Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday Funday

you know when you write a post and finish about 90%  then forget to actually make it to 100%? Well, here's an update from last week:

Post-Ironman week has been about recovery. Eating random things, lots of coffee dates with friends and my athletes, a little spin here & there, and shaking the soreness. I hate the word "indulging", but I guess I did my fair share of that this week to balance out all the good behavior the past few months.

Today was one of those days I remembered how much I love just doing what I do on a daily basis.
Let me back up a bit....I guess Sunday Funday started on Saturday night. Double date night with Kir & M....that ended up at VGs donuts. VGs is a staple in Cardiff, CA...and rumor has it if you slip the guy a $10 bill, he'll open the doors for you after 10pm
me and kir....caught in donut-eating act! 
 Sunday funday also included coffee with friends, a fun yoga class, a sunday spin and ended up at the beach...
bonfire w/the crew.... i started with a super healthy kale/pesto/chicken situation and ended with a fresh toasted S'more & some red wine.. balance is key, right?

That was it from the Sunday Funday post, but might as well throw in a little update since then....This past week, Ironman recovery continued and I stayed true to doing barely nothing.

This was easily accomplished however, as I accompanied the Bonk Breaker team out to Interbike (basically an enormous bike/triathlon/you name it tradeshow in Las Vegas.) Three days working 10 hour days at the show, three late nights on the Las Vegas scene and I was cooked! 

Me & Becky 

Nightime fun: Cross Vegas

I came back to San Diego LATE Friday night not-so-rested, but more than ready to get back into the swing of things and start my next big training block....

Well, and no place better to do it than.....
KONA! Sunday morning we hopped the plane to the big island and I'll be here for the next month. I know, #lifeistough . But, I do plan to make it tough and squeeze every ounce of hard work and dedication I can muster into my training....Because in my year "off" from my job, I plan to leave no stone (or big rock like Kona) unturned! 

Landing on the rock....the pic shows the road that climbs to Hawi- a special road for Ironpeople! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013: the good & bad

Oh Madison, WI. the best "Irontown" in the U.S. for sure. If you are considering Ironman, in my opinion, Wisconsin is THE one to do. Forget the amazing course, it is the people there that make the race truly iconic...The volunteers and the spectators are simply UNREAL. Tour de France-style support along the bike course, screaming (often drunk?) fans all along the run- truly one-of-a-kind.

On to the race... No secrets here, after 2nd place last year, I was hoping to return to win, but knew I'd have to have a perfectly executed day for a chance....Here's the imperfect way it was actually executd, plenty of the good and the bad mixing together to come out in the wash in 4th place:

Swimming 2.4 miles in Lake Monona....
The bad: The swim was very very choppy this year, with the longest stretch (over a mile) headed directly into the waves/chop/current. I lost all the feet and swam the entire way alone. I exited the water in 1:09, 8 minutes slower than last year. 
The good: Even though I missed a group early on, I kept my head in the game and did my best impression of swimming straight and strong. Pretty certain it was a very poor impression of swimming straight, but lessons were learned and I'm not giving up! I also noticed a few pro bikes still on the rack, so I wasn't dead last out of the water. A couple of weeks ago, I easily swam 2.4 miles in one hour flat during training, so I know I can do it, I just need to readjust some things in my actual execution. I came out of the water in about 10th place. Told myself, "Never ever give up", and hopped on my Cannondale Slice

Riding 112 miles through the rolling Wisconsin countryside.....
The bad: Straight away on the bike I had the feeling of aliens growing in my stomach (something I haven't felt since my first Ironman in 2010) and I'm pretty sure it was from the Ensure I drank in T1. I threw up 6 or 7 times all over my poor bike and couldn't take in any food. I've trained with Ensure, but admittedly not at race intensity and I think the protein in it just did not go down well. The massive stomach ache was a bit scary and had me questioning how I'd finish 7 more hours like that, but I told myself it couldn't last that long. I just kept pedaling.
Swoopy. Photo: Ali Engin
Shake 'n Bake!

Climbing a hill. Photo: Ali Engin

The good: After 2.5 hours, the pain just disappeared and in a matter of minutes I was back to "normal". WOW. Normal felt great! I picked up my pace by about 10watts on the second loop and tried to get down as much food/calories as I could (my Bonk Breakers really settled my stomach and I followed those up with Gu Chomps and some Vanilla & Rocktane Gu gels). I finally felt great on my Slice (and loved my choice of Zipp 404/808 wheel combo for the "pitchy" & windy course) and knew I could salvage the race. 5 hours 38 minutes later I was off my bike.  I was still in about 9th place. Told myself, "Never ever give up." 

