!

                Juls and I started our road trip at 5am on Saturday morning. We were able to fit 2 girls, 2 bikes, and gear into a Ford Focus. We rock! The ride was pretty uneventful. Driving up The 5 through the Central Valley is really not exciting. Luckily we had my "Pat-loaded" iPod, and were able to keep occupied by listening to This American Life and some good tunes.

                We arrived in Santa Cruz around 1pm, dropped our stuff off at the house we were renting, and headed to the expo. After a quick ride and run, it was back to the house for a little relaxation before dinner. Fortunately, Marianne's Ice Cream was on the way home, so I made Juls stop. It's only the best ice cream in the world :)

                We shared a nice big house (5 bedrooms!) with Tina, Stacy S., Joanne, Darrell and Don. Lucky for us, the boys are stellar chefs. Saturday night was Darrell's turn. He made this great chicken pasta salad, as well as a Tomato and Basil salad. And then we had homemade cobbler for dessert! Thank's Darrell, you rock! :)

                Race day started early. Last year was cloudy in the morning, which was nice. The clouds stuck around until a couple miles into my run. No such luck this year. Not a cloud in the sky. Luckily the temperature had dropped from the day before (it was 80 when we arrived in SC on Saturday), so the day wouldn't be too bad.
                The water was at least 60 degrees this year (maybe 62?), which was nice. It felt really cold warming up, but once the gun went off, I was no longer even close to cold. The swim was fairly uneventful. I felt much better in the water for this race than I did on my Oceanside swim earlier this year. The swim still seemed really long. When I got out of the water, and saw the time on my watch, I was satisfied. I was 5 minutes slower than last year, but thought the course was really short last year as well. I came out in my expected 1.2 mile swim time.

                We started the bike and headed directly into the wind for the first half of the out and back course. We had wind, and fog, lots of fog. It was crazy to see it move in over the coast. It was so thick that I was dripping water from my bike and body, and had to take my sunglasses off for most of my ride to see. It was nice though, because it kept things really cool. I reached the turn-around around 1:40. I knew that with out a very strong tailwind, there was no way I'd beat last year's time of 2:55. The trip back to town was a bit painful for me. My back and neck got sooo tight. I'll need to spend a lot of time in aero for the next couple weeks getting ready for IMAZ. I finished the bike and was excited to run.

                I was really excited for the run. This is what I had been working on most in my training, and I knew I could easily demolish my 2:10 time from last year. I hit the turn around at exactly 1 hour. If I ran hard, I could beat 2 hours. I was on track, but then I got a bit confused. My Garmin had been pretty dead on for most of the run, but then I didn't hit the mile 8 marker until mile 8.3 or so on my Garmin. Maybe I wouldn't make it in under 2. I tried so hard to both finish the run in sub-2 and the race in sub-6, but I just missed.

                All in all, I was pleased with my race. My nutrition worked well, and my run really did get better.

                My splits were as follows:
                Swim: 42:58
                T1: 5:06
                Bike: 3:09:06
                T2: 1:33
                Run: 2:03:20 (Garmin read 13.4 miles)
                Total: 6:02:04

                Slower than last year, but everyone was slower than last year, so I was ok with it.

                Recovery consisted of another great meal cooked by the boys! Thanks Don and Darrell! I'm looking forward to another great Big Kahuna weekend with you guys next year!

                Sunday, August 17, 2008

                AFC Half Marathon

                Playing Catch-up on blog posts. I did the AFC half marathon in mid-August for the 3rd year in a row. For some reason, for the past two years, I really couldn't get a hold of this race, running it in 1:55 and change in 2006, and 1:56 and change in 2007 (it was really hot out). With the August heat (yes, I've become a wimp in San Diego, and anything over 70 degrees for a run is hot), and the 1.5 mile hill at mile 11.5, I never thought beating 1:50 in this race was possible for me.

                I guess Mike's training plan for me has done me well. I finished the race in 1:49 Flat! :) That's an 8:19 pace! Not my half marathon PR, but pretty close. For the weeks leading up to the race, Mike had me running 30+ miles/week. For someone that has averaged 15-20 miles/week for the past couple years, this was quite a jump. I was running Monday night, Tuesday Morning, Tuesday night (track practice), Thursday morning, Friday morning, and Sunday (long run). Pretty crazy! I made it through, and was feeling good leading up to this race. This was my first time doing this race with my Garmin, and it worked well. My goal was to run a 8:30 pace. If I could maintain that, I could easily beat my time from last year. I found that for most of the race, I could easily maintain a 8:15 pace, so I decided to go with it. The climb up A and 6th streets slowed me down a bit, but as soon as I reached the top of the hill, I pushed the pace to the finish. I knew if I pushed it, I'd have no problem beating the 1:50 mark. I was thrilled to see my final time of 1:49. :)

                Saturday, May 31, 2008

                Ironman Arizona Training Begins.....I now have a coach!

