Miles of Life ~ My life as a donut Kylie Donia

Archive for the ‘Ironman’ Category

Ironman Canada 2010

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
Note: I wrote this Sept 3rd 2010 but was a slacker and didn’t make it public until April 4th 2011. I guess I wanted to build suspense or something 😉 And yes, I know it is long. Short version: I swam, biked, and ran, pretty far, and had a pretty good day at it.

This race was my 4th IM, and although I had grand plans for it when I signed up, I readjusted my goals and hopes after enjoying life more and training a bit less — over the year, we got a second dog and bought a house, so while I was excited for the race, I was also ready for it to be done, freeing weekends for taking down wallpaper, painting, and family hikes. Looking at my training log, I actually did do a decent job of getting in the key workouts (long bikes and runs, mainly) and my work with MarkyV over the previous year definitely helped me all around, and especially in showing me how to train in the swim. So while I didn’t expect my original goal, I was hoping I could do the race in around 12

Gracie, Annie, and Razi

As I worried about my little girl dogs, Yaron (one of their sitters) sent me this picture of them and his daughter. And I knew they would be just fine.

hours. I was ready for a tough bike course, and expected a fairly flat run, with just a couple small rollers, but a danger of heat, after hearing about the course from Mike. That heat had me a bit worried: while most years there is plenty of heat to train in here in Southern CA, this summer had been a pretty mild one, and we didn’t have the same heat training that we did other years.

My biggest worries as we left for the race were that my puppies would be ok with their support crew waiting on them, and that we’d make it to Seattle in time to get our rental car as the office closed soon after our flight was scheduled to arrive. In the airport waiting for leg two of our trip, we got a text that calmed me for our four-paws.

And then we arrived in Seattle and got the car with about 10 minutes to spare. Thankful that Britt had a place for us to crash for the night, we headed to her house and to bed. After some good sleep, and cute puppies (already missing my own) we were off on the drive to Penticton… in a car without cruise control, the rental place being out of what we had reserved (although they compensated us fToni heading into Canadaor the inconvenience). We made it to the border, and saw lots of triathletes in line to cross into Canada. Mike and I passed time guessing who in each car was racing, when in the car beside us Toni turned and I was able to guess right on that car!

Safely into Penticton, we got our bikes from Tri Bike Transport (happy to have been free off them at the airport), and relaxed through the days. We drove the bike course, and we did our best not to wait in lines: any time there was one, like for registration, we just left and came back later. We got to do a morning ride with Marky out of the Bike Barn, and generally felt ready to go. My heat worries were calmed when it was actually COLD the day before the race, and soon instead of heat it became a question of what to add on the bike! Getting our transition bags ready, I added a vest, gloves, and arm warmers to the Swim-to-Bike bag. Other than that, it was the basics: helmet, shoes, sunglasses, blocs (just as a bonus since our main nutrition is all liquid), and a bit of Okole Stuff. The Bike-to-Run bag was also easy to fill: Trifuel visor, run shoes & socks, some more blocs, another mini Okole, and some Tums. The bags were soon ready and dropped off, along with our bikes.

That night we prepped our nutrition (a single bottle of carbo pro in high concentration, along with some nuun for flavor) and started our sunscreen. For some reason we’ve found that the sunscreen works even better if we do an application of it the night before, as well as in the morning. Then we got to bed early with our things already laid out for race day. Around 2 or 3 am, we woke and had a Boost-type shake to get in some cals. Back to sleep easily, and it was morning.

Into our race clothes, Okole Stuff applied, nutrition and water bottles packed, some breakfast (english muffin with PB&Honey for me) and we walked ~1mi to the start. It was a cool morning, and we both decided that for the bike we’d put on arm warmers, and Mike, who gets cold easily, also planned to grab his gloves. Neither of us uses special needs, so that part of check-in went quickly, and we got body marked and to our bikes. We each put a nutrition bottle onto our bike, along with water in the aerobottle, and into our wetsuits (with more Okole), and we were ready to race!

The wait

Into the water, and a quick warm up done. The pros were off, and Mike and I kissed good-bye and good luck as we each found our place for the start, him on the line and me a bit behind and to the left.

I wandered a bit, trying to figure out where I wanted to be. Not too far to the side, as that was crazy busy the previous year, and not too far to the middle, since I didn’t want to get complete swam over. I found a spot that looked about right, chatted to a few people, and found their goal was similar to what I thought I could do. So I tried not to stress while waiting for the start. The water felt great!

