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 :) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

I registered for Oceanside as an excuse to visit my old roommate and good friend Jessica. Plus who wouldn't want to go to San Diego. It's perfect there! I however didn't think we were going to be stuck in a continuos winter vortex making training a nightmare here in DC. With that said I spent way to many hours on my trainer and was only able to do a handful of bike rides outside. Oh and motivating yourself to go run when it's in the teens and the feel like temp is even colder, yeah not fun. I'm not sure I will ever do a March 70.3 again. Training in the winter sucked. But at any rate I pushed through it and even though it wasn't my best training cycle I felt ready to race even though I wasn't expecting much.
This is a the first race that wasn't in driving distance to me. So, my bike made it there before I did since I used tri bike transport. I think it is a great service however I was disappointed that I actually couldn't roll my bike from their tent to my rack as advertised. We had to rack the morning of and they did not offer morning services. So a rental car it was. ugh. inconvenient
Anyhow, my friend lives in San Diego which is about an hour from Oceanside so we were out the door early the morning of the race. We made it there with plenty of time to spare. This is a two transition race so we set up our run stuff then rode our bike (about a mile) to T1 and the swim start. My wave started around 7:30 so I had some time to hang out. I basically wished Jason good luck since he started around 7 and then put my wetsuit on and ate the rest of my snacks. My big mistake of the morning. Not putting enough slide glide on my neck. OMG why did I make this mistake?
Swim: 1.2 miles, 36:40 (1:53/100m pace)
This was an in the water start, so we had to swim out to the first buoy. I liked this as the cold 60 degree water wasn't as big of a shock and it was nice to get used to it before the gun went off. I positioned myself in the middle near the buoys. Once started I couldn't find any open water and was getting stuck behind people swimming slower than me. Once I finally found some open space I felt pretty good. I've never done a swim in salt water before and I hated it. I'd accidentally sallow the salt water and gag and almost throw up. It was nasty. Other than the salt the water was calm and made for a good swim. After the turn around it seemed to take forever and I didn't think the swim was ever going to end. I also felt my neck rubbing after about 10 minutes in and knew I was going to have the biggest wetsuit hickey ever! But at that point there's not much you can do about it but try to swim faster to get out of the water faster so your neck can stop hurting. I was happy to be finished and had the volunteers help unzip the top part of my wetsuit.
T1: 3:51
It was somewhat a long run into T1 from the water on a little strip of carpet rolled out. I didn't waste anytime and off on the bike I went.
Bike: 56 miles, 3:01:19 (18.53mph)
Well this was my worst bike split ever, but I'm not surprised. The course itself had some climbs that I just wasn't expecting and some nasty head and cross winds. Out of T1 the first thing I did was drink lots of water to get all that nasty salt water out of my mouth. The first 20 miles or so were good and I think I was right around 20mph. I really was just enjoying the nice sunny weather and had a smile on my face. I was so happy to be riding outside and not freezing my ass off! There was some no pass zones and at every single one I got stuck behind someone going super slow.... 8mph on a flat? Come on. 20 mph down hill, ugh. 14mph the entire last mile. rage. Anyhow, some people were walking their bikes up the big climb. I was proudly going 4mph. lolz. After the big hills we faced terrible head winds from miles 30 - 40 or so. Maybe it was a false flat but I couldn't seem to go faster than 12 mph and my legs were burning. The last 10 miles of the course were great and I was clipping out around 22, that is until the last mile when I got stuck behind Mr slow poke and couldn't pass him. Overall I had fun on the course and was happy to be riding even if I was on the slow side.
T2: 1:55
Not sure what the hell I was doing in here. I fumbled around with both my bike and run garmins. Then I used the porta-potties. I just couldn't bring myself to pee on the bike. Maybe when I'm going after a 70.3 slot I'll pee on myself :)
Run: 13.1 miles, 1:50:48 (8:27 pace)
I was happy to be on my feet as I usually am. Once I'm out of the water and off my bike I know I can finish the race. It's was a two loop course that runs along the coast line then around a little neighborhood. It offers no shade. Just pretty palm trees and ocean views. It was hot but I felt great pretty much the entire first loop despite overheating and taking sponges at the aid stations. I kept telling myself I'm going to go sub 1:50. Woot. However, the second loop told a different story for me. I was taking coke, IM perform, and water pretty much at every aid station. I was really scared I was going to bonk like I did at my last ironman. No bonking but my stomach started giving me issues and I thought I might poo myself but I really didn't want to take the time to go. My miles got slower and it was hard to keep them in the high 8s. However, the time was still passing by quickly in my head and before I knew I could see the finish line. I put a smile on my face and tried to look pretty for my picture as I finished :)
Finish: 5:34:33 - 18th in my AG

Overall I had such a fun time at this race and am super excited now to race again. I loved CA and I loved there weather. This is def a great race to travel too! I also think it's kind of neat that I was 18th out of the water and finished 18th. I never changed spots! That's so strange. Anyhow, now to somehow shave 15 - 20 minutes off my time. Ha.