                As of May 27, I am officially training for my first Ironman. Less than 6 months until the big day. I have found that to maintain my busy lifestyle, there are things I need to cooking (I eat out most evenings of the week), and my cleaning (I wish...I just don't clean). To make things even easier for myself, I have decided to outsource my training plan and work with a coach for IMAZ.

                I met Mike Plumb, my coach, shortly after moving to San Diego. He's a top-age grouper, mad cyclist (so, so, so fast), and experienced coach. My friend Jen has been working with him for the past six months, and I saw the crazy improvments she has made, so I figured this could be a great thing for me as well. Plus, this will keep me from second-guessing my own training strategy. I'm looking forward to this journey. Here's a peek at my first week's schedule....

                Tuesday: 4 mile run
                Wednesday: AM: Swim (2500 yds), PM: 20 mile bike
                Thursday: 4 mile am run
                Friday: AM pool swim or PM cove swim (I did both...2000 yds in am, 800 yds in pm)
                Saturday: 45 mile bike
                Sunday: 10 mile run

                The first 6 weeks will be tough, because I have class two nights a week. Come July, I have 8 weeks off of school, and then when I start back in the fall, I'll only have one night a week. By then, I should be used to the early AMs. 4:45 is VERY early, but I've learned that I don't need to stay up to 11 pm every night playing on Facebook or watching mindless TV. Bedtime is 9:30/10:00 from now on.

                More updates to come...

                Thursday, May 1, 2008

                The TCSD Saturday Morning Ride

                For the past three years, most of my Saturday mornings start bright and early at the Del Mar Starbucks for the infamous TCSD Saturday Morning Ride. Depending on the time of year, and what I'm racing for, and the weather (we don't really like the rain here in San Diego) this ride has several options:
                • Del Mar Starbucks to Carlsbad Starbucks and back - 30 miles
                • Del Mar Starbucks to Oceanside Harbor and back- 40 miles
                • Del Mar Starbucks to (or past) Las Pulgas gate (through Camp Pendleton) and back - 60-80 miles
                • Sometimes we even ride an inland hilly loop (Del Dios, Harmony Grove, Elfin Forest, San Elijo, La Costa, and back (well, really a loop) - 47 miles

                As painful as this ride can be (especially when we do 70 miles + hills), this is a high point in my week. I know I'll be with friends and have good conversation, the coastal views will be stunning, and Starbucks will be waiting for me at the finish. :)

                Monday, April 21, 2008

                Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

                Yesterday was TCSD Softball day. Softball?!?!? Yes, you read that correctly. On Sunday afternoon, a bunch of us tri-geeks tried our hands at a team sport.

                This was pretty exciting for me because:

                1) We were playing at the park across the street from my condo complex...There are never any workouts in my neck of the woods!!!
                2) I've been wanting to play softball since my glory days in high school

                I learned:
                1) Don't forget to put on sunblock
                2) It may not be the best idea to do a 9 mile run in the canyons just prior to the game
                3) I'm not in high school anymore! I used some muscles I forgot I had! I'm paying for it today.....
                4) I'm afraid of the ball (It's amazing how easily you lose that confidence in going for grounders)
                5) I no longer have depth perception....where the hell is that ball going?
                6) A trip to the batting cages would be good (see below). Am I bunting, or am I hacking away at something? Neither! Maybe I should stick to triathlon! :)

                Sunday, March 30, 2008

                Reality Check - 2008 Ironman CA 70.3

                Well, for better or for worse, the 2008 race season is now in full swing. Yesterday marked the start of what is probably going to be a long year.

                Going in to this race, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I had put in the same amount of training as I had for the same race last year, but for some reason, I did not feel as ready. In the past couple months, my already lacking swim form had deteriorated. My bike felt fine, but my feet had been bothering me on the run since my foot sprain in October. Plus, school has been kicking my A$$, so quality training was really difficult thing to achieve. So, with that being said, I went into this race expecting the worst, but hoping for the best.

                The worst didn't happen, but this was definitely not my best race.

                I felt really relaxed on race morning. My stomach felt fine, with no real butterflies. I only had to go to the bathroom once at the race site (compared to 3 times last year). I chatted with Bethany and Caroline in transition, and before I knew it, we were in the water.

                The water felt surprisingly warm this year. That was probably the only good thing about this leg. Like I mentioned before, my swim form has been TERRIBLE lately....and that made me feel TERRIBLE in this race. I could not for the life of me find my rhythm. I felt extremely awkward in the water, and I was exhausted by the turnaround. I saw bright green caps, light blue caps, and red caps pass me. Then I saw dark green caps pass me. Oh, this was bad. People that started 16 minutes after me were passing me! Absolutely deflating! This is where the "reality check" started to come in to play. 1.2 miles....I swim that distance all the time with no problem in the pool. This was hurting though. I kept on thinking about how much work I'm going to have to do to be ready for 2.4 miles at IMAZ in November. Masters Swim and private lessons....I definitely need to do something!
                Other than the 1/4 mile run through transition, T1 was pretty fast. Momo was volunteering, and was situated near my rack when I arrived. It was good to see a friendly face after such a horrible swim! I do, however, want to apologize to Momo for being such a "Debbie Downer." I spent most of my time in T1 complaining to her about my bad swim. Next time, I promise I'll be more positive! :) I saw plenty of other TCSDers volunteering in transition as well....Brian Long, James D, and Kevin K just to name a few. Thanks guys!

