Monday, April 4, 2011

California 70.3

Saturday's california 70.3 was different for me this year than last year. last year, i wanted to break 5 hours. that was the goal. along the way, i won my age group and got a slot to Kona which was incredible, but changed the game for me this year. this year, i wanted to win. i wanted to get that slot again, but i also had the BIG goal of sharing the 30-34 podium with husband james. i was pretty sure that if he had the race he was ready for, that it would happen for him. that left me to hold up my end of the deal.....oh, the suspense...is it killing you :) ? or maybe just my crappy writing...

Brandy, Me, & Laura pre-dawn
 (please note my travel coffee mug- essential  for those long pre-race mornings)
thank you to Steve for this and the swim pic! 
pre-race this time was a completely different experience than last year. i had much more confidence in my preparation this year and i knew that i was more than ready based on the training Dirk had us completing over the past 3 months. my only worry was that i was over-prepared and not rested enough. since james' wave went off at 7:11 and mine was not until 7:33, i had more than enough time to socialize, chat, and get my stuff together. waiting in the corral, i knew what i was getting into. and i knew i had to execute a near perfect race to catch the speedsters in my age group. i think i am closing the gap with my swim and bike abilities in comparison to the girls i am racing, but i'm still not quite there.
James setting up his transition
My homegirl Kristin
i saw Brandy and spent a lot of corral time chatting with her which was awesome. Brandy is a veteran and has accomplished so much in road triathlon but also mountain biking and all kinds of other crazy stuff. for her, this was just another day to have fun out there and her easy attitude rubbed off on me. we waited in line for more than 30 minutes until our wave start (wave 18) and by then i was just really relaxed and excited! the music was pumping and we hit the water and it felt WARM compared to last year. 59 degrees is nothing to write home about, but it felt warmer for sure and the air outside had already  lost it's chill. it was shaping up to be an excellent day for racing in southern california.

my goal for the swim was to swim hard the whole time (d'uh!). i really think i did this, and i didn't make any major mistakes on the swim that i could see. the course felt long (i'm sure it wasn't!) and it got choppy the further out you went. swimming around tons of floaters from previous waves was mildly annoying, but everyone in your wave has the same thing, so c'est la vie. what i DID love was that i was warm in my new Zoot Prophet, and as its so much more flexible than older models, for the first time ever, i had NO shoulder fatigue. oddly, my hip flexors were really sore and barking...not sure why (except that i'm sure it has something to do with my kick). anyhow, exited the water in 30:49. one minute faster than last year, but still no sub 30! d'oh! i will keep trying. no matter that my husband has been back in the water for only 6 months and swam 28 minutes...i will still try to believe that eventually my hard work will pay off :). my swim ended up 10th in my age group (fastest girl was 27 minutes, so i wasn't too far behind)
Dear goggles, please stay on!!


T1 (can't get it to rotate!) No, i don't know how to mount w/ my shoes on the bike. rookie!

would be cooler if it were upright... thanks TCSD for the photos, though! 


anywho....on to THE BIKE! my goal here was to RACE THE BIKE!! i kept saying in my head, "race the bike race the bike, this is a bike race, this is a bike race". i rode like there was no run. the first half of the bike, i was thinking to myself, "i'm killing it!" i was holding over 24/25 miles an hour and i was passed by just one girl in my age group and one other female. at the halfway point (28 miles in), i saw my time was 1:16, what?!?! visions of a low 2:30s bike split danced in my head. then i turned right. WHOMP. let the wind and the hills begin! i gave myself the "everyone is faced with the same thing" self-talk and pressed on, trying to maintain a high heartrate and (hopefully) good power. [i got a powermeter last week! more on that later, but i decided not to look at it during the race, but i collected the data so we can look at that to get IM Texas training even more dialed...] the first big hill came and i felt good climbing except for my left calf locked up almost completely, making climbing out of the saddle near impossible. so i sat and spun up. as i crested, Tawnee came up and passed me...and i made it my mission to not let her get away. we cheered for each other and motivated each other to keep it on the gas. at times, she got 2 or 3 hundred yards away, but i always kept her blue top in sight. a couple of times, i caught up and passed her, and then she would do the same later on. was nice to have some friendly company out there and DAMN, miss tawnee's got some serious bike legs now- rock it sista! she has improved SO much over the past year. i lost a LOT of the time i had banked on the first half- the winds were pretty crazy and the mix of cross and headwinds seemed a bit evil! i realized that a bike split in the 2:30s was not going to happen, but i really felt like i was riding well and racing my face off, so there was nothing else i could do. every time i wanted to let up, i thought of james and how he was out there racing HARD and tried to make myself focus
James lookin good. chicken is getting some swimmer arms! 
i said some little thank you prayers near the end of the bike to make it through without incident or mechanical. once you are off the bike and in your running shoes its all you. you can't blame it on a flat or a brake rub or anything but yourself.
i got off the bike in 2:45...four minutes slower than last year, and 8th bike split in my age group. meh. but i am a lot closer now to the top times than i used to be (the fastest bike split in my group was a 2:41).

