Saturday, May 29, 2010

"the middle"

racing this season is book-ended by 2 ironmans. over the past few weeks, i've given some thought to all the fun in "the middle" and here's what i've come up with. i may throw a 10k or mountain bike race in there, but that's pretty much it.

Xterra Mission Gorge 15k trail race 5/30 (whoops, that's tomorrow!)
San Diego International Triathlon 6/27
(Solana Beach Triathlon- tentative)
Steelhead 70.3 7/31
Santa Barbara Triathlon 8/28
San Diego Triathlon Classic 9/18
KONA Ironman World Championship 10/9

i am perhaps most excited about the San Diego Triathlon Classic.

it happens to be the only USAT sanctioned olympic distance triathlon in San Diego (the freaking birthplace of triathlon!). Luckily, my friends at Moment Cycle Sport noticed last year that San Diego needed its own real honest to goodness OD triathlon and they created the Classic. last year the triathlon got RAVE reviews (best course, best awards, best food!!!) from the participants and I had total FOMO (fear of missing out) from all the good stories. So i'm not missing it this year. the course has some awesome hills on the bike and of course, some san diego bay views on the run. so i was heading to register, but i thought i'd check with my Moment Cycle friends to see if they had a discount for the race (after all i'm still neck deep in 4 years of student loans on a teacher's salary!) - and well, they did.
the GREAT news is they also had a discount code for any of my blog readers- an a nice one too. $20 off! Use the code Beth2010 . so come and join me! what's better than san diego in september? pretty much nothing, i can assure you that :)

register here!
and by the way, not only is it San Diego's only Olympic Distance USAT race, BUT it just so happens to fall on September 18th. which is 3 weeks before Kona. which is perfect timing for a final tune up!! WHOOOP WHOOP! Oh, I'm getting so excited already. can you feel it? let me know if you are coming!

off now to ride 103 miles to mt. laguna- a place there was snow the last time i rode. i can't wait. why am i doing this? because i can! (and they promised not to hammer).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

i smell summer!

this weekend reminded me that summer is approaching. although the weather wasn't too summer-ful, i really started to feel the triathlon season in full swing. lots of activities with lots of great people.

thursday was the first Triathlon Club of San Diego Aquathlon of 2010. A 1000 meter choppy ocean swim with a 5k beach run makes for good times.

katya and i had an awesome t-shirt sighting.our lululemon sweatshirts are cute, but we got nothin' on this guys attire. says it all.
and i got to hang out with speedy nytrowomen manager/friend/hot momma kristin. she's gearing up for Honu 70.3 and all i can say is watch out, ladies! kristin is a truly BALANCED athlete- strong in all 3 sports.

so that was thursday. i don't even remember friday. probably included swim and yoga as usual.

saturday was another TCSD event- the May club triathlon. 800meter swim, 12.5 miles bike, 4 mile run on fiesta island. With over 200 participants, chip timing, and full breakfast (eggs, oatmeal, french toast, lots of Kashi (one of the race sponsors) and fruit), you definitely get your money's worth. oh, wait. it's FREE! i felt great at the club race and raced well. i think i've shaken off the Ironman cobwebs! woo hoo! dirk has me doing a lot of short speedy stuff this month, which is fun, but it hurts!

ok, back to the TCSD triathlon. the brekkie was perfect to refuel before a 3 hour ride up the coast post-race (We are long course triathletes, you know). unfortunately, i had forgotten to pack my un-aero helmet for the t-ride and ended up looking like this on our ride up the coast.

thanks to julie, jen, tatiana and JD for putting up with me. i'm sure all the roadies on the coast got a good laugh. when james saw the picture he said i was no longer part of the family.

sunday we woke up to crazy winds. i ran an hour on the treadmill and then decided to give the roads a try. 4 of us had planned on riding, but we were down to two. it was one of those maybe better off inside days and i came THIS close to bailing. but i rode down to katya's and we decided to charge it. she promised to pull, and i promised to pull "in spirit". i also promised to stay fueled so at least if i flew OTB (off the back) it wasn't because i was bonking. i figured i at least owed her that for a 4.5 hour tow, so i ate up! we made our way up lake wohlford and out to valley center. every time i'd almost lose her wheel, i'd try to remind myself that there are millions of guys out there that would kill for my view (of her bum!). but, as hot as she is, i fell off on the steeper parts. one day, one day. we finally made it home and i was smashed.

now, back to business this week. james brought me home a great little surprise today. will blog about it tomorrow!