Finally the national anthem played, and I teared up, and shared hugs with a few racers around me. We all wished each other the best, and it was go time.

The swim

My goal here was a 1:15 (Mike saying 1:12-1:15). But I don’t swim with a watch so couldn’t really adjust or really have any idea how it was going. So I just swam.

Now I know the swim can be crowded… but it was by far the most contact I’ve ever had in a swim! And not just at the start. The entire course I found myself relating to a sardine. I wasn’t near people on and off, but had constant people on all sides. To the one guy who pushed past me and then took a breast kick stroke right as he got to my ear, thanks, it made me stubborn and not really care who touched me instead of being jumpy. I just went with it. “Oh look, we are swimming a great line, ” and then later “huh looks like we are going off-course now. Hope the pack doesn’t go too far.” There wasn’t much choice since I was wedged in from the sides, front, and back. But I felt strong. Comfortable and strong, and just stroke stroke stroke. Focus on holding water. Hear Marky in my head, talking about the pressures on my arm. And taste the clear water. Live it up: it’s not that nice back home!

And then the rocky bottom was at my fingertips, and I got to stand and make my way up the ramp. Jogged around a few people because although it will be a long day, I want the best of myself and I know I can handle it. It was quite a change from IMAZ, my first, where I was slow and didn’t have too much company coming out of the water. Also rather different from IMKY, where it was a time trial start and being near someone didn’t mean you were at all near each other in ability. I missed the clock, and wondered how I had done, but just focused on the transition at hand.


Got my bag, into the tent, and a wonderful volunteer (I’m sorry to say I now forget her name) helped me get set for a ride. She laughed at my baggies. “Oh I won’t need that. And that can go right back in. Armwarmers would be great! Oh thanks for helping get those on, my fingers are a bit useless.” The day was definitely a bit on the cool side. But I smiled right through, out to my bike, and on at the mount line. Oh yeah, and passed almost 200 people during that transition! I really did come out with the masses and get right on throw without distraction! 

The bike

Nice and easy to refocus as the ride started, glacing at the power numbers on a sticker on my top-tube. They became my main companions for the hours to come. Part way through town, I glanced at the time of day and was shocked to see it was 8:17! 1:17 into the race, and not only was I done swimming, I was through T1 and settled onto my bike! My goal was about a 6:30 here, but I hoped I’d be under. I knew it was hope though, as I didn’t feel I’d quite done the biking I would have liked. I knew I had done enough in comparison to other years, but I was staying realistic.

It was chilly, and I was glad for the arm warmers as I waited (and waited… as you will see) for the day to warm up. Over the steep initial climb, watching those numbers. Getting passed by a couple packs on the way to Ricter, but reminding myself that I have to be proud of who I am and just let it go. No energy to waste on them today. Got some gaterade at an aid station, trying to stick to my plan of alternating water and gatorade, only to find that the seal was still on under the sport top. I tossed the bottle, hoping it wouldn’t get too warm before the next station. I had my regular mix of 1 million calories of carbopro in a single bottle,and some water, but Gatorade was going to be important for electrolytes for me.

Up Ricter pass telling myself easy-cheesey and watching rider after rider pass me by. Another difference with having a much stronger swim was more getting passed on the bike! Hopefully I’d see at least some of them later! Climbing Ricter brought down the arm warmers, but I was too lazy to actually take them all the way off.

On the descent following Ricter there was a good amount of cat and mouse. I’d stay steady on climbs, and just relax the downhills. I guess the hills around here help my handling, because I flew by so many people using their brakes! One even told me on a later climb that I descend like a devil. It became a mantra on later descents.

With the ending of the rollers came some wind of Doom! And a bit of rain. And I was just tired of pedaling. Done with the bike. Wanted my running shoes to come play. But had a few more miles to get in… so I whined to myself while continuing to move forward. I felt like getting to Twin Lakes took forever! It was windy, and wet, and cold, and I was fairly miserable. But there were some awesome aid stations, so I made myself smile through them to help me get over it. There was even a bit of hail! And the arm warmers came back up some point before that final climb, and I realized my fears of a hot day might be able to relax.

Finally I was heading back into town, and my running shoes were calling my name.


Off the bike! Off the bike! I think T2 is one of the best parts of triathlon! I was done pedaling, and into run shoes. I loved seeing the “Gracie” on the left heel, and “Annie” on the right, complete with a little paw print for each, as I pulled on my shoes. Visor on, extra Okole Stuff into a pocket, new blocks, and time to go.

