I'm glad that my mom and I drove the bike course the day before- I had it all broken down in my head. Section 1: Get out of town (lots of turns) Section 2: Beeline to Gilbert (where my mom was), and Section 3: Gilbert to the Turnaround. This was about 17.5 miles, then we turn around and do it again. Then the whole thing 2 more times. Piece of cake. I also though that there was going to be no wind...HA!!!
As soon as I started biking (and for the rest of the ride) I felt a nagging little strain in my quads that I haven't felt before. I think that there were 2 factors that may have caused this:
1) I cut my training off too soon- I hit my big weeks, then did way too little for the taper (not completely intentional, I honestly had a lot of schoolwork to do! but I could have made time...)
2) Something wasn't put together right after assembling my bike. I did have trouble getting my seat height correct, and I just put it together the day before the race! duh....
It wasn't excruciating or anything, just annoying. But, maybe I would have LOST 2 SECONDS if it wasn't there! (more on that in a minute)
Back to the bike ride. Once we hit the beeline, I realized that my weather forecast from wishfulthinking.com was completely wrong- SUPER strong headwind up in our faces! Feeling strong, I muscled through it the first lap...I caught up to Dan right before the turnaround, and found out that he had swam a PR- 1:14! Great job Babe!
Turnaround..holy cow, I was going 27-30 mi/hr!! I was scared sh*tless because I never go that fast (remember, no hills or downhills in central illinois!) There was no way in hell I was going to drop in aero position because I am NOT confident in my bike handling skills. I like to have access to my brakes thankyouverymuch. Canada should be fun next year... Halfway down the Beeline I was going 25 mph, which is more "manageable" for me. First loop went well.
Back in town I saw Dan's cheer squad - His mom, dad, aunt, and grandma made the trip out! Thanks for the support!
Second loop, the wind definitely picked up. I tried to keep my HR between 155-160, but with that darn wind, I felt like I wasted my muscles pushing big gears, but I couldn't keep my cadence high enough when I was in small gears...I opted for the former option. I was going 13 mph at some points (HR 155!) and I really wanted to break 6hrs (high18s mph)! Being in aero and pushing through this wind was wearing on me quite a bit- my lower back REALLY started to hurt from tensing up. Man I was happy to see my mom on the course!!! She definitely kept my spirits up!
Second loop was rough. On the way back into town I was going about 23-25 mph, legs were tired, back hurt. I was still focused and determined though.
On the third lap, I was definitely in pain and my back was in dire need of a good stretch...so I stopped at the aid station before the beeline, got off my bike, and gave it a good stretch while the volunteered refilled my water bottles. Good to go. Headed out onto the Beeline and was REAALLY HAPPY that the wind had died down!! I was actually doing 15-18 mph! YAY! 3rd loop felt much better than the 2nd. On the way back, I had run out of nutrition supplies, so I stopped at the special needs station to get my stuff. I decided to sit and order the volunteers around (with a big smile and thank you of course)...it worked great, legs felt fresher when I got back on the bike. The SN station was at Gilbert, so my mom came over to take pictures =) Ay yay yay I wish I would have been TWO SECONDS FASTER!
Felt good heading home, I spun it out a little more (rpm >93, usually I'm between 85-90) and was going about 20-22 mph. However, I realized I had to MOVE if I wanted to break 6...and get this, I knew I had it in the bag by about 5 seconds but I made a wrong assumption that the bike-t2 timing mat was right after the bike dismount...wrong! NOOO! It was probably like 20-30 feet away or something, I remember trying to hobble as fast I could over to it in my bike shoes and with tight hip flexors...but NOOOOOO! 6:00:02! DAMN!!!!!! (7th in AG...again!)
I can't be too disappointed though, I did beat my previous best bike time by 35 minutes! Next time!
T2 went well...not fast or anything, but I don't think I was another contender for slowest transition! New shoes and socks. Forgot to put Vaseline on my feet before the socks - my "trick" to no blisters! Put on skirt and shoes, stuff nutrition in various places of sports bra, rub biofreeze on hip flexors...I look like a freak sticking my hands down my pants, but its necessary =)
So I start the run off at a quick little clip...about 1/2 a mile into it I had to use the porta-potty. Took care of that and now the real race started!