Friday, May 14, 2010

IMSG: Chapters...well, the end

like a good wine, it's all about a strong finish

ok, i'm losing track here of all these chapters, so that must mean you are too. forget the chapters, i'm just going to finish things up. i was at the end of the 112 mile bike ride.

so...IMSG: the end.

I (happily) gave away my bike and ran into T2. I wasn’t DYING to get off the bike as I had thought I would be. My ride overall was much more comfortable than I had anticipated. My Colnago Flight fits me perfectly and I had no back issues or tightness (thanks to Nytro and my awesome fit from Danielle and Walt). Also, since I had worn my bike shorts (vs. tri shorts), no chafing or saddle issues whatsoever.

Anyhow, I ran into T2 and prepared for my final outfit change. I asked the volunteers for wet paper towels to wipe some of the bike grease and grime off me. Next time, I need to remember to put towels in both my bike and run bag. I changed into my lululemon speed shorts and Nytro women’s tank top and grabbed my lucky Zoot visor, Ultra TT shoes and red bull (with sugar! Not the sugar-free one!) and headed out for the 2-loop run. I had been nervous about trying the red bull for the first time on race day and the volunteer didn’t help by telling me that the last time she drank one it “went right through her”. Uh, thanks! But, I had nothing to lose and wanted to try all my stuff, so I ran out down Tabernacle street past all the crowds chugging my red bull. classy!

I passed James and a bunch of friends in town and my legs felt good- not at all like I had ridden the longest ride of my life. Still, I told myself that I didn’t have to run hard, just give it a good shot, and enjoy my backstage pass to the run “show”. I knew there would be some suffering out there and I wanted to see it! Somehow in my mind, I became more of a spectator than a racer. Slater always says, "You bring the popcorn, I'll bring the pain." I felt like this was my chance to bring the popcorn and the pain. I got to watch everything, no "worries" about winning, but also give it a nice shot at my best effort (which would intevitably involve pain). I was running along for the first loop, taking in everything along the way. All the racers, spectators, beatiful red mountain, and did my typical cheering for lots of friends. I saw some familiar faces near the end of their first run loop as I was starting mine and had a couple moments of, “that should be me” but I got over it. My plan was to run until I couldn’t run anymore. No walking the aid stations for fear I wouldn’t start again. I had 2 sleeves of clif blocks for my fuel and supplemented the whole way with water for the first half and then water and coke for the second half (I figured I should hold off on the cola since in had a sugar/caffeine bomb with the red bull). I also had one red vine somewhere along the way, but that’s it. There were just too many choices at all of the aid stations and I was in decision-paralysis mode each time and ended up focusing on making sure I didn’t miss the coke or water.

On the first loop of the run, I didn’t look at my pace at all, but I still held my garmin in my hand to watch heart rate (remember, it had broke on my way out of T1 so I couldn’t wear it on my wrist). I kept my heart rate between 150 and 155 even on the big hills. Since I had no pressure to catch up to someone ahead, I just decided to race according to plan (by heartrate and not blowing up!) . So when I was running up the hills at 9 or 10 minutes miles, I didn’t worry and knew that lots of that time would be made up on the downhills. The first lap was pretty fun because I kept a nice eye on the women’s race (pro and age group) and the end of the male age group race. The running was just a lot of up and down and up and down and keepin’ on keepin’ on. I think I have a talent for disconnecting my body and my mind in some aspects of racing. I just kept my legs moving, but was thinking about everything besides running. It was like watching a movie of myself. I think I was pretty highly caffeinated. So that was the first loop.

I came back into town to get special needs and start on loop two. I don’t think I took anything from my run special needs bag, and I tossed it to james. I looked down at my watch at 13.1 miles and it said 1:40. Sweet. I was running on pace for sub 3:30 on a challenging course and I felt good. I was certain it was too good to be true.