The run

I felt pretty good coming out the arch and onto the course. Well, a bit tired, sure. And a bit cold. And for some reason my foot had started hurting near the end of the bike. Really I wanted an ankle adjustment (but as Scotty, one of my tri-heros, went by me when he had about 3 miles to go, I contained myself and just cheered instead of begging him to help me). But I thought I could hit my target of 4 – 4:15ish. A bit before this point, I, for some reason I don’t understand, decided I should try to run the whole thing. No walking. Just get it done. I knew I could: training was there, nothing major was going wrong, just suck it up. It’s easier to keep going than to try to get started again!

So I distracted myself with the racers coming toward me. I didn’t get passed by any finishing pros, which was cool (with the short out and back to both begin and end the race, a goal had been being through that before the leader was on it). But I enjoyed the fact that with an out and back course I could see how their races were unfolding. I was sad not to see Tereza, but proud of Scott. And then I started the Mike-watch, while also keeping myself from getting too excited and going too fast. Since in my brain, he should be right with Scott. Forget the different pro start time, and that their days of racing side by side were many years back… I was expecting to see him any minute. Really, I knew it would be closer to miles 6-8 that I saw him heading in for his finish.

And soon I did see him! And I was glad, because I really had to pee and I knew if I jumped into a porta-potty that would be when he went by, and I’d worry the whole rest of the race that he was in a ditch somewhere. But there was that whole “no walking” thing… and this was still pretty early in the day. My stubborn side wouldn’t give in yet, because it would break the seal. So… yes… he got a kiss as we passed. But it was a jogging kiss. He looked to be having a bit of a tough day, and sorry sweetie, but all the more reason for me to hurry and move on — his mood rubs off on my way more than mind does on him. So will love and a drive-by-kissing, we continued our days.

But nothing could slow me down! Mike had warned me about the heat, and the lack of shade, but hey, it was actually a great temperature for running. My foot hurt a bit, sure, but if there wasn’t something that wasn’t perfect it might not count as an Ironman. And then I came around a turn, and saw some hills. Now normally I wouldn’t care, but it was just a surprise. Although we’d driven most (if not all) of the course, I had listened when Mike talked about heat, heat, and more heat. And nothing about hills. In fact, he told me it was fairly flat. HA! Turns out, when it is crazy hot, the hills don’t matter. So his brain had completely forgotten them (and when he hit them, his first thought was “uh oh I’m gonna be in trouble…”). But I was able to just keep going. “Just don’t walk.” The turn around was in sight, and all the cheering crowds made me a bit lonely, since I didn’t have family on the course this time. “GOOOO KYLIEEEEEE!” Oh my gosh am I hallucinating? Is there actually anther Kylie right by me? “YAY! LOOKIN’ STRONG KYLIE!” I look around, and almost still miss her. Andy, thank you. I so needed that. Right then, and you were there. I almost teared up it felt so good! But I had to keep running, and that wouldn’t help my ability to run straight.

On the way back, the wind picked up. And as I was running near another guy for a while, I ended up tucking in behind him, glad there were no drafting rules for the run. Soon he peaked back, almost as if he’d like a turn behind. But his 6′ or more frame had to glance down to find the source of the footsteps behind him, and he laughed. “Yeah, I guess just stay back there… you won’t do me much good.” But we had some chat, and supported eachother for a couple miles, so hopefully it did help him some! And along the way, we picked up a group. I think there were about 5 of us, just keeping in stride, breathing and getting through together. A later aid station broke us apart though, and soon I was off on my own again, still not willing to break into a walk.

And a couple horrible inclines later, I was almost back in town. I could hear the announcer, and see the finish line. I was heading right at it! And then got to go left, and complete the final 1km out and back. It’s just cruel. It was also cruel to see the clock, and that I would just miss my “everything went pretty much right” goal. But there were crowds along here, and I knew Mike would cheer me in, and then I would be done! And my foot thought it would rather like that. I made it to the line, crossed happy, and smiled my way into my catcher’s arms.

The aftermath

Then it was food, and sitting, and an awesome massage. But a lot of it was a blur… did pass into the medical tent since my foot no longer wanted to take weight at all (it missed that friend adrenaline). The next couple days I was rather sore, but I was proud of how I did. A bit disappointed, as this was one of the first times I was very realistic of my abilities instead of underestimating myself. And as a result, I was pretty much right at my goals, instead of blowing them away how I had in the past. The final score:

Swim: 1:10:20(goal: 1:15)
T1: 3:53
Bike: 6:34:46 (goal: sub-6:30)
T2: 3:12
Run: 4:10:41 (goal: 4ish)
Total: 12:02:49 (goal: sub-12)

Yes, I know, so close to the goals. But there were so many little milestones I was so close to! Almost sub-1:10 swim, almost sub-4:10 run, almost sub-12 hour finish). But looking back, I am proud. I had a good race for my day, and played to my strengths.

