Friday, October 14, 2016

IM Louisville Race Report

I actually slept great and the alarm went off at 4:40am and we were out the door of the hotel (Hyatt) right around 5am. It's an easy walk down to the great lawn but when we got there, a line was wrapped around the block to get into transition which opened at 5:15. Maybe we got there a little early but the line moved quickly. Once in T1, I dropped off my sportz snax and pumped my tires. That was that.
Louisville's swim is first come first serve so obviously there was a line. Unlike 2012 they did not make us line up on that running path, instead we just lined up under the freeway underpasses. I liked this set-up better because it was less walking! Only bad porta potties in line!!! Luckily the construction site under the bridge had some bathrooms that we could use! Life saving right there! Once the cannon went off at 7:30, the line really started moving. Jason, Rachael and myself continued to put our wetsuits on as the line was moving. I guess we should have put them on a little sooner because at least I felt somewhat panicked as I tried putting my suit on in a moving line. At one point I was walking like a duck with my wetsuit around just around my knees :) My dad and Joe had also came down to the swim start with us. Was so nice to have to them there!
Swim: 1:09:41
Before we knew it, we were walking on the docks and jumping in the water. I'd say we probably got in around 7:50ish. I jumped first out of the three of us and boom just like that I was back swimming in the Ohio River. I was so nervous when I did Louisville (my first) in 2012. Today though, I was calm and ready to see what I could do out on the course. Once swimming I felt pretty good. I think it's a super easy course to sight and you can't get lost. I pretty much had my own space most of the swim with little to no contact from others. I did get hit in the head though maybe 600 meters in, which knocked my goggles off a bit, so I had water in my right eye the rest of the swim and just went with it. One bridge, two bridges, and omg, there was Joe's Crap Shack and the swim exit! I literally can't believe how fast the swim went! I tired to keep a steady, strong pace and thought of all those mornings in the pool. This is a PR swim time for me, so supppperrr happy with it!!! All that band only swimming must have paid off. Still, I had a big hole to dig myself out of. I had no clue what place I was out of the water and it's pretty impossible to tell since it's a time trail start but I knew I had some work to do.
T1: 6:03
I somehow missed the wetsuit strippers out of the swim exit but got most of my wetsuit off while I was running to my bags. Once I got to my bags I ran into the changing tent. It was super crowded! I ran all the way to the end of it and just dumped out my bag. I wasn't changing but needed help getting on my arm warmers. The volunteer also stuffed my sportz snax in my pockets for me. It was in the high 40s when getting out of the swim so I decided to put on my ear band and full fingered gloves as well. OMG. putting gloves on wet hands. What a struggle!
Bike: 5:42:08
The course is flat for the first 12 - 15 miles or so, then we hit two loops of rolling hills, then it's flat coming back into town. My legs felt like shit from the start. Hip flexors were killing me & my legs were just on fire. I was happy with my decision though of gloves, an ear band, toe covers and arm warmers. I was chilly maybe through at least mile 40 - 50. And I actually kept everything on almost the entire ride. I pushed my arm warmers down around maybe mile 80. I think my legs finally warmed up around mile 60ish after swearing at myself to keep moving and telling myself to ride smart (save some legs for the run). I felt like we had a head wind the entire ride! Like no matter what direction we were going...wind! How is that even possible? Ugh. My mind was also playing games with me and I just felt like I was struggling out there. I did play over the "thug life" cat video/songs in my head when I would pass people. lol. yep. cat videos helped get me through this ride :)  I only made one stop on the bike at special needs & pretty much attempted to haul ass the last 30 miles after I realized hope was still alive to maybe be in the top of my AG since only a few girls in my AG had passed me that I counted. And omg, the road the last 12 miles. So many bumps! so cruel. Ouch. Was so excited to toss my bike to a volunteer.
T2: 4:19
The bike dismount line is pretty far from the bike in arch so it was lots of running with my cleats on. I tried to get in and out there as fast as I could. Put fresh socks on and used the porta potties and off I went.
Run: 3:47:21
This is the fun part of an ironman right? Yes, I know I have to be right :) But actually my run started off great!!! Stomach was good, legs were good, mental state was good. And the weather couldn't have been any more perfect. I had somehow missed seeing my family on the bike and didn't see them out of T2. I was bummed that I missed them and then omg there they were, a little less than a mile into the run. Joe yelled at me that I was in 7th off the bike and to go have a killer run! For whatever reason this really chocked me up and I felt like I couldn't breath as I held tears back from my eyes. After this I just settled into a strong but comfortable pace. My coach had told me to glance at my watch at mile 3 and that I should be able to hold that pace the entire run. I did just that and things were going great as I was holding around an 8:20 - 8:30ish pace though mile 11. Then whomp. My stomach started giving me some issues and I had to use the bathroom around mile 12. I think I should get a poop PR. LOL. Only 1 minute in the porta potties! I had already passed two girls in my AG on the run as I neared the end of the first loop. I also saw my mom and dad as I headed out for 13 more miles of fun and gave them a small wave and let them know I was hurting. I had seen my sista as I was finishing the first loop and caught up to her maybe a mile or so later. I was so happy to see her and know that she made it through the swim and bike and was going to finish her first ironman with no problems! She was feeling great when I saw her! For me though, I was not feeling great and my wheels started coming off maybe around mile 16ish. Legs, omg, my legs hurt so bad. But my legs don't have to feel good to run fast, at least that's what I was telling myself. My left hamstring was cramping despite taking base salt (maybe I was taking too much). And I could no longer look at my boom gels which I trained with all yr. Dry heaved those suckers and almost threw up all over myself so I just called it quits with the gel and any food the rest of the run. So after mile 16 it was just coke, Gatorade, and water. I was hungry but couldn't eat anything else. My pace slowed to the low 9s as I shuffled along. I was in a dark place mentally miles 16 - 21. I think I saw Jason around this point and he looked happy and I just grunted at him. I knew I was still in 5th place as no one had re -passed me but I knew I couldn't slow down if I wanted a podium spot. The last 5 miles seemed to take forever. I tried picturing myself starting one of my of so favorite swim - run brick workouts. Like if I could run an hr in the cold, rain, wind, heat, etc after swimming 4700, then these last few miles should feel like a piece of cake. The music at the redbull area seemed to lift my spirits some and I told myself just keep moving. Then, there is was! The finish line! I could finally stop moving!!!! I was so happy!
Total: 10:49:32 - 5th AG
Afterwards: I have never been in such bad shape at the finish line. I couldn't barely stand and was really out of it. My parents came with me and I basically b lined it to my hotel a half of block away. I threw up and my mom had to help me undress. After showering I was then freezing cold and just laid in bed under a pile of covers. I felt bad that I missed both Jason and Rachael go out for their second loop on the run. I wanted to see them. I wanted to cheer for them. I started feeling better with some coke and cheese-its in me and made it back down to the finish line. I am super proud of both Jason and my sister Rachael! Jason finished with a huge PR and my sister finished her first ironman!!!! I also loved the support of my parents and Joe, it was so nice seeing them out on the course and it really helped lift my spirits. I know Sherpa is not an easy job so it really means a lot to me that they are out there.
Overall: I couldn't be happier with how the day went! This is a big PR for me and the first time on the podium of an ironman!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

