Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ironman Racine 70.3 {2016 Race Recap}

This isn't the race recap I thought I'd be writing. Of course we all go into races thinking everything will be *perfect* but sometimes it doesn't happen. You have 2 choices at this point- get pissed off and waste energy at circumstances out of your control, or roll with it and make the best out of the situation. I chose the latter. I can't fault the race directors for anything. Communication was clear, and I'm glad they salvaged what they could out of this race.

We arrived in Racine Saturday afternoon to check in and rack Mortadella. The process was fairly simple.



The village was cool and had a lot of vendors, and the expo had everything you could possibly need pre race. I bought some Ironman branded merch- a shirt with all participant's names on it, a mug, and a running singlet. I was super excited for Sunday morning.


After racking Mortadella, we walked over to the beach. It looked so calm. I decided not to swim in favor of checking into the hotel and having an early dinner. We went to Olive Garden and I had some chicken parm with a glass of wine.


Race morning I woke up early and ate my go to breakfast of Belvita biscuits and some apple sauce- along with some Osmo pre load. I was nervous but looking forward to completing my first 70.3. As we walked to the car to head to the race, I almost stared crying. I was so nervous.


Knowing that storms were approaching, we parked a mile from transition in a garage- in case of hail or other damaging conditions. The sunrise was gorgeous.


I fiddled with my stuff in transition while the announcer said not to go to the swim start (a mile up the beach) and wait for more instructions. There were 2 main bands of storms approaching and the swim would be delayed. We took shelter under a gazebo and waited out the first storm. It was near the end of this storm that we noticed the swim buoy markers being pulled in. The swim was officially cancelled shortly after. (The water temp was 57 and there were now large waves. I wasn't bummed to miss those conditions).


After the first storm passed it was announced that the race wouldn't start until 10:30, so we decided to go to the famous Danish Bakery in town and eat some Danishes.


Around 9:30 we decided to head back to the race so I could get my transition area set up again. The race was now shortened to a 31.4 mile bike (from 56) and the full 13.1 run. Yay ultra duathlon!


The bike start was rolling start/time trial in nature. Basically we went row by row (older athletes first- just like the swim start would have been) and walked our bikes to the start, hopped on and took off up the hill.


I was excited to start the abbreviated race, but much of my enthusiasm and momentum from the morning was gone. I felt depleted and tired since I had now been up almost 7 hours by the time I took off around 11am.


My race goals went from the original plan of: "finish strong, hydrate properly" to "hammer the bike to kill my legs, hydrate properly, and run around 2 hours for the half." I felt great on the bike. I tried to push the pace as much as possible despite 20+mph winds blowing us around on the course like rag dolls.


The roads sucked (not a surprise based on every recap I read before the race). A constant bone shaking DuhDUNK every 5 seconds as we rode over the pavement cracks was so jarring. The wind was deafening. When we got to a smooth section of pavement with a tailwind it was eerily quiet. The course was pretty crowded for almost its entirety. After 5-10 miles I would be passing folks, and groups of younger guys on fancy bikes would go zooming by passing me. I wonder if the course would have seemed as crowded had the swim happened.



I got into transition, racked Mortadella, then changed into my MRC shirt & Newtons for the run. I took off out of transition and started my watch. I checked my pace a mile in, and was shocked to see high 7:xx's- especially because I just hammered the bike and also because it was warm out. I decided since the pace felt easy, to just go with it.


I felt pretty good- and was passing loads of people on the run which also motivated me a ton. I ran over to L when I saw him and gave him a big hug and kiss- he was on skype with his parents the first time I saw him so I was able to wave to Mae and Pai in Brasil. They also saw me on the bike portion zooming by. Technology is so damn cool.