But, that is when MY race began. I decided I was going to try my hardest run sub 3:30 and I set off on loop two. I was pretty nervous because you hear about how that last half is just torture. I kept my plan going and ran through all the aid stations and ran up all the hills keeping my heart rate in check. I started to feel like a bull in a china shop because the aid stations were mini cocktail parties and I was just plowing through. At one point, heading on to red hills parkway at mile 16-ish, I jogged up the big hill and saw about 50 people. I was the only one in sight running. The longer I ran, the more disoriented I became. It was very windy up there (some people were wearing the space capes) and the scenery all blends in after a while (lots of red hills on that red hills parkway!)- sometimes I had trouble conceptualizing where I was on the course, thinking, “Wait. Did I do the out and back nubby part yet?” and things like that. The miles came and went and I kept chugging along. Okay, don't kill me for this part. I have to say that I never felt bad. I kept waiting for it and it never came. I just kept keepin’ on keepin’ on (that’s what was going through my head). I didn't feel like I was running for 3+ hours. It felt like a 2 hour run.

The aid stations and volunteers were all awesome and had lots of good music pumping. As I went through and would pick up a tune (some Ke$ha and some Lady Gaga) I would start singing it and smiling. I did lots and lots of thanking and hootin’ and hollerin’. Heck, this was Ironman and it was fun and I was doing it! It wasn’t hard to be happy, there were so many people cheering me on and saying I looked great (I did have a nice backdrop of people walking so I think I looked extra fast in comparison) . I was surprised to get to mile 23 and realize that I was going to finish and finish strong and I started to think about how I couldn't wait for my next Ironman. And if I didn’t blow it, cruise in under 3:30. The last few miles were totally out of body. My legs just kept rolling and the gradual downhill and super loud and packed final mile just made you float to the finish.

I crossed the line and felt great.
My volunteer “catcher” was Vivian and she was this super cute older woman. James came around the finish before they took me away (why do they do that- to make sure you are ok?) and gave me a kiss.
I had told james before the race that I would be happy to run under 4 hours on that course in my first ironman. As Slater would say, I crushed my own dreams and ran a 3:23 (7:47 pace). This ended up as the fastest amateur run time and 4th among the pro women. Never would I have imagined that I could run that on that day. Even with a few more years, I doubt any ironman marathon experience will be as fulfilling as this one. Its not because I ran more quickly than I thought, more so that even when I was down and not “winning” that I still acted like a winner and gave it my best shot. It is extremely rare that I am ever proud of myself. In life, I work hard , and I expect that the hard work will result in good results, whether it be athletic or professional or whatever.I also think that hard work in itself is an expectation and given, not something exceptional or that one should be proud of. But for me, this race was more than just execution of hard work; it was not giving up and not even halfway giving in. I'm proud of being resilient in that race and only hope that if life throws me curveballs much greater than a simple mechanical at ironman, that I handle them with the type of resilience I learned on May 1st.
anyway. when's kona?

Monday, May 10, 2010

IMSG: Chapters 7 & 8

okay, let's finish up this bike and get on to the run tomorrow.

Chapter 7. "special needs" and the alien belly
after i passed james and the crowd in town, the 2-loop section of the course begins. i think each loop is 47 miles. the first 2/3 are UP and the last 1/3 is DOWN. i settled back into my race plan. i could have just ridden easy given the mishaps, but instead, i wanted to see if i could actually execute my race plan/heart rate/nutrition. i kept my heartrate on the lower end of what dirk had suggested (i didn't have that eye of the tiger anymore), but i was still pushing and soaking it all in. the climbs were fun and i was passing people all over the place. when i got to special needs, i got off and took my time and went to the bathroom. afterall, no rush anymore. in my special needs bag, i had an extra bottle of perpetuem (cafe latte flavor) in the bag (along with a snickers and some popchips). i started in on this bottle of drink mix, and 15 minutes later, all of a sudden, i felt like aliens were giving birth inside my belly. it was as if a volcano was eruppting in there. i have never felt anything like it. this was not indigestion or bloating, i had eaten something BAD. quickly, i switched into problem-solving mode and was almost happy this happened so i could figure it out. i realized that everything had been good until this new bottle of perpetuem, but i didn't want to take any chances. so, i tossed ALL my perpetuem (which was most of my calories) and decided to not eat bananas from the aid stations any more as i had taken one prior to the alien belly. the knots in my stomach were unreal, so i took my heartrate down below 140 for a good solid 30 minutes. i also decided not to eat or drink ANYTHING for exactly one hour. i was SOOO thirsty by the end, but it was a great move. by slowing down, and not eating and drinking, i forced my stomach to work through the gunk that was in it and clear it out.
[btw- after the race i googled and found out it is a big no-no to mix perpetuem 24 hours in advance and let it sit in the sun all day as it is soy protein and can spoil. whoops. lesson learned. back to the drawing board for Kona. ]