And then there are the “way too many stats to even think about” numbers… I passed 179 people in T1, was passed by 580 people on the bike, and then passed another 399 people on the run. My combined transition times were ranked 252nd. I was 952 overall, 25/77 in my division. 608th fastest run.

Oh, and Mike wasn’t excluded from the “so close” list… his Ironman Canada time in 1998, with a bit of a back injury? And that he considered a tough day? 10:08:55. So he had his good things goal, ok day goal, and then the “I just have to beat the 1998 time” goal. And his time? 10:09:03. Yup, just 8 seconds off. But I’m still more than proud of him. In fact, this was one  of his toughest races. He doesn’t do well with cold, and he had lost an arm warmer near Ricter. He had to use more mental strength than some of his amazing performances of the past, and to me, that says more about the strength of his person. Great job sweetie!!

Mike, Scott, and me

Mike, Scott, and me

And congrats to Scott, who had a great race in the pro division and took a slot for Kona!! Have a great time in Hawaii 🙂


And now to recover… and then see what is next.

a whole other kind of IM AZ race report

Monday, April 14th, 2008

There is a pretty amazing lady, Cherie Gruenfeld, that I know through tris. She has done tons and tons of races over the years (including Kona every year except 2 injured ones since 1992!). She might be 63, but yesterday she finished IMAZ in 12:51, breaking the course record for her age group by about 20 minutes. A record she set in 2007. And when she finished, she didn’t run for food, or a massage, but to share hugs with 8 students there just for her.

You see, Cherie, together with Jacque, a teacher in San Bernardino, run Exceeding Expectations, a program for at-risk kids. And as I experienced it, a program sharing a positive mentality, approach, and a pure love. Through the program the kids get to race tris and be a part of something strong, with great mentors. Cherie and Jacque’s goal is not to build elite athletes (although some of those kids are *fast*) but to build great people. This year, Cherie chose Ironman AZ because it was close enough to organize a trip, and let some of the EE kids come out and be inspired. And it turned out they needed a person familiar with Ironman racing to help the kids during the day, and to stay with some of them the nights before and after, and I got an invitation to be that person.

They picked me up on the way out of town, and we (Jacque, Craig – a friend of the program an a triathlete himself, myself, and the 4 boys and 4 girls) drove out on Saturday. They got to see the race site, and go peddle boating where Cherie would be swimming in the morning. For most of them, it was their first time outside California and Mexico — and there was definitely a feeling of excitement in the air! That evening they played in the pool, and some admitted they were nervous for the race, and wondered how Cherie could deal with such nerves as they weren’t even racing!

We gave her hugs before the start, and cheer as the race went off. Soon we found Lee, Cherie’s husband and a writer for IronmanLive. He had a Race Support vehicle, and room to take everyone out on the course in two batches. So the first group followed him to see Cherie out of the swim, and I went with them to make sure the kids got to the car as Lee was going to go through the actual swim area for IMLive photos. But the kids kept following him, and no one said anything, so we watched from there for a bit! Up close and personal with the wetsuit strippers.

Then those kids were off, and the others set to meet up again in a couple hours, so I watched the bikers heading out and cheered, especially for Jonny and Teresa.

Back to the kids, and Lee was soon back to take the last 2, Craig and I out on the course. But he didn’t bring the other kids back — they had stopped to cheer near an aid station, and the kids just started handing stuff out and didn’t want to leave! So we made our way out there as well, cheering for Cherie at one of the turns.

At the aid station I got my first taste of handing out gels, bananas, waters, and gatorade. I have a new respect for those who point at the volunteer they are going for, say what they want if there are options in that person’s hands, and slow to where it is an easy handoff. Some were good enough that we got them what they wanted even if it was a person or two down. Some of the really fast (through transition) ones just managed to knock the banana they wanted to the ground — those in particular were hard to grab, and boxes of them were gone in no time!

Soon it was back to the transition area, and the group of kids that were back headed out for a bit of shopping. I made my way down to the run course, and just in time to start doing crowd control with Michael Lovato as there was one spot where people didn’t realize they were on the course until a runner blew by or was heading straight for them. A more official volunteer soon joined us, and it got pretty control, and I helped out there for a couple hours until time to meet the kids again.