I decided to walk through every aid station so I could properly hydrate. I was surprised to see red bull and coke as offerings- I passed on the red bull, but some warm coke at mile 4 hit the spot. The cold sponges were amazing! I also stuffed ice down my sports bra (yay for hidden pockets!) and dumped water on my head at every aid station to stay cool. The course had some rolling hills to keep it interesting- parts of it ran along the beach and zoo- it was pretty.


I kept on keeping on at my now low 8:00 pace, only getting passed by the pros who were on their second lap. I was having a blast high fiving people and chatting with some of the runners. I kicked it in for the final .1 and flew to the finish line where I was doing a happy dance as I crossed. I had just ran my 4th fastest half marathon only behind my PR of 1:44 and 2 other 1:46's. I'm consistent.

Despite the shortened course, I was happy with how my race went. (For the most part)



I ate some oranges, drank Sprite and then went to collect mortadella and my bag from transition. My first 70.3 (44.5) was over. I felt a bit deflated after the race though because it felt like more of a normal workout than a race.



Stats:

Total: 3:31:10 15/72 AG, 94/Women, 469/OA (31.4 mile bike + 13.1 run)

Bike: 1:41:13 (47/AG, 324/Women, 1212/OA)

T2: 3:26

Run: 1:46:31 (15/AG, 94/Women, 469/OA)

Apparently running is my strong event. Not a surprise.



After getting cleaned up at the hotel, we celebrated my first 44.5 duathlon finish at Red Lobster.



Monday morning we returned to Chicago.


Notes:

•Salt pill before bike
•Gu at miles 11/20 of bike
•1 bottle of Osmo consumed on bike- not enough. Tried to drink more, but wasn't thirsty. Should aim to drink 25oz every hour.
•Salt pills @ start, 4,8 of run
•Gu at miles 4,9 of run
•Walked through all aid stations (only drank water and one coke)
•Chaffing from my tri shorts on the run. Likely because I was soaked. (wont wear them for the run in the full)
•T2 time a little high because I changed from my cycling jersey to my MRC shirt. in the Ironman I will do the same plus change into running shorts, because comfort over 140.6 is important.

Asides from not meeting my hydration goals on the bike, I felt great (a little dehydrated).



I seriously considered signing up for another 70.3 next month, but decided not to because I don't want to throw any more money at this process this year. Plus, the weather could be shit again, plus all the stress and nervous anxiety I go through.

Next race: Ironman Wisconsin 140.6

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 11

This week was a much needed and appreciated cutback week. With all that's been going on at work, a reduction of time spent working out left me feeling fresh and rejuvenated- just in time for race week!


The main low/highlights of the week were my 2 swims. I went out to the lake on Saturday and the water was super choppy. I tried to swim in the washing machine like conditions, but couldn't do more than doggy paddle. I left that swim feeling mildly deflated- if the water in Racine was anything like Saturday, I would likely DNF the swim. I went back on Sunday and arrived to a very calm lake. I warmed up for 1000 yards over a few intervals and then went for 1.3+ miles which felt amazing. I got into a nice groove and could have kept going for a while. I was happy to leave the week on 3440 yards instead of giving up after the pitiful 500 I did on Saturday.


CB was super cute and precious as always.


There was a nice rainbow over the lake during the week.


Birthday morning I went for a run with my boys- best way to start my bday for sure!


For my birthday dinner, we went to MFK and it was so delicious.


Overall I'm feeling pretty good despite the high volume of workouts and work stress. I've gotten pretty down on myself about this whole process more often than any other race I've trained for during the past few months. Battling this negativity has been hard at times- the more negativity you let in, the more it multiplies. I want to believe I've finally gotten past all of that within the last week, because I really can't sustain if I'm dwelling on so much negativity.

Looking forward:

IM Racine is this coming weekend!