It was pretty warm and sunny, and the first part of the figure 8 run course (3.5 mi ish) felt good- Mom's Garmin told me I was running well under 9 min/mi's. Sweet! However, I was pretty excited to start the run, and my heart rate when up really fast. My plan was to keep it near 160 bpm, 155 if I felt like crap (at IM CDA, my HR was between 148-152 the whole race, and it was an easy, super consistent 9:30 pace the WHOLE TIME- 4:08) but, during this race it was averaging over 160 and I was hitting 170 at some points (170 bpm is my half marathon intensity!); I knew I should have slowed down and kept that intensity under control, but I really wanted to continue the pace I was running at...
Second part of the first loop (5ish miles) I started slowing down a bit...9-9:30 min/miles maybe? My abductors were tight (I've been telling myself I needed to strengthen those up all year!) and was feeling just "okay"; the high 70's temp was perfect, but for a snowbird like me, even that was a little much- I started feeling the heat...
My mom was positioned at really good spot; my least favorite part of the run course! There's a section of the course where you have run over a bunch of gravelly sand...not fun for stability or speed. But, there was my #1 Fan - my mom!!!
I started the 2nd lap at the perfect time; Dan was just getting out on the run course the exact same time! I saw his mom right before the end of the first loop, and his dad scored a picture of us together =) Don't have those pics yet, but they will come. We ran together for about the first mile, then he started executed his plan of walking through aid stations, while I continued my multi-tasking trot.
Around mile 10.5 or so I saw April Gellatly, a pro triathlete whose blog I follow on occassion. It looked like she was having a rough time, since she was walking. From what I've read, she is a really tough athlete and a strong person that has been through some hard personal times. And just like it could happen to anyone else, she was having a bad day on the IMAZ course. However, her choosing to walk, choosing to overcome the same adversity as us age-groupers and taking pride in an Ironman FINISH, really says something about her! April, you ROCK. One thing I've learned (as have many of you I'm sure) is that you get to take something home from bad workouts, races, life experiences, etc...they make you really appreciate it when things go your way. The good workouts become even better, the great races become the best. We look forward to seeing you destroy future IM courses April!
(note: really random...Dan and I were hanging out with some graduate assistants last night, and met one of April's friends, Lauren, another grad student at ISU in the KNR dept.! We were all talking Ironman, and Lauren mentioned her friend...small world.)
Back to the run course...I made it through the first part of the second loop okay, but by the 2nd part I was fading out big time, the "heat" was really taking a toll on me; I was getting lightheaded and tired. It was time to start juicing up on the crack cocaine of triathlon...COLA?!?! That right! Perfect blend of sugar and carbs...I was also sucking in gels every 20-30 minutes, as much as my stomach would let me. I was carrying pedialyte in a little waterbottle, which worked out well by the way- no major crampage issues throughout the whole race. that 2nd part of the loop was very slow for me...I was reduced from a trot to a shuffle and I was walking aid stations and the steep little inclines on the course (no major hills, just little inclines). It was a good strategy for me though. I started feeling better by the end of the 2nd loop, and I got another boost when I saw my mom and later Dan's parents as well. I also saw a fellow Tri-Shark Dennis Killian spectating as well! Awesome!!
I gradually started getting my groove back and trotting /vs. shuffling). I received a glow necklace when I started the 3rd loop, and was relieved because that mean that the sun would be going down...which means cooler temperatures(yeah, definitely not ready for Kona yet)! Yay! Sure enough, cooler temperatures + cola buzz = happy Laura. I was feeling great, but it was time to crunch some numbers. Due to my weak 2nd loop, I wasn't going to break my IM marathon pr of 4:08, nor was I going to break 4 hours. I needed to look at the bigger picture- breaking 12 hours. I was doing the math when I was saw the big race clock at the beginning of the 3rd loop. With about 8 miles to go, I calculated that I would need to be running 9:30s or faster to break 12... I was barely running that pace at this point (actually I was running slower), and started getting a little sad, because I knew it would be very, very close...
sweet pic Mom!