8. the long ride conclusion: back to basics
after an hour, i was starting to feel better so i grabbed my snickers (HEAVEN!) and resorted to aid station Gatorade. i knew i needed electrolytes and i had thrown all mine out with my drink mix. the Gatorade ended up tasting delicious and I even got a second one before the ride was up. i tried to eat a bunch to make up for lost eating and drinking time. the bike ride itself was flying by and my legs felt awesome. i felt like riding 112 miles in a race went by faster than even one of our weekend hilly 80-milers. my Colnago Flight TT bike was incredibly comfortable and a perfect fit. i felt like i rode the bike instead of the bike riding me. or something.

anyhow, i cruised into T2, excited for the run. the clock time of my ride was 7:38, my garmin had 6:35 of actual ride time but this included the slow rim riding and stopping/starting for 8 miles. it's hard to say how much time that spinning ate up, but i'd say maybe 20 minutes. looking at times from my age group, a girl i rode a bit faster than at oceanside rode 6:16. i think i'd have been around there. anyhow. i was ready to leave the bike and have a clean slate for the run. my stomach had come around and i was excited to join the run party. i was fashionably late.

Friday, May 7, 2010

IMSG: Chapters 3, 4, 5, & 6

ok, i'm on the bike course and pretty happy. my legs feel nice and i'm cruising along. i started eating a couple clif bloks by mile 8 and part of a luna bar as i was kind of hungry. right away, i'm hovering around my target heart rate and it seems pretty manageable. i'm stoked! this is ironman and i am doing it!

Chapter 3: the long ride: mile 12- all carbed up and nowhere to go
at mile 12 i am climbing up a roller and hear that canon/firecracker sound and i know it's me. it's my rear whee. D'OH! i'm rolling up to an intersection with lots of spectators and policemen and i pull over there. everyone says they are sorry and a nice man comes to help. i assure them it's no problem, and 5 minutes in ironman is no big deal. i also am carrying plenty of tubes. i had flatted the week prior and although it took 3 girls 30 minutes to put my rear wheel back on (horizontal dropouts of something), i was glad for the practice and knew what to do. as we're taking off the tire and putting in the tube, it takes a few minutes to realize what has really happened. there is a large 2-3 inch gash- looks like a big skid out but i don't remember skidding out.

crap. i'm so very sad inside but you'd never know it. i realize how little my tire problem is in the scheme of life and things and REAL problems. i'm all, "these things happen", "it will be okay" and the policeman calls the course support and someone radios for someone and says someone is on their way. sweet. well, sweet for the first 15 minutes. then i'm getting a little antsy. i call james from a nice spectators phone. she says she has free minutes for the weekend. phew :). james is pretty surprised to hear from his wife who he thinks is doing ironman. i try to sound upbeat. at the time, i think he is more bummed than me. after a while longer, a man in a truck arrives. he is course support like a SAG wagon but not a bike tech. he has tubes, but no tire. so nothing for me. takes a few trips back to his truck to figure out that he has no tire, but nope. more waiting for hopefully someone to come. after about 40 minutes in, its clear no one else is coming and i use some bar tape to try to patch it. but its kind of hard to patch this
with a little bit of bar tape :)

Chapter 4: miles 13-19: how to ride the rim (or how not to)
i call james again and let him know my plan: patch and roll. i'll give it a shot. i patch it up nice, it looks okay and i put in a tube and it holds. i am proud. i roll away, only to realize less than a mile later that it's completely flat. i throw a little C02 in and go another mile until i'm on the rim again. rinse and repeat for the next 8 miles. i stopped a few times and called james some more from different spectator phones, trying to see if he can come and save me (thank you John Hirsch (mile 17) for letting me use your phone that was almost dead. if you ever google your name, maybe this will come up and you'll see my thanks). i was starting to realize my day might be over because i would not be able to descend on this tire. all carbed up and nowhere to go is not a good feeling. spinning along, watching the race go by.