Days until Racine 4

Days until I become an Ironman: 60

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 10

I've reached the halfway mark with my training, and I just want it to be over with. I'm completing most of the workouts in my plan but still feel like I'm not doing enough. I almost wish I cared a lot less- it's not like I'm trying to qualify for anything or even hit a certain time (sure, I do have time "goals" but only for training purposes because who knows how things will go on race day) but I cannot half ass the training for races I am doing. I'll never understand the mentality of signing up for races and not doing the work. My only goal is to put in solid training which will enable me to execute the race to the best of my ability, finish upright and not end up in the med tent.


I think that most of my frustration comes from not swimming as much as I need to. Currently I'm swimming 1x a week, or in this week's case- 0x. Once I start going to the lake and pool 2x a week (minimum) I am sure I'll feel much better about everything and this anxious bullshit ive been dealing with will subside. I just need to feel more confident in the water. I'm not looking to drop my pace much- as currently the 2:00-2:15/100yards will get me in with plenty of time to spare in the half and full. I just want to feel good about it. Instead of being mediocre at 1 sport, now I'm mediocre at 3!

I knew I'd be training a lot when I signed up for the half and full back in October. I also thought that I'd still be in my (then) current accounting role. By January I thought I'd either be still accounting or laid off by August- what I didn't expect was to take a new role within my company. I love my new role, but the learning curve is steep at times and I'm also transitioning my accounting stuff to people in another state. So it's like 2.56x the work I am used to. Couple that with all this extra training (luckily most of it is on the weekend) and I feel burnt out at times. I'll be happy when it's all over in a few months.


Last Tuesday, We participated in the Run to the Plaza event. It was a nice break from my usual solo training. We met up with friends and had a good time.


We also hit Reggies roof top after work one day. Much needed break from everything.


We had our 18th MRC Chicago run on Saturday. As always, it's super fun with a great group of people. Our next run is August 6 at 11:10am at Northdown. JOIN US!!


We spent the 4th relaxing and eating good food with friends. A great way to end the long weekend.


Looking forward:

•Go swim.

•Stop being so hard on myself.

•Start getting a nutrition plan together for IM Racine.


12 days until IM Racine 70.3

68 days until IM Wisconsin 140.6

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Weeks 7, 8 & 9

Week 7:

Quick summary: I worked out a lot, but didn't hit all of my workout goals. I felt bad about this for far longer than I should have.

I just started a new role at work while still doing my old functions until it can be transitioned. My days are long. I wouldn't have predicted that i'd be where I am today in my company- I really enjoy the new role, but the learning curve is steep at times.



I am following an "advanced competitive" plan for the ironman in hopes that if I do cut back on a workout, I'll still be far ahead of the "beginner, just finish" plan. I really need to remind myself of this.


Sometime in the past 3 weeks, Vicky and I painted our pets, Millie and CB. We had a blast!


Week 8:

First group ride in the city- I rode with Live Grit for their 45 mile option.

Again, I felt really discouraged that I'm not doing enough workout wise, but in reality I'm far ahead of the "just finish" plan and getting plenty of solid time in. I think it was this week that I felt pretty crappy for most of the week. I don't want to "just finish" but instead, finish strong in the least amount of time possible. I don't want to be out on the course longer than I need to because I wasn't prepared- ex: not strong at swimming, can't change a flat, etx.


Sometime in the past 2 weeks, L and I went to the semi final for Copa America. I was excited to go to a game with legit passionate futebol fans- Colombia vs Chile.


At halftime a crazy storm came and delayed the game for 2+ hours, we just waited in our seats and were convinced the game would be canceled due to the field being flooded. Once the rain subsided, an army of guys came out with squeegees and got rid of the large puddles, but the field was still ridiculously saturated. Chile won, and I was bummed Colombia didn't.


Week 9:

This week marked my first OWS as well as nailing *most* of my workouts. I felt good overall, but feel really sleepy most mornings which I'm convinced is because it was too warm.