so, i was apparently off my bike 6th in my age group- meaning i passed 5 on the bike (b/c i know one passed me). holla! i passed people! i did! i knew it was time to "do work" as james would say, but i was afraid that my quads were going to call in and take a personal day. i had really laid it out (for me!) on the bike and didn't know what i would have left. my first mile told me it may not be much. Dirk set a goal for me to run a 1:25 but i knew that was a little aggressive. i tried to keep the pace on my garmin around 6:30s but my legs were putting up a fight. i passed a few girls in my age group, 3 i think in the first 3 miles...at mile 4 or so, i saw caroline. she told me i was off the bike in 6th. doing the math, it looked like i probably had  2 more girls to catch. but you can never be sure. i passed one more girl on the second lap, my friend christine, who is a solid athlete. i know she has built some solid running skills over the past 2 years, so i thought she would come with me. instead, she graciously told me there was one more girl ahead. i thanked her and was stoked christine was having a good day (can't wait to see her crush it at vineman 70.3). after  i was closing in on the final 3 miles and this first place girl (jessica) was nowhere in sight, i came upon my good friend & teammate, julie, who was in the process of smashing her age group. julie had it all dialed in for me (what a friend! she had her own race to worry about and she was totally on top of the intel for me :) ). she said, "there is one girl in your age group up there. she's wearing blue and red." i asked, "can i catch her?" julie said, "yes". i really needed that confirmation as i was honestly about to throw in the towel- the race was almost over- i was 10 miles in and i was cooked. i didn't think i had much more push. as we neared the turn around, julie yelled up to me "she just passed"....and i realized she was less than a minute ahead. the mission. was. on. i ran a bit harder until she was within my distant sight and then i returned to my steady pace and focused on making her backside become bigger over time. i had 2+ miles and i knew there was time, not a lot, but hopefully enough. on the sidelines, Ben yelled, "Beth! James won his age group- your turn now!" YES! i was so stoked for james, but more than a little nervous that i couldn't close my end of the deal. on one of the last uphills, i crept up and passed jessica in a big move, hoping she wouldn't respond. i didn't look back until i couldn't run any harder, as i turned a corner, i glanced back and she was gone. in my head, i thought i had done it. i had run into first in the last miles and i was going back to KONA and with my husband! holy crap  holy crap holy crap. BUT, what if my friendly course scouts were wrong? i played a mind game, but then decided to just keep running my race and stay strong.

at mile 12.5, Jim Vance called out, "you're in second, go catch her." WHAT?!? i was really confused, but there was nothing i could do...except run my guts out the last mile in hopes of catching this phantom girl. i ran i ran i ran i ran. i crossed the finish line.

 i vomited profusely EVERYWHERE. it was all coke and water, but it was gross and more than i've ever thrown up in my life.
pre or post barf. wish it was mid-barf that would be awesome!
Thanks Kevin @ finishline multisport for the photo 
 my stomach had been aching the past 2 hours and i think it shut down somewhere near the end of the bike. (forgot to mention that i dropped my calorie bottle at mile 2 of the bike and relied on gels- which i never take). i think my stomach hated the gels and just stopped processing, but who knows. anyhow, i finished. they walked me over to coach dirk and james who were waiting. i hugged james while dirk looked up results on his ever-present ipad
Dirk & Laura- internetting at the finish! 
....and i was first in my age group and first amateur. wow. Jim was wrong (thanks, Jim! haha). I was happy for me, but more happy for james and the fact that we had done this together. all of our hard work paid off and he was going to race Kona for the first time and i get to go back to try to crack the top 10 in my age group.

results:
Swim (1.2 miles) 30:49
Bike (56 miles) 2:45:10
Run (13.1 miles) 1:26:48
Overall time: 4:47:09 - 1st Amateur, 1st AG, 15th OA w/pros
first time making the ironmanlive blog.. woo

ok, that's enough for now...i think i'll write another post that's less results-y and more final thoughts, post-race, aftermath, funny things,  thank-yous and such later, but i want to get this posted now. CHEERS and ALOHA!

38 comments:

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Amazing race report!

Wassdoc said...

Congratulations! Good to know that everyone else ran into that wall of wind that slowed down what looked like a course PR on the bike:). I continue to be both impressed and inspired by your (literally) "gutting it out" approach to racing, especially on the run. Ironically, our race reports are similar until the run. That's where you go fast and I don't:), but ultimately it's about the effort and giving it ones best no matter where that places them. I do get to live a little vicariously, however, reading about your successes and getting to go to Kona again.

marian said...

congratulations!