Going into Lake Placid I was not excited at all. My ankle had been bothering me about 6 weeks out from the race and then 2 weeks before the race, at Muncie, my baby finger was almost cut off in the hinge of a porta pottie door. I had to go the ER and get stitches. I did zero swimming for the two weeks leading up to Lake Placid. I got my stitches out on Tues and my finger came back open on Wednesday morning. I was completely freaking out and wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the swim with people bumping into me. Plus I was having issues gripping my bike properly. Needless to say my focus shifted from the actual race to my finger. I stupid baby finger. Who knew you used that thing as much as you do?
We drove up at about noon on Thursday and got to Lake Placid at about 9pm thanks to Jason's speedy driving! We stated at the Courtyard Marriot which is about a mile from town and the transition area. If I were to do this race again I'd stay at the Hampton which is right were you want to me. In the middle of everything. No walking for what seems forever when you don't want to walk!
Ok onto race morning.... We left our hotel at 4:30am and made our way into T1. I put my snax on my bike and dropped off my watch in me run bag. I was ready to go!
The swim - 2.4 miles - 1:15:13
As mentioned, I was super nervous about my finger and worried it would bust back open from all the people bumping into it. I put glue on it, waterproof tape, a finger condom and then blue sponge tape. My finger looked like a light bulb! Thank you to coach T and Rachel for helping me get all this on my finger without hurting me :) Since my focus was on my finger I completely forgot to put sun screen on and chamois cream which would later bit me in the ass. Anyhow, Meaghan and I made our way over to the swim start. Lake Placid is a self seeded rolling started. They have signs up similar to corals in a running race. When we got over there, it was so crowded. Athletes were smushed together like sardines and we could barely squeeze through the crowd to get to our swim start time line. I started behind the 1:10 - 1:20 swim finish time. Before I knew it I was headed under the arch and into the water!
To my surprise I did not panic at all! I usually have a mini heart attack the first few minutes of the swim, but not this time. I think the rolling start really helped with that because it wasn't as crowded. At Lake Placid the buoys are connected via a cable that you can see and use as a lane line if you wanted. I actually avoided doing this and swam outside the buoys as to stay away from the other swimmers. Less people meant less chance for my finger to get bumped. I pretty much had my own space until the red turn buoy. Basically was a washing machine over there. I got dunked aka swam over top of. One the turn around I also got a nice friendly breast stroke kick to the face. I thought I got a bloody lip but at least my goggles didn't come off. As I made my way to the swim exit to start my second loop the water got really crowded. People were being animals at this point and someone tried to grab my leg and pull me. Um...WTF...NOPE! I made it out of water and ran on the sand and back into the water. I hated getting out of the water and doing two loops. My heart rate was all over the place from trying to run fast and get back into the water asap. I also cut my left foot and maybe rocks getting back into the water. I could feel my foot burning. Great. It took a minute to settle back into a good swim stroke, but once I did I felt fine. The rest of the swim was uneventful. My finger held up and even though it was hard to cup my hand with all the junk I had one it, I survived. I was more than happy to be running out of the water and making my way over to T1. The hardest part of the day was over for me! Now I could relax and bit!
T1 - 6 something minutes
It's a long haul over to T1 from the water. I felt like I was one of the only ones running. They have a small carpet to run one, but it's only wide enough to run single file so I basically had to run on the pavement to be able to pass everyone just walking. I made it into T1 and was a hot mess. I turned one of my socks inside out. So during the bike one sock was normal and the other inside out. Oh well. I pulled off most of my finger crap and just left the waterproof tape on as it was also cushiony which would help protect it on the bike. The volunteer helped me get my glove on but both fingers went through the same finger whole. Ugh. Redo. I also had to volunteer suns creen me up but I don't think she did a good job. I felt like I was in the tent forever! One mini snickers down my pie hole, pb&j shoved in my jersey pocket and off I went....
The Bike - 112 miles - 6:06:02
Time to go to work and dig myself out of the hole I created for myself with my slow swim time. The second I got on my bike...squeak, squeak, squeak. Was it my chain or gears??? The thought of "please oh god please don't fall apart on me bike. I need you for the next 6 hours!" went through my head. Ugh. Anyhow, I had not pre-viewed the course prior to the race so everything was going to be new and exciting to me! Weee...I love my bike and new places! It's really a stunning ride with great views. The first 30 miles or so seem to be downhill. There is a very large 5 mile decent. My garmin beeped 9 minutes for 5 miles. Lol. I was jut screaming down the hills and didn't use my brakes much. Going downhill is my favorite. I ended up eating no chews or gels on the bike. I had a total of 3 fun size snickers on me. One I ate in T1 and the other 2 I ate within the first 40 minutes. After that I ate my pb&j sandwich. I had it cut up in fours and ate one piece about every 45 minutes I would guess. I started off with Osmo in my aero bottle. I didn't want to f' around with the single serves so just took gatoraid at the aid stations. I was still feeling pretty good as I made the climb back into town. I was super surprised and excited to see Jason standing on top of one the "3 bear" climbs. He really caught me off guard. Love my M!!