We cheered for a now running Cherie, and then the kids were off to Hooters for a late lunch/dinner, air conditioning, and cold drinks!

I saw Jonny a bit after he finished. It was a tough day out there for him with an incident with a cop motorcycle causing mechanicals! But great finish, and I’m so proud of you for keeping going and having such a smokin’ run!

While cheering at the line I also saw Rachel Ross finish, who is another of my favorites. And I saw her come out of the water as well, being right there with the kids. I met her at CA70.3 a month ago, and know her through online stuff, and was surprised that when I congratulated her in the sea of well-wishers she remembered me and thanked me by name. Of course I never had a camera handy when she was coming by. Just like at CA70.3.

And I cheered for Teresa and was happy to see her make it home — it was a very long day for her being a bit sick, and by the line she had no voice left. She is still one of my favorite tri ladies though — I’m lucky to know her through Mike.

So many inspiring athletes out there all day — made me a bit sad not to be doing one this year. But then the fast athletes out there had me remembering why — I wanna go fast next time, and be better than before. I don’t want to just do it next time, but to be really ready for one. So many times tears came to my eyes watching classic Ironman moments. And not every day will a pro well in the race make sure to give his mom a hug before continuing his run (very classy Jordan!).

The kids came back ready to see the finish! We cheered for Cherie over one last bridge, and got Jose to the finish area to run in with her. She had hoped all the kids could do it, but while some family still sent groups our 8 would be a big one, and we respected the new 1 family member per racer rule. When done, Cherie was just glowing — but I’m not sure if she was more excited to give each kid a hug, or if they were more proud of her having done the race. The rest of the night they brought her food, tracked when it was her massage time, and just gathered around her, telling about their day and hearing about hers.

This morning I flew home to get in a full day of work, while the others drove back with the kids. I can’t wait to see all the kids again at the PossAbilities Triathlon in two weeks — I’ll be wearing my EE visor with pride!

(full online photo album)

best caption ever

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

“Billy Edwards, who finished 13th, preferred to go shoeless during the 112-mile cycling portion”

(From the Courier-Journal in Louisville on Aug 27th, the day after IM Louisville)

Ironman Louisville (IM KY) 2007 – PR!!

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Ten months ago I signed up both Mike and myself for Ironman Louisville (aka IMKY). Starting soon after I began my training with Mike’s guidance – getting in more, and more quality, training than ever before. A week ago it was time, and we travelled out to Kentucky for the big day. Vineman 70.3 had been our only big race day of the year, and with Mike getting hit by a car he was definitely unsure how the IM race would play out. In fact, if I hadn’t been signed up as well, he would have skipped it. That same Vineman 70.3 race had brought me an hour and 24 minute PR at the half distance, so I was eager to see how ironfit I really was!

We arrived Thursday and got checked in, and realized we had an awesome hotel spot: our room overlooked the finish line! Friday morning I woke up in pain: I somehow managed to pull or strain one of my lower ab muscles while sleeping. It HURT: I couldn’t move to sitting up without help, and I felt it each step I took walking. Gotta keep going though, so it was off to a swim practice, to get our bikes from TriBikeTransport, and to go for an easy spin along the run course. I could feel my side during the swim, but soon had a new worry to compete with it – the current! I didn’t think I’d make it 2.4 miles in the cutoff time with that kind of current! Luckily the race directors were prepared and changed the course, making it start in waters a bit more protected, and also as a time-trial instead of mass swim start. Happy to have that fear a bit subsided, I was free to move back to the pain in my side. Luckily during our test ride on our bikes it felt ok after about 5 miles, and each morning was a bit less sore, to be only a dull ache by the time race day rolled around.

The bikes felt good, so back in the hotel we got them and our TA bags set up. Gels taped to the bars, aerobottles ready for water, and 2 bottles of super-concentrated Carbo Pro on the frames. Shoes, race belts, sunglasses, and tri tops into the bags. Our helmets would be placed on the handle bars race morning. This prep was fast and easy for us, as Vineman had been a successful test of the planning. We had time for bonus napping and relaxing, watching random tv, lying around, and generally being lazy and sleeping early. Saturday came and we went for another easy swim, a short run, and got our gear and bikes checked in. The volunteers at the bag and bike check were great: they took us through the whole TA and made sure we were ready for how that part of our day would go. We had a nap, and were woken up by crazy thunder and rain and lightening! But it soon stopped, and then it was an early dinner at TGI Friday’s, some chatting with our waiter, and early to bed.