Chapter 5: knowing someone who knows someone
at mile 20, i roll up on jake from Zoot. now, jake has taken care of me with shoes, wetsuits and awesome gear, but little did he know he'd be taking care of me during ironman! i pull over, "hey!" jake is confused and i point to the tire. no longer confused. jake tells me he knows greg (the guy who pumped my tires in the morning!) and greg is on the course and will get someone there. i don't know if i was excited or nervous. wait, now i might have to do this? would i even make the bike cutoff? jake gets greg on the line and greg calls taz (who is doing amateur support). taz says she'll be on her way shortly. i don't really get my hopes up (heard that before :) ). i know it is not the race support fault that i don't have immediate service, it's not their fault i don't have a 700cc tire. Jake and i have a quick sponsor meeting :) and take some photos.

thanks jake, you're my hero!!!

i'm still not eating or drinking because i'm already a little horrified that i have consumed so many carbs for nothing. i'm not resuming the race plan until i'm back in the race. so we chill, and Taz arrives. she ROCKS! she loans me a new tire and gets it done in a flash. i can tell she's having a tough day too- there are only 2 bike techs for all 2,000 amateurs (because 2 of them must follow the male and female pro leaders) and she has been dealing with incidents, including medicals along the way. i call james one last time and tell him i'm headed for town (james is at mile 23) and will see him in a few. the one thought i can remember passing through my head the whole time from miles 12-20 was "i wish i had my iphone in my bento box". the rest is kind of a blur.

chapter 6: If you can't beat 'em, join em & good one-liners for the crowd
holy crap. i'm back on the bike and not sure what to do. so i pedal and figure i'll figure it all out while i have a nice ride and explore the course. no expectations. just ride. try to enjoy it. make the best of a botched day. i realized long ago around mile 12 that i will not win today and i tell myself, "so, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em". over the next two miles, i realize that there are plenty of people still out here and i can make today a 5-month early dress rehersal for Kona. i can try all my nutrition, see how my heart rate holds up or drifts, and just learn about ironman. today is not my day. but i can still have a good time. and all these people around me might not be moving as fast as the folks at the front, but they're out they're having their day and am i going to tell myself i'm too good for the back of the pack and just quit? hells no. i FINALLY get to james at mile 23, at least 90 minutes later than anticipated (but i am in a time warp and have no concept of how long its been becuase it feels much longer). i know how bad james feels for me so i want to make him feel better. i roll by and ask,
"Hey babe! Am I winning?"
and he snapped the photo. i think that one is my favorite.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

IMSG: Chapters 1 & 2

Chapter 1. hocus pocus keeps you warm and positive self-talk

i rode the bus down to T1 with katya and we were so proud of ourselves for acutally being on time. we sat in the little schoolbus seat, finishing our breakfast and kept it pretty mellow. we attempted to plug our ears at the people around talking about hypothermia and other horror stories. really, do you have to go there right before we plunge into the 54 degree abyss?

at the reservoir, i got my tires pumped up by the mechanics (thank you!), met some fine folks from blog-land, and put on my wetsuit with liz and whitney from breakway training. now, i already had decided to triple-cap it (silicone cap, neoprene cap, then race cap) but whit and liz offered a little extra last minute hocus pocus that i jumped on. "rub vaseline all over your face to keep warm". uh, "OK!" so there i was with an inch of grease on my face trotting down to the reservoir. i always feel more nervous inside before the swim than others around me look. i found Monique and chatted with her. she was cool and mellow as always and i felt like a freak show, with mounting anxiety about the cold and my longest swim ever. but, there was no turning back.

i was going to do this. the pros had gone off and i kept checking my watch. very few people were getting in the water, choosing instead to stand on shore and savor the last few minutes of dry, warmer land. with 5 minutes to spare, i hopped in and swam to front and center like i owned the place. it wasn't hard. there were only a few hundred folks in the water. i think this probably set me up for a nice swim. i treaded for a minute and unexpectedly heard a canon. nobody was prepared. i saw a ton of surprised faces look left then right the bolt towards the first buoy. game on!