I ended up stopping at special needs, drank half my COKE (omg life saving stuff right there) and grabbed my other pb&j and snickers bar. The volunteers told me to put my bike in the lowest gear to make it easy to get back on and up the hill but I was so out of it I put it in the hardest gear. I couldn't start pedaling, my bike wasn't moving and I was so confused because I thought I had it in the lowest gear. One of the volunteers pushed me like the tour de France which helped. ha.  I also thought special needs would have bathrooms, but nope. I guess that's that I get for never reading the athlete guide.
Anyhow, I started the second loop pretty excited thinking I could maybe go sub 6 on the bike. The descents went well but the wind had picked up. We seemed to have a head wind on the second loop. I really was having fun up until maybe mile 90, then death on the bike started to settle in. My feet had gone numb and I had to go pee so bad. I hadn't gone pee yet and I had been holding it forever but I didn't want to make a stop. I tried peeing on myself, but nope couldn't do it. The 30 miles back into town seemed to take forever. I was so ready to get off my bike. I felt like I was barely pedaling. I watched my average speed to go down. F this. Get me off my bike. But on the upnote, my stomach felt good and my nutrition was right on target. Who knew. Snickers and PB&J would get me through 112 miles!
Saw Jason again as I made my way into T2 and onto the "fun" part if the race!!
T2 - 3 something minutes
First things first.....pee! Made a quick stop and a porta pottie and was extra careful with the door. ha. Had the volunteers sun screen me up and I could already feel the terrible sun burn I had on my back. Changed socks and shoes, grabbed my hat and watch and off I went!
The Run - 26.2 miles - 4:08:32
If there was a crown I would be wearing it for the queen of going out to fast! I can't help it though. I am always so excited to get off my bike and my legs just want to go go go. And the thought of why the hell not goes through my head thinking hey maybe I can hold this pace the entire run, can't hurt to try. Yes, this is stupid thinking, I know. My 5k split was 23 minutes something and even I knew I was being crazy. I slowed myself down and just tried to get into a comfy pace. I saw Meaghan around mile 2 and got so excited, I gave her a nice friendly ass slap :) Then I saw Rachel and she ran with me for a little bit. I was smiling and happy at this point. After you go down a big hill you basically make a right hand turn to hell and back. Yes hell. Not a cloud on the sky. Sun shining down bright. No shade. A special tri version of hell. The only saving grace on this section of the run is looking at the Olympic sky jumps around mile 8 or 9? OMG. never would I ever jump off those but they looked so cool! I passed Rachel again around mile 11 and my stomach had started acting up a bit. By the time I saw Jason at mile 12 my legs were still feeling ok, but knew I needed some tums. I had been going down the aid station smorgish (sp?) board and grabbing a water, gatoraid, coke, water along with orange slices and cookies. There is small out and back right by the Olympic Oval which is a killer mentally because it's right by the finish and right by your second loop but basically is a mile out and back. I was a little under 2 hrs for my first loop. OMG. Can I go sub 4 or right at 4 hrs on this run??? I was getting excited.
I started the second loop and I could feel my left hamstring starting to kind of seize up. I was an idiot and had taken no salt up to this point. I fished out a salt tab out of my spy belt and took it but I think it was to late. I was also the only one I had one me. Right at Lisa G's and Meaghan's parents by left leg completely cramped up (around mile 14 I think). I was bend over in pain not even moving. I would try to take a step and would hunch over in pain again. The only thought that was going through my head as I just f'ed up my own race by not taking salt and I'm ruining my time. No 4 hour marathon. No 11:30. I don't even know why my goal had changed because it was originally to go sub 12 hours and now I wanted more. why? I don't know? I guess I always want more. Anyhow, Rachel came running over to my rescue and gave me a tums and pringles. A bunch of pringles! I didn't think I could eat all of them and she told me to just lick the salt off them. But I ended up eating all of them, then the base salt people came to my rescue. I took two licks and my cramps seemed to go away. I could run again! But the cramps were an issue the rest of the run. I somehow lost the little tub of salt I had gotten and was bend over in pain again unable to move. I shouted out to the runners around me. "salt, anybody, salt, please." Someone was nice enough to give a lick of their salt and a swig of their water. Thank you mystery man. After returning for the second out and back of hell I told myself I am never doing this again. Never. I saw Rachel again mid way through the big hill. I walked that sucker. No need to waste energy on what would have just been a shuffle uphill anyhow. 2 miles left! omg! It's finally almost over. I just want to stop moving! And son of a gun my damn leg cramp returned again with less than a mile to go. I was swearing out loud and pissed that I was bent over again. Some guy yelled at me to keep moving. Umm. Yeah I know, I look like an idiot, if I could move I would be! More salt licks and then a ton of salt licks right before I entered the oval. The last thing I wanted to happen was to cramp up in the chute. As I made my way into the chute I could feel the tears start to weld up in my eyes. I put a smile on my face and ran towards the finish line arch! Before I knew it, I was raising my arms and crossing the finish line! It was over, I finished ironman number 3.
Total time: 11:38:57
Post Race

