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?

34 comments:

FatDad said...

Great conclusion. It's easy to be stay positive and have fun when everything is going well but a real champion can do it in the face of adversity. You proved you have the heart of a champion and laid some smack down while you were at it. Awesome.

Teresa said...

What a day! What a run! Truly amazing and inspirational. Very proud of you!

tn

Lucho said...

Awesome... you're a rockstar!

SSB said...

I love redbull in races. I never drink it any other time. Bit in an IM... 3 times... Both special needs and t2.

Nice job on the run. You kicked ass. O hope to run a HIM at that pace some day. Forget about a hilly IM marathon.

Eli Carlson said...

Awesome report Beth. So fired up for you! Your photos are great - always smilin'!

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Well said, written, and executed. Thanks for sharing such spectacular stuff.

kerrie said...

yeah, it was probably just all the caffeine and sugar that had you feeling so good;).....i zone out a lot too and have had that same sensation...most of the time am not even really sure what mile i'm at.

and yes, we are proud of you too - very solid first IM... but just wait til you get to finish your run going down ali'i!!

endurancegirl said...

how incredibly inspiring....i can relate as i had 3 flat tires in my first ironman. However, it's simply amazing how you approached the marathon and did not allow the day's events to affect you mentally. way to go!

runninggunner said...

Way to kill the run. Reading all the race reports from IMSG is making me think an Ironman is closer in my future than I had originally planned.

Ryan Weeger said...

Awesome race recap beth, it is really cool to see youre proud of yourself for something so HUGE, give yourself more credit more often, cause you did DREAMCRUSH!

Mary said...

I love this post! You're a rockstar!

X-Country2 said...

That's so awesome. Kona doesn't stand a chance!

RR said...

Beth - amazing recap and amazing race! So proud of you!!!

Beth said...

What an amazing run Beth!! But just like you, what I am most impressed with was your ability to turn a bad-luck day into such a great ending!! Amazing! I'm sure that will serve you well in Kona. CONGRATS!!!

Melanie said...

Beth, I have been a longtime reader of yours and love your race reports as you seem(ed) to be so humble and yet your accomplishments were so inspiring. However, I can't help but find this particular post more than a little insulting. Yes, you did your best on a challenging day. However, your attitude towards seeing the "suffering" of the regular age groupers is pretty disappointing. At the end of the day, most of the participants in an event such as ironman have worked hard, but a lot of them (like me) are there to simply hang on and finish. I'm glad you patted yourself on the back for doing your best when you weren't in the top few women of the entire race, but please realize that most of us do our best knowing that we'll never even come close to the top finishers.

GoBigGreen said...

Congrats and thanks for sharing your experiences. Your blog is honest and funny and it's yours- pretty darn cool.

beth said...

Melanie- I'm sorry your first comment here had to be one that to me seems like such a misunderstanding :(. i believe that in Ironman EVERYONE suffers. this is not limited to slow, fast, pro, age grouper, i think it is everyone out there. i would have wanted to be a backstage spectator on the course had i been in first or last place. it's a ticket inside a world that not many get to see! athletic accomplishment and suffering all rolled up together. every person giving it their all.
i'm not sure if that is clear, and i'm sorry if it didn't get conveyed with my poor writing, but it is what it is. i don't comment moderate because i put it all out there. thank you for sharing your opinion. maybe once you'll share a nice one too :).

GZ said...

Sheesh. Insulting?

Beth - I definitely got it in your writing that there was accomplishment and suffering in there. Way to make the best of a tough day ... tire issues, fermented sports drink, windy course. Again you have shown that your attitude (problem solving, positive) is a key strength of yours in these races (versus getting into a mindset of negativity, suffering and woe). Most could learn from that, and hopefully not be insulted.

Way to live it. Well done.

Kat~ said...

I've been reading your blog for a couple months now. Your a "rock star"! Cant wait to read about Kona. Thanks for all the great story's...... and showing that you can overcome a issue on race day with a smile! That take huge a character.

PS...love that pink/white watch...what brand is it. Never see those in Chicago.

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

What a freakin' awesome run! I am so glad to hear that you had a wonderful run - what an inspiration!!!

Wassdoc said...

As one of those people "suffering" on the run, I was thrilled to read your race report! At least someone was able to feel awesome during the run. I had actually thought it possible on this course, but for me, and for many others, it wasn't to be. Also, you didn't get to feel wonderful during your bike ride! This was an ironman, and you were able to enjoy the run and the experience. That's what it's all about. I don't mind living a little vicariously through your experience. I've been following your blogs for some time and really think that you epitomize what triathlon should be all about, just going out there and enjoying yourself and giving it your best. It just so happens that your best is so much better than most of us! That is way cool! Congratulations again!

Yasi said...

Look at you! Great job on the run Beth. You definitely have something to be majorly proud of. Kona better get ready for you!

Colleen said...

you are a rockstar. love love the post! you should be proud of yourself!! im proud of you!!

Melissa said...

Way to stay in the game - that is an amazing run time!

Ryan Denner said...

amazing last paragraph! I really enjoyed it.

congratulations for the millionth time!

Kim said...

amazing finish and congrats on a fantastic race! way to kick some major butt!

rr said...

Beth, you are such a biotch for being both happy and talented. ;)

I didn't doubt for a second you would run that well! Can you come do Honu wearing my chip so I can get a slot and we can race? Because I just started this 3-week half-ironman plan.. I have ridden my bike twice, so I've got that going for me. xo. rr

Sherry said...

Ah, the best post of the series! What a great conclusion, Beth! You are an amazing athlete and your mental toughness is pretty much second to none in my book. It's clear that you work very hard. You deserve to be proud of your accomplishments. :-)

Way to go... and congrats again!

Alanna said...

One of my favorite parts of competing in a long, grueling event is watching the other athletes around me. As someone who suffers a whole lot during an event I took no offense to your comment. It is great to see everyone giving it there all and to be in the middle of that energy.

It's too bad things didn't go quite as planned for you but at least you had fun out there, you're awesome!

J.P. Patrick said...

Do you not watch the big cycling events? Arm up when you're killin' it across that finish line! You're an animal!

Libby said...

wow, what a story! great race report. Way to overcome, stay positive and continue to learn from the day despite significant frustrations! you are one super positive chica! Frickin amazing run split too! you will rock kona! just started working with dirk and he was telling me about you.... congrats ironwoman!

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gottatri said...

I know it sounds cliche, but you've been a great inspiration. Keep up the good work!

Dave said...

The joy in this post is simply awesome. Not sure if you will even see comments on older posts--but this put a huge smile on my face.

Hope things are amazing!
-David