                The bike is usually the easy portion of a tri for me. Not this time. My legs that seemed super-fresh on my little 10-mile bike check on Thursday were nowhere to be found! Just disappeared. Even with the tailwinds on the first 20 miles! I found myself a little off pace after those first 20 miles, and then it was time to head inland an into the miles. There are a couple of good climbs on the back side of Pendleton, however only one of them is worth any worry. I made it up that one, slow, but I made it up (many people walk their bikes at this point because the climb is so steep). That's where the fun began. This race is usually known for headwinds heading west back to transition for the last 10 miles. For some reason, I was feeling headwinds heading SOUTH through the hills. This wasn't good. Miles 30-45 were painful! When I reached the last stretch, there was NOTHING left in the tank. This is where the "reality check" came in again. I need to spend a lot more time on the bike before IMAZ!!!!

                T2 was quick, but I saw Farah and James D as I was running in with my bike. Again, it was great to see so many friends.


                For some reason, the run was the easiest part of the journey for this race this year. Of course it was painful, but I was easily able to just get in the "zone" and get it done. It helped that I got to see friends running by on the 2 loop out and back course. Plus, there was "The Love Stop," the TCSD aid station that I got to run past 4 times, and get words of encouragement from Pat, Courtney, Darrell and a bunch of others. Again, I was pretty deflated coming off of the bike, but was able to put on a smile for Pat and the camera....

                This picture (3 seconds later) shows how I really felt though.The run did get better as time went on. My feet were numb for the first half, but I felt great for the last loop!

                So, this was not my best race. But I took a lot away from it.
                • I have A LOT of work to do before IMAZ
                • My carbopro/motortab mix is Wonderful! (plus a red potato)
                • You can't get a PR in every race
                • When a race is not going your way, try to put on a smile and have fun. We do this for fun, right?

                The Breakdown:

                • Overall time: 6:26:32 (33 minutes SLOWER than last year)
                • Swim: 48:16
                • T1: 4:14
                • Bike: 3:24:18
                • T2: 2:19
                • Run: 2:07:27

                Saturday, February 16, 2008

                February TCSD Race (aka The 9th Circle of Hell)

                Days like today remind me how crazy (and sometimes stupid) I really am. I'm a sucker for competition. That is the only way I can explain it. It's February, and even though it's San Diego....It's COLD! Many mornings are in the low 40s, the water is in the low 50s. The flu has been going around, and I am traveling later this week to ice cold Minneapolis. In addition, it rained like crazy on Thursday, causing nasty runoff into Mission Bay......and.... it is jellyfish season!

                Despite all of this, I took the plunge.

                The race consisted of a 2 loop, 800 m swim, a 12.5 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. After putting on my wetsuit, I walked down to the water. The sand was wet and COLD! I can't even put into words how cold my feet were. Pure pain! Paul, Elizabeth, and JT were sitting on the sand with their feet up in the air because it was too cold for them. Usually when the sand is this cold, the water feels warmer. Not today. The water was just as cold. The gun went off and we all jumped in. As soon as my face hit the water, I was again in pure pain. After swimming about 50 m, I decided I was done. My whole body hurt from the cold, and I was hyperventilating a bit. I started swimming towards shore, and then saw Leann swimming behind me. She couldn't even put her face in the water. She talked me into sticking with it....we could do it together. That was the extra push that I needed. I decided to go for it. The first loop of the swim was marked by hitting warm spots (relatively warm spots), and really really cold spots that caused my whole body to tingle with pain. There was also a jellyfish or 200 that I had to swim through. Usually this grosses me out, but I was so cold, I didn't even care. The 2nd loop was more of the same, except we had finally scared the jellyfish out of the way.

                T1 came, and was SLOW. 3 minutes or so. I took my time. I couldn't really move my hands or feet, so putting on my socks and long sleeve jersey were quite the challenge. Oh well, being warm was more important to me at that time than being fast.

                The bike was 5 small loops around Fiesta Island for 12.5 total miles. It was a good speed workout other than the fact that my feet were like blocks of ice. Most of my thoughts on the bike were about how much the run was going to hurt with my frozen feet.

                The run was short. It was a very bizarre feeling to start my run on complete ice blocks. My feet finally thawed at 1.5 miles, so the last half mile I finally felt pretty good, and actually a little WARM! Pat had finished the race about 10 minutes before me, so he ran back and ran the last 1/4 mile with me to the finish.

                I finished to find out that 3 of the top men (Paul, Eric, and Dean) had all dropped out of the race during the first 100 m of the swim because they were too cold. Even though I did not win, that definitely made me feel like a champ. :)

                18:55 Swim
                3:31 T1
                40:27 Bike
                1:10 T2
                15:49 Run
                Total = 1:19:54 (1:19:49 TCSD Time)