Crossing the finish line never gets old. No matter how many times you say you hate this or I'm never doing this again, it feels amazing to finish. It's really hard to describe. And as much as I said never again. I'm doing it again. Completely hooked. Overall I am really happy how the day went. I had over an hour PR so I can't complain and placed 11th in my AG. But.... yeah.... I messed up on the run and I know I can go faster. Looks like IM number 4 is in my future. Also thank you to Jason for always been there for me and supporting me. I know I am super needy and high maintenance. Love you so much! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ironman Muncie 70.3 (Relay) - Race Report

Hey there folks. Long time no see.
I just got back from a wonderful 4 day weekend of racing and visiting my family :) I flew into the Columbus airport on Thursday and Joe (my brother in law) picked me up. I was able to spend a nice relaxing evening visiting with my sista, Rachael, and my nieces. On Friday morning after dropping off the kids we made our way over to Muncie which was suppose to be a little less than a 3 hr drive. 5 minutes into our drive though we hit traffic and basically didn't move for an hour. I guess that's just my luck for bragging out how smoothly travel went the day before. It wasn't too big of a deal though because we had all day to get there.
Once in Muncie we made our way to packet- pick up. The site itself was in the middle of no where and we had a hard time finding it.  Once we finally did find it, pick up and racking the bike went smoothly. Little black bag number 3 acquired, 2 more to go! We were also able to do an open water swim practice. It was really nice to cool off and get some good ows practice in since I really never have a chance to. The water felt great and I was almost jealous I wasn't swimming the next day.
Race Morning
We woke up at 4 am. We stayed at a Best Western and the hotel was nice enough to provide breakfast to the athletes starting at 4:30am. I really wasn't hungry that early in the morning so I only had a mini muffin and filled up my water. 