My first open water swim in 2 years went ok. I did 2 intervals of 300m and really struggled to keep my head underwater. My 3rd interval was a half mile and that went much better. 4th interval I decided to see if I could make it 1.2 miles- I did make it- and surprisingly I felt the most comfortable on this longest lap. The only downside was I felt extremely nauseous when I stopped swimming which subsided once I rode my bike home and ate some food before my 2 hour run. I also put a hole in my wetsuit and have since fixed it.


My dad sent me this 33 year old triathlon book. I can't wait to see if anything substantial has changed over the years.


Pizza making Sunday resumed deliciously with a Hawaiian style pie. The scratch made dough I had frozen a few weeks ago was still good and made a crispy crust. Have to say the pizza oven is one of my favorite kitchen appliances hands down.


The garden is exploding. After 30 days of balcony life we have a bunch of peppers and tomatoes growing. The peas and cucumbers were slow to start from seed, but are now thriving.


I am always happy for the end of the week when I can start fresh again on Monday.



Looking forward:

•stop being so negative about training if I cut time or miss a workout. I know I could finish the IM today if I had to.

•more swimming. This is definitely my weak spot. I need to get more comfortable in open water and hopefully more OWS means no more nausea.

•work on nutrition, specifically hydration. I need to sort this out before IM Racine 70.3 It's more about being conscious of drinking seemingly more than I "need." Time to sit down and write out a plan.

18 days until my first half Ironman.

74 days until I become an Ironman.




Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 6

6 weeks down, 14 to go. Whoa. This week I felt pretty good about my workouts. I struggled during the week with feeling really sleepy, so I cutback a little. Turns out I just can't get quality sleep without the AC if it's too hot. No AC = feeling like crap all day long. Problem solved!

I didn't swim again- but I'll be hitting the pool 2x this week. Scheduling has been challenging as well as not being able to go OWS due to there being no lockers yet. I'll overcome this- it's not a huge deal.


I rode Mortadella outside before work one day for 20+ miles. It was so fun zooming up and down the lakefront without worrying about the clueless runners or rent-a-bikers out there.


On Saturday we had the 18th run for Mikkeller Running Club Chicago. As always, we had a blast running together and rehydrating with beer after. Our next run is July 2 and more info is {HERE} Join us!


The garden is thriving after one week. CB is super interested in "helping" me with the plants. When I go out to water them, he follows me and then starts to sniff them which quickly escalates into kissing them which would end in him eating them if I didn't intervene. I keep reminding him that he needs to let them live because I'm growing cucumbers for him- his absolute favorite!


On Sunday, L and I participated in the Udder Century ride. My plan was to do either 62-75 miles. It was such a gorgeous day!


L and I cycled together for 27 miles and then I went on to complete 62 for the day. He finished 50- which was his longest ride ever! It was a great event with a well marked course, aid stations with amazing sandwiches and a really chill friendly vibe.


I even stopped to make some new friends a long the way. The only downside was I got sunburned. I mistakenly thought my shrug would cover all the exposed skin on my back, but realized way too late that it didn't. Lesson learned.


Sunday evening we continued our pizza making tradition. I make the dough from scratch and then we each make a pizza to share. I bought a pizza oven a few weeks ago and it is the best appliance I've got in my kitchen. (I need to start making fresh juice again, sorry juicer). The oven heats up to 600 degrees and the pizza stone chars the crust perfectly.


Looking forward:

• I need to not be too hard on myself if I have to rearrange workouts, or drop a mid week workout entirely. I am transitioning to a new role at work which is requiring me to adjust to a new schedule and also go out of my comfort zone quite a bit which is tiring at times. (All good though).

•Remind myself of the gains I've made with cycling. I feel confident that I could finish 112 miles today if I had to (and follow up with a long run). My nutrition for longer rides is constantly getting tweaked for the better & the saddle is not as irritating as it once was. My endurance is much much better than I could have hoped for.

•Get to a place where I feel comfortable with my swimming. This will come soon, once I can string a few weeks of workouts together.

•Continue to take everything day by day & not freak out about all the workouts I have to complete.