i swam in huge packs the entire race. it was super claustrophobic and i was dying for some clear water by the second half but i am a professional swim drafter and just went with the flow. i pretended i was a salmon in the babbling brook and being taken downstream. no, i'm not kidding. the ironman folks are brutal. i was elbowed, kicked, pushed, and most alarmingly, grabbed around the waist and pulled under like i was being dunked. WTF?!?! i actually convinced myself that this could be some scary mass murderer sicko out there and tried to swim away. haha. ironman hallucinations early on, i guess! anyway, the swim is a huge rectangle, the longest section of which is 1600. when i reached that section i told myself, "you can do it. it's just like the broken miles coach Tom makes us do seemingly everywednesday morning (and i make fun of him every wednesday with the whole, "hmmm...let me guess, Tom, broken miles?) well, i have Tom to thank because in those broken miles we get hardly any rest and i just pretended i was at swim practice. after the 1600 section, we made a turn which i thought was the second to last turn (guess i need a geometry lesson). i thought i had about 1200 to go. so i told myself, "6X200 on base. got it. no problem". then all of a sudden i start hearing people and i stopped looking at the bubbles in front of me, popped my head up and we were 300 yds from shore! heck yes! i had no clue. great surprise. i ran out, saw 1:04 on the clock and was beaming. for me, i expected 1:05-1:10 and was pleasantly surprised. turns out second in my age group as well. so about that hocus pocus and the laughs i got for 3 swim caps. i may have been smeared in petroleum jelly and triple-capped- but i wasn't cold! hearing afterwards that near 50 people were pulled for hypothermia and many people didnt warm up for the first hour on the bike, i think the hocus pocus was a fabulous call.

Chapter 2. how not to T1
ran into the tent and stripped down. my bag had tons of stuff that the volunteer tried to help me with, but i was fumbling all over the place with frozen fingers. i threw on my bike kit, arm warmers, socks, gloves in my pockets, tried to put on my vest but it broke so i took it off...this all took a while because i couldnt make the fingers work. finally strapped on my helmet and glasses and ran outside of the tent. i was very confused. i saw a bunch of kid volunteers but no bikes. WTF? i start the chicken with head cut off dance, running in circles, nicely yelling, "ummm...where the bikes?" eventually i figure out that people are trying to usher (herd?) me back in the tent. yeah. guess i ran out the wrong side...bikes were on the other side of the tent. so i run to my bike and try to grab my garmin but the stupid strap is broken. ergh. since i want to race with my heart rate, this is a bummer, but i know that ironman is all about adapting, so i shove it in my sports bra and head out of T1 to the mount line. after i got on my bike, i pulled out the garmin (to check and see if it was still broken? who knows, maybe i thought i could jimmy it or something). anyhow. i dropped it. rode 10 yds. and realized i needed to go back and get it. stopped my bike in the middle of the road (sorry!) and ran back for garmin. smooth. very smooth. between the vest breaking, garmin breaking, dropping garmin, running out the tent the wrong way, i was glad to be out of the cluster and on to the open road. or so i thought....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PROLOGUE: The course, of course: IMSG

i had some issues with my blog this week,(it was posting things i didn't mean to post and smearing text all together so i apologize) but james fixed 'em for me and even put on my new header photo. i call it my "chin up" photo. if you are going to sit on the side of the road for more than an hour during a race you've trained six months for, might as well take a few photo opportunities.

anyhow, the course, of course. since this was the inaugural year of ironman saint george, i thought i'd offer up my course thoughts and a little review for those ready to take the plunge in the coming years. this is not about my race, just about the race in general.

for a first year race, it felt like a well-oiled machine. there were two transitions separated by 20+ miles which was a total pain in the butt, but the ironman folk pretty much held our hands and made sure we got everything where it needed to be. for spectators, especially families, however, this could be a tough one (if you decide to spectate the swim). once back to town however, park yourself near the "hot corner" and see your athlete 3 times on the bike and 4 times on the run. nice!

the swim:

sand hollow reservoir is breathtaking. and quite cold. water temps were mid 50s and sounds like many folks got hypothermia. morning air temps in saint george were chilly- mid-upper 40's until 10am. as for the water, i thought it was tolerable, but i have also had a couple cold ocean dunks prior to race day, so maybe was more prepared. the mass start was chaotic and hundreds of people were still on shore (maybe a funneling issue to get everyone in the water when no one wants to sit there and freeze 15 min before the start.) the swim course is one huge loop. this is the only part of ironman saint george that is flat. coming from the ocean, it was refreshing to swim in a lake, and luckily for us, there was a little chop, but nothing crazy. however, had the race been on one of the days surrounding ironman, we may not have made it out alive. wind down there can be nuts!