We were out the door by 5am and on our way over to the race site. Of course we got lost again ....if that is even possible....just follow the rest of the cars with racks on them, right? Wrong. There was a ton of ways to the lake, but we made it there by 5:30. We had pre-paid parking the day before at a lady's house across from transition. True IM provided free parking, but this was super convenient and it was nice not to worry about parking.  
My sister set up her bike and the race official went over the rules with us and some of the other relay teams. There was a relay pen for both the bikers and the runners. You had to stay in the pen until you say your relay team mate. At that point you could come out and exchange the chip.

Anyhow, we headed down to the water about 6:40ish and relaxed while we ate some snacks and watched the pros and other waves go off as we were in the last wave starting at 8am.
The Race
Now for myself I wasn't too nervous about the day as I was using the run leg as a training run, but Joe and Rachael have never swam or biked this distance before in a race! When we originally registered for the race almost a year ago I was excited to get my family involved in something I love and I was excited to introduce them to the 70.3 distance. They both worked their butts off and I am so proud of both of them!
The Swim: 1.2 miles ~ 51:39
Now I can't speak for Joe, but I know he was super nervous and was nervous he might let down our team somehow. The relays went off in the last wave which was 8 am. He was worried about not making the 1:10 cut-off, but we kept telling him he had nothing to worry about and he didn't! 