Sunday came fast, and next thing I knew I was standing on the dock as the sun came up, holding Mike’s hand, nervous, and ready. No wetsuit with the 85 degree water: but hey it was the same for everyone out there. The line began moving, and soon it was a final kiss, a jump in the water, and we were off. Mike quickly pulled away, and I settled into my rhythm. I had a few sections of not-so-great sighting, but in general I felt comfortable and like I was moving well. Relaxed, and just pulling. Keeping my cadence a bit higher than usual and my glide time a bit shorter while I fought the current seemed to work well. Made it out around the turn with only a bit of contact, and then enjoyed the swim to home. I wasn’t wearing a watch, and I wasn’t sure what time Mike and I actually started, but after the race Mike let me know I had PR’ed: 1:18:16 for the 2.4 miles.

The transition area at this race was LONG: from the water we had about a 200m run up a slight incline, over a footbridge, and to the transition area. I just kept a relaxed jog, got handed my bag by another great volunteer, and had my own personal volunteer in the changing tent. She dumped my bag, helped me pull down my tri top, and made sure I got all I needed from the bag on before sending me on my way and packing up my swim gear for me. T1: 5:18.

Out of the changing tent, right to my bike rack, grabbed the bike and kept my easy jog right up the sidewalk and over to the street for the mount line. A bit of shakey legs having been horizontal so long in the swim made it take a second to get clipped in, but I did and was off. Nice and easy, I kept telling myself. There was going to be plenty of time on the bike. I sipped water from my aero bottle, got comfy on my bars, and just got it done. Slowed down, thanked aid station volunteers, and kept that aerobottle full of Gatorade, water, or a mix of them. I cruised the downhills, and went just a bit harder than I should on the uphill of the rollers. My stomach felt a bit off, and I realized the Gatorade was just not working that day. So I switched to water, glad I had put some eCaps (electrolytes) in my jersey pocket just in case, and felt just fine. My Carbo Pro mix bottles worked great as always: a sip every 30 minutes, plus a gel at about half way and another at the end of loop two were all I needed. I peed a number of times on the bike (wooo stinky shoes!) and feel my hydration and nutrition on the bike was pretty good. The only issue was the 2 times I was out of water for a mile or two. The section through La Grange (done twice) was a blast: I felt like a superstar as people were lining both sides of the street, screaming and cheering and cowbelling like it was the Tour de France. Just after it on the first loop some bug stung my lip, but I spit him out, found it wasn’t swelling, and just forgot about it. There were miles of beautiful land, and even some horse farms. A number of the locals were out and cheering, or had marked the sections of broken pavement right by their homes. Part of the loop had a bit of wind, and got a bit tough, but the second loop when it was even tougher I knew that the end of the loop had a bit of a tailwind, great pavement, and was that close to being done pedaling! So I just, well, got it done. The last 10ish miles heading back to the TA were awesome new pavement, mostly downhill, and just made for flying. So I relaxed and brought my heartrate down a bit, stretching the legs a bit to get them ready to run. Back in town, I hopped off the bike, jogged the long stretch back to the changing tents, and handed off the bike. On the bike I had my Garmin, so I knew this one was a PR! 6:22:09 for 112 miles.

I just kept right on moving through T2: I had another great volunteer taking care of all my needs, and I swapped cycling shoes for runners and socks, and my helmet for a visor, and I was off. I found I had a slight blister on the back of my heel, and was hoping it wouldn’t get too much worse with running. Another long jog back out to the street where the actual run would begin: 5:16 (my only split where I beat Mike).