Beth said...

Love your race report!! Awesome job Beth. GREAT swim/bike and then a running clinic for all to see. :) It's so great to see all your hard work pay off!!!! Congrats!

Shan said...

ALOHA to you and James!! Congrats on an epic day in the office, and I'm looking forward to seeing you and James kick some ass at IMTX!

Christi said...

YAY! I am so happy for both you and James!

Melissa said...

You are amazing! How exciting for you and James!!!

johnahull said...

Awesome work. Congrats!

baker said...

Congrats! Such a fantastic race report, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

D said...

I hope you post the infamous picture in your next post ;)

Kim said...

i was on the edge of my seat reading your post! way to go beth and james. so inspiring.... hope your tummy is feeling better!

WalkSports.com said...

Does this change your approach to IMTX for both of you now with the Kona slots earned?

runninggunner said...

Way to kill it Beth! What a team!

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

Awesome race report! Congratulations! See you in Texas... (well, I'll be way behind.) The hot & humid conditions should be a great training ground for Kona!

Running and living said...

COngratulation to both you and James. What a great race you had. It is amazing how well you run of the bike, so close to your open HM PR. And I like that you have to work for it all, and you write about it too without making it sound easy peasy. Inspirational!

X-Country2 said...

I hauled out my laptop on Saturday to stalk--er "track" your results. Awesome job! Great race report! A million congrats to you!

endurancegirl said...

so when do you turn pro?? please before next year when I age up! Ha :)
VERY inspiring!!! Many, many congrats!!!

Megan said...

I always love reading your race reports - I got really excited/anxious half way through the post to know if you got your place in age group. :) CONGRATS! You are crazy fast! And congrats to your husband too!

MissFancyPants said...

You do the best reports! Congratulations - hell of a win especially with the puking - makes it soo much cooler. You two are so damn cute - winning your AG! Can't wait to hear more :)

Bria said...

Awesome race report!! Congrats to you and James -- Kona will be such a treat. :)

Teresa said...

So proud of both you and james! Loved your report....you did amazing and will continue to improve...so exciting. This is just the beginning! xoxo
tn

Matt said...

Great work on a solid race from start to finish, very impressive day out there! Congrats on the slots and the overall AGer!!! Was fun seeing you out on the run flying by everyone!

Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete said...

Wow!! Congrats, lady! You worked hard and you totally earned this! I'm so inspired. And I'm getting my ass to the pool! ;)

Libby said...

so amazing girl. love the report and still totally over the moon for you and james. what an incredbile year its going to be for you!! I need to find your mental toughness on the run. WOW!!!

Alexis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bettydesigns said...

So stoked for you, girl! You have worked so hard and I'm thrilled to have you as part of the Team again this season. Hoping to be in Kona cheering wildly for both of you in my bikini ;)

bex said...

ahhh once again, you and james amaze and inspire me. congratulations on a job well done!

Ryan Denner said...

Nice write up beth! Not a bad race either :)

I saw you I think around mile 8 or 9ish or so. I yelled "Go beth gerdes walsh!!" (that was the first thing that came to mind. lame, I know). You looked at me, didn't even flinch, and possibly gave me a death look. Sorry if I took you out of the zone, and thanks for not bashing the random dude who yelled that on this blog!

IAN said...

Outstanding race Bethers! I was tracking and cheering for you. Outstanding.

Tawnee Prazak said...

Thanks for the kind words. It was extremely motivating and fun to see you out there!

I am so happy for you & James and your incredible races. I think it's about time I come down and do some rides with you, what do you say? Maybe you can take me up Palomar.

Kona Shelley said...

Huge congrats to you!! A pic of puke would have been cool..well..maybe next time eh?? LOL

Jordan said...

congrats. awesome race. best wishes for the sub-10 goal at IM texas!

hopefully my husband and i can pick up some Kona slots at StG!

Ulyana said...

You are truly amazing. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stephanie said...

Beth, you kick ass, girl!!! Loved reading your race report, especially about the run...had me on the edge of my seat. You are a true IM competitor and I'll be looking forward to see you break out of the amateur ranks and hit the pros in the near future. Keep on keepin' on!

Honeypleez said...

You are an absolute inspiration! I loved your blog and your overall performance was outstanding! It was cool you remembered me in transition, you Rock hard core Beth and I can't wait to follow your progress in Hawaii.

GZ said...

86 half marathon.

After all that other stuff.

Good grief.

You might get an oly qualifier for the marathon at Kona.

Amy@Sassy Scarlett said...

Awesome job! You totally inspire me!

Jacqueline said...

You are a badass!!!
I've been reading your blog for a long time now, but have never left a comment. Your race report was way to awesome not to. :)