The water temp was right at 75 so it was wetsuit legal. I would say about 60% of the people still had them on. Joe opted not to wear one and I mean really you didn't need one, the water felt warm. After my sista and I watched him swim into the distance we walked up the bike relay pen.

I wished Rachael good luck and positioned myself back by the swim exit. I saw Joe excited the swim at right about 51 minutes. I was so excited and happy for him!!! The swimmers had to run up a big hill with gravel (it was covered by carpets, but still). When I saw him I shouted out his time and a big smile came across his face. All the hard work paid off and he was running out of the swim exit to his love at his first 70.3 distance race!

I ran as fast as I could from the swim exit up the relay pen. I shouted to my sista that he made it! She was so excited and jumping and clapping for him. 

They gave each other high gives, exchanged the timing chip, and off my sister ran into T1. 

She already had on her helmet and shoes so she only had to grab her bike.  As she went into T1, I sprinted over to the bike out area to get more pictures. No one ever told me being sherpa was so hard!
The Bike: 56 mile ~ 3:16:25
Once again I don't know exactly how Rachael felt throughout this ride, but I know she put in the work and was excited to get out there. She was a little worried about her back hurting her, but thanks to the good old tennis ball and an apple it felt ok on race day :) The course took you out a few miles, then it was a 2 loop out and back, then back a few miles to T2. It's a mostly flat course and luckily the winds weren't too bad. They got a few head winds heading out, but that's about it. 

The bike went by fast for Rachael and she made one pit stop around mile 30 to refill her water bottles. I think she surprised herself how fast she was going and was worried I wouldn't be waiting in the pen for her yet. But I knew better and had headed over to the pen around 11:30 because hey it's race day and you never know what will happen!
I had been waiting in the relay pen since around 11:30ish and it was hot as shit in there! I thought I might pass out (no breeze and right by the food grills). I myself don't know why I was so nervous for this run coming up. I don't know if it was the combination of waiting around all day and not knowing what to eat or if I was worried about Rachael coming back in off the bike. When I finally spotted her running her bike in from the across the way around 12:15ish I gasped and starting clapping!

She kept telling me around a 3:30 bike split so I was shocked and excited to see her 15 minutes early! I had known at that point that the bike went well for her and I was so excited that both her and Joe had a great day. As she came running toward me I was allowed to leave the pen and take off the timing chip and off I went

The run: 13.1 miles ~ 1:46:52
I was super happy to get the hell out of the waiting area and finally have my turn at sportz after doing so much waiting around. I went into this run with it being just a training run and wasn't expecting much out of myself. I must had been more excited to run than I thought though and took it out way to fast! My first 6.5 miles were a 7:47 pace. The next 6.5 miles would not hold the same. In the first 6 miles I had probably picked off about 5 or 6 relay runners. I was really happy about this. I also think this might the only time I am never passed in a 70.3 run and am flying past everyone else. I felt a little guilty. After the turn around I started feeling light headed and actually wanted to walk (wtf, I did not swim or bike). I kept at it though even though my pace slowed. At the beginning of the day I was jealous of everyone doing the full 70.3 but by this point I was glad I was only doing the run. At the end of the run I felt worst than I normally do after a full 70.3. Weird. The run it self had rolling hills and would have had no shade. But by the time I was out running the skys were overcast and the clouds looked like they were about to drop rain on us. A small amount of rain came around mile 10 but it was nothing heavy and stopped after 5 minutes. bummer. I was happy to be running down the finishers shut and had wished Joe and Rachael could have joined me since obviously I couldn't have crossed it without them!

Overall: 5:59:21 (14th out of 29 relays)

We all had so much fun and I can't say it enough how proud and excited I am for Joe and Rachael! Go Team KARSTAK! We all had so much fun and I can't wait to do another one with them or maybe sherpa one of their first 70.3s :)