Running 26.2 miles through downtown Madison, Wisconsin....
The bad: I caught some glimpses of the competition, all strung out from 5 to nearly 30 minutes in front of me. I was pretty sure that a win was impossible on this day for me and that took a couple of minutes to digest.

Photo: Ali Engin
The good: My Dad, stepmom, sister, hometsay Joann, & friends (thank you Timo, Ann, & Jeff!)  were lined along the course giving me splits at every corner. They motivated me more than ever to salvage a rough day and show them I was tough and would give it every last drop to make the most of the what was left of the race. I began clicking off the miles in my Zoot Ultra Tempo 5.0s (LOVE that shoe!) and catching other women very slowly but surely. My legs felt pretty good and I was in control. It was hard, but manageable. Truth be told, a marathon is never easy, but I knew I had the fitness to execute a strong one. By mile 20 I had moved comfortably into 4th place. 3rd place was about 6 minutes up the road, but I was running almost a minute faster than her per mile at the time.....Told myself, "Never ever give up".... I ran my hardest to the finish, but was 45 seconds short of catching 3rd place. It wasn't my best day in triathlon, but it was a day I'm very proud of. I ran 3:05 for the fastest run split of the day and broke 10 hours in my 10th Ironman.
Never ever give up.

After the finish, I found my family and cheered in my Reve Endurance athlete, Katie Morse, who finished 6th in her age group on a tough day. So proud!
Coach & Katie

Thank you so much to all of my sponsors and supporters, without you, my dreams would be so very much further away.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ironman #10 on tap tomorrow!

Race day for Ironman Wisconsin (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) is tomorrow, Sunday September 8th. I am racer #42 (my lucky number!!!!) and this will be my 10th Ironman.
Professional men & women start at 6:50a.m. CST and the age groupers start at 7:00a.m. Competitors have until midnight (17 hours!) to cross the finish line at the State Capitol in Madison, WI. Last year, this race took me 9 hours and 38 minutes and we'll see how long it takes this year. It's looking to be a blustery day (17mph winds) with mild temperatures (high around 75 degrees) so it could be a fast or slow day depending on the wind direction!
the finish at the Capitol
Race week has been all about the pre-race rituals and it's nice to be back in Madison where I've already nailed down my go-to spots and workouts. I rode one loop of the "lollipop" portion of the course and was reminded about what a fun rollercoaster ride this bike ride is.
I met friends for a couple of pre-race swims in Lake Monona and checked out water conditions and sighting points. The first day, the swim was like a washing machine, the second day, it was almost glassy. We will see what race day brings!

I spent quality time with my homestay, Joann, and we cooked some "must have" race week meals. 2 days out- always a big steak and a salad- pack in the Iron for Ironman.
I also visited the "Silly Yak" bakery (probably a good thing I don't have this at home!) and stocked up on gluten free treats....I always go with gluten free cinnamon raisin toast for race day breakfast and this bread is the best I've ever had!

gluten free goodness!

 Apparently Ironman's not the only gig in Madison this weekend (how dare they?!?) ..It took me forever to get downtown today as everyone and their mother started tailgating at 7am for the Badgers U of W football game. They love some football around here!

Ok, that's about all I got now...See you tomorrow after the race!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Next stop, Madison!

Well that's weird. In my mind, I had written a blog post or two on updates post Xterra Portland. Turns out reality does not agree and I've left some loose ends out there....
So first of all- the big news is I'm racing Ironman Wisconsin this weekend on September 8th! Last year, I had one of my best showings in Wisconsin (race report here) and I'm excited to get back to Madison, see my most wonderful homestay Joann, and give my very best this Sunday.

The good news is, I believe the very best I have to give is leaps better than my very best just a couple of months ago. After getting some things sorted with my health and having a full focused training block in Bend, OR I'm feeling more than ready and can't wait to get to the start line to see what I've got.

So, that's the NOW. Here's the last couple of weeks: Wrapped up time in Bend, Or with a massive 500-ish mile "bike week"
Heading up McKenzie pass with Zoot teammate Jen Leubke
Sunset spin on the Evo roadie
the less glam side of bike week- trainer time! 
enjoying a trail run out the front door

After wrapping up the Bend block, we headed to Lake Tahoe, CA for a couple days at altitude and visiting with our friends, the Blancos... Enjoyed a beautiful lake swim in Donner Lake and a 5 hour ride on parts of the Ironman Lake Tahoe bike course and around the lake. (p.s. that Ironman course is NOT easy. not even close.)

post 2.4 mi swim in Donner Lake
Coming around Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe...
 Got home to Cardiff, CA last Thursday and have been treated to a heat wave (LOVE a good heat wave) and as wonderful as the summer away has been, I'm always reminded there is always no place like home...
 Catch you soon from Madison, Wisconsin!!!