As the run started I was feeling really good. In fact, the first mile was sub-9 although I kept trying to slow myself down, knowing there were plenty of miles to come. I was still feeling good around mile 3 where the first loop reconnects around mile 14. And right as I get to that intersection, who should come around the corner but my wonderful boyfriend! I threw my hands in the air – “that’s the one I love!” and got a jogging kiss – it was one of the best parts of the day. He was starting to hurt, and had been about ready to walk. So he ran with me for about half a mile or so until an aid station where he walked, and I actually passed him! It wouldn’t last though – he said later that he couldn’t let that happen so had to get moving again. He passed me back a few minutes later. For that I take the credit for keeping his time sub-10 :). The rest of the run got tougher. I was soon walking the aid stations, but keeping a smile and moving in between them. I was shivering and goosebumpy around mile 4, so I gave up on my plan of not chaffing by staying dry and started dumping ice down my sports bra and pants. I came back from it, and kept focusing on the white aid station tents, playing number games with myself. “It’s only 20 more miles. That’s just a long run.” “It’s only another 16 – you did that with a sore foot earlier so this will be easy.” “Only 2 more 8 milers, and those are just regular weekday runs.” At the turn around Mike wasn’t out yet having recently finished, and I missed my cheering squad that had supported me at all my other IMs. But I kept going, and finally it was “Only a 5k to go!! You’ve got this!” Unsure of exactly when I had started, I thought based on the time of day that I’d make it sub-12:45, but I wasn’t sure about the 12:30ish I had as my “all goes well” goal. My legs were hurting – each time I walked an aid station I had to start running again right at the end of it, or I knew I’d really slow. Rich (watching on his bike) let me know Mike had finished: 9:52 and 4th in his AG – probably good for a Kona slot! He also gave Mike a call, letting him know to get to the finish line and that I was coming in! And I just kept at it, my legs burning, exhausting, and leaving the last bits I had out there. And then I was at the 26 mile marker. It was still light: I was going to finish in daylight for the first time! Another runner was near me, and I asked him if it was first or second lap for him. Second, he said. But you go first… you’ve passed me all day. So I went for it. I turned and could see the chute. I was running down it, the announcers completely drowned out by the screams and cowbells of the crowd. It brings tears to my eyes even typing about it now. There was unbelievable energy and spirit and it pulled me in. I had done it: across the line, right into the arms of my finish line catchers.

Final results:

Swim: 1:18:16 (32/50 W25-29, 158/356 women, 824/1703 starters)
T1: 5:18 (8/50 W25-29, 48/356 women, 300/1703 starters)
Bike: 6:22:09 (17/50 W25-29, 86/356 women, 781/1703 starters)
T2: 5:16 (5/50 W25-29, 26/356 women, 113/1703 starters)
Run: 4:39:50 (11/50 W25-29, 69/356 women, 440/1703 starters)
Total: 12:30:47 (14/50 W25-29, 68/356 women, 498/1703 starters)

Amazing, just amazing race. I couldn’t stand on my own, but I was so proud and happy! I knew it had been a successful day, and that I had dug deep. One of my goals was to really push my limits, and I did – at IM AZ I was pretty fine when I finished, and just went about on my own. Not so this time, and I ended up needing help to get to the massage area. But at the same time, I didn’t injure myself or take it too far: it’s been less than a week and although I’m still a bit stiff I’m feeling pretty good. Sure, I had heat rash pretty much everywhere, and my chaffing is a bit scary, but I didn’t even get really sunburned. Mike got our bikes back to TriBikeTransport while I showered, and then we went back to the finish line.

We grabbed food at TGI Fridays (right at the finish line) again, and our waiter from the day before came by. He had seen us when we were running together, and had cheered for us! He had also been curious what happened or if Mike was a lap ahead, since he remembered that we expected Mike to be a good bit faster.

Monday we went to awards (Mike’s first IM award!) and signed him up for his Kona slot before heading home. Take 2 triathletes. Add little sleep night before the IM, and 3 hours the night after. Now put them in a hurry, sore, cranky, and in an airport. In a plane. Switching planes and having to cross the largest airport ever. Getting into a low car and driving home. Getting out of the car, hauling luggage. Man we were nice to each other , but the pillows were welcome that night!

I’d recommend that race to anyone. Insane energy, and tons of community interest. Our taxi driver to the airport the next day was full of questions, and said it really hit home what an Ironman meant having it local. He’d seen the Kona shows, but they were over in an hour. He said it was something else when it went through areas he knew and when the local news was still giving updates at midnight. Very nice hotel setup, and I appreciated how prepared the race organizers were. The volunteers were the best ever: they were full of energy, jogged to get people the water they asked for, and were on top of everything. I’ll also remember the two girls dancing like crazy to the “I like to move it move it…. I like to move it move it” song – a racer’s kids, either at the swim start or hanging out at one of the many pre-race activities. But just having fun, and giggling, and oddly that’s what I remember about that race. 🙂

packing tonight

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Having the job of packing tonight makes IMKY seem really really real. I’ve gotten a number of wishes for good luck both for me and Mike — thanks all 🙂 For those of you who want to track us, I’m #604, he’s #527.