the bike:
(photo by larry rosa, heading out of T1 i think)

again, california is great training grounds for this race because the hills are not a surprise and nothing more than the east county climbs we tackle every weekend. however, i know lots of people come from flat lands and the course could be described as mountainous. there are rolling hills the first 20+ miles into town and then two lollipop loops where you climb for 2/3 of the loop and descend the final 1/3. this is one of the bigger climbs.. (photos by larry rosa)

there is also a lot of low grade climbing where it is nothing steep, but you are just grinding slowly for miles and a lot of this can be into the wind. the views along the course are EPIC. i was in heaven just soaking it all in. i saw lots of slower folks walking the climbs and people hopping off their bikes to take a break and lay in the grass! i don't think walking the climbs is necessary if you have proper gearing. honestly, the worst part of the bike is this sneaky short hill they throw at you in the final mile- its kind of an add-on to probably make it 112 miles instead of 111. that hill is a joke (on us!) and made lots of us laugh. no fair! overall, the bike course is do-able on a "good day". we had some serious wind especially on lap 2, but NOTHING compared to the 50+mph gale force stuff that surrounded race day. this would make me think twice about signing up again.

the run:

the marathon of Ironman Saint George is totally relentless. the only flat part is the first 200 yards out of T2. if you live in san diego, the closest description is the San Dieguito Half marathon, except the climbs (and descents) are much longer. the awesome part is that you get to loop through town (2-loop out and back course) and see the spectators A LOT and also see your fellow racers what seems like just around every corner. there is NO hiding on this course. i got on the run course rather late, and i'd say that on my second loop, 85% of the field was walking the hills. there were times that i was the only one in sight running. the run is banked in red rocks and lots of it up on the ridge of Red Hills Parkway which makes it prone to the wind. it was VERY windy as the day wore on. the last 2 miles of the marathon are like butta! gradual downhill and literally catapulting you to the finish line. super cool.

the support & the town:
the volunteers were AH-MAZING. i feel like there were as many volunteers as there were racers! so incredible to have the support of what seemed like the entire town! Saint George was very welcoming and incredibly friendly. the one drawback i will point out, is that there were very limited "healthy" places to eat. lots of chain restaurants and random looking places. it might just be the kind of town where its best to rent a condo and cook yourself. or maybe we just didn't find the spots. but i ended up eating my pre-race dinner at Denny's because i knew i could get a veggie/egg white omelet and a side of pancakes. yum!

all in all, it was an amazing race. i will freely use the word epic to describe it. would i do it again? YES. i really loved every second of it (that i was moving). But, i would sign up again ONLY if someone could promise me that the winds wouldn't make the race virtually impossible. and they can't promise that. i had way too much anxiety going in that i would get blown off my bike. the course without the elements is tough enough. but DO-ABLE! i saw a thread on slowtwitch asking to compare Sliverman (which many consider to be North America's toughest IM) to IMSG and i thought this was a good response, " I did both this year. I put them about the same. The Silverman bike is a little tougher. IMSG run is a little tougher. It's a wash. My times were about the same. Both races could be far, far tougher than they were this year". That's it for my review, anyone have anything to add?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ironman Saint George

it's too bad SSB didn't copyright her idea to write a race report in chapters and report out in no particular order. because i'm stealing it.

if you're not along for the novel, here's the quick run-down from my first Ironman triathlon.

SWIM: 2.4 miles- 1:04:25- 2nd in my age group
BIKE: 112 miles- 7:38:17- not ideal :)- more than an hour roadside waiting for help
RUN: 26.2 miles- 3:23:29- 1st age group (4th female including pros)

TOTAL: 12:18:02- 12th age group (30-34), 48th female overall.

you are now free to ignore the next 5 or so posts with the deets. if, however, you've got some time and some popcorn, here's what's to come in the next few days:


PROLOGUE: The course, of course.

1. hocus pocus keeps you warm and positive self-talk
2. how not to T1
3. the long ride: mile 12-all carbed up and nowhere to go
4. the long ride part deux: miles 13-19- how not to ride the rim. or how to.
5. the long ride part 3: mile 20 -knowing someone who knows someone
6. if you can't beat 'em, join em & good one-liners for the crowd
7. "special needs" and the alien belly
8. the long ride conclusion: back to basics
9. T2: ready to party. you got popcorn?
10. run: walk refusal-- the block party with all you can drink water & cola
11. run: half way to redemption or the beginning of the end?
11.5: kickin' it with Ke$ha and Goin with Gaga
12. the last mile- floating.
13. catch me, Vivian!

EPILOGUE: whatever i want to write, whenever i want to write it