Some thoughts going into this race, about what I’ve done differently than other years:

  1. Biking mileage — this was my biggest change from a training perspective. I’ve done multiple 100+ mile rides, including a 120. And never felt completely and totally drained after a ride.
  2. Really trained nutrition — I’ve found my happy place with liquids and a couple gels.
  3. Brought the run speed up — base is good, but you have to move beyond it at some point, too.
  4. Pool with a purpose — there were workouts with a speed focus, others with technique, drills, etc. But I knew what I was going for, and am more comfortable in the pool than I ever have been.
  5. Pampered myself — massages were a regular thing (every other week at least for legs), as were chiro adjustments. I have now felt how much more comfortable a desk job, commuting, and hard training can be.
  6. Had a partner in crime — Thanks Mike. You are amazing… wonderful… awesome… I’m the luckiest 🙂

I had a motto as I started this whole round of training and such. It reads: Stronger Passion Faster Desire. I think I lived up to it: I did workouts with a purpose and got stronger while listening to my body. I kept the passion alive: there was no dark zone where I just didn’t want to train. I looked forward to most workouts, and most of them ended with a smile — I never had a couple weeks where I just didn’t bother logging onto Trifuel because I wasn’t interested. The passion was definitely there. The miles and miles and miles on the bike, and time in the pool and running has been paying off: if Vineman 70.3 is any prediction, I’m definitely faster. And I still have that desire for a certain boy, despite all the time we’ve had together so far. I can’t wait to chase him! But I better not pass him like at Vineman 70.3!

Oh and if you feel like you are getting tired Sunday, please just accept it. I will be pulling some of my strength and power from your thoughts and maybe legs 🙂

the dreams have started

Friday, August 10th, 2007

And I don’t mean the thoughts and plans and goals kind of dreams. I mean the kind that have me get in super workouts while I sleep, letting me wake up feeling I should be done with exercise for the day.

This time it was the same race I’ve dreamed about before. Along a canal that runs through a city, with water stops along the way, and the bike comes back into town along it. By a canal, I mean a fairly narrow, cement waterway — the kind about 10-15 feet below street level, and that you can see by looking down in certain spots. Anyways, the bike comes back into town along it, and the run stays along it.

Before I dreamed that Mike had mechanical issues. This time he was having heat issues (there’s always a reason I end up near him, and it’s not usually because I’m having a SUPER FREAKIN’ FLYIN’ FAST day ;)). So we were finishing up on the bike, and he was carrying his. We came around a turn and felt the breeze from the waterway (HA!) and it was soo refreshing he climbed back on. I woke up as I was planning to get running.

Maybe if I find a race that looks just like that and do it I can actually wake up feeling like I’ve slept, instead of like I’ve raced 😉

so *that’s* what I’ve been up to

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Totals for the year to date:

  • swimming: 115000 yds, 41:59:17 (avg pace 2:11/100yds — including resting between sets)
  • biking: 1625.95 mi, 109:16:56 (avg pace ~15.1 mph)
  • running: 329.33 mi, 53:59:12 (avg pace ~9:50)

A few others as well (mtb, yoga, weights, core, etc) and my total workout time this year is 217 hours, 18 minutes!

May 1, 2006 my totals for the year were:

  • swimming: 48780 yds, 19:11:40 (avg pace 2:22/100yds — including resting between sets)
  • biking: 1236.59 mi, 85:43:10 (avg pace ~14.6 mph)
  • running: 266.76 mi, 49:07:34 (avg pace ~11:03)

And the few others (more mtb by a lot) brought it to 193 hours, 56 minutes!

Then I think about how my IM is even a few weeks later this year, and I get more confident that I am moving in the right direction! Namely stronger and faster 😉

rides past and race hopes

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

On the bike front, still waiting on a few pieces so there really hasn’t been much progress since Valentine’s day. Hopefully the final piece will arrive later this week and I’ll have cranks that are attached! 🙂

Tough ride for me this weekend. But it got hard before the ride ever started: with 2 FULL days at Disneyland with the nephews! So I was walking around, standing in lines, and carrying a 4 month old or a 2 1/2 year old at times. My shoulders and back were definitely sore from that, and getting on the bike I could already feel my legs were stiff. The great thing about having someone to ride with is that I just got on and rode anyways. So after a bit of a late start Mike and I did a loop I’d never done before (which is hard on him since then he has to come back at turns to make sure I know where to go — thanks Mike!). It went through Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, then through Carbon Canyon. It went to the Santa Ana bike path, up PCH, and up the San Gabriel path. From there we took Arrow Hwy back home as we were out of time. Total miles: 101. Yes, another at 101. I think just shorter than the other 101, but still pretty close to a longest training ride ever!

That’s the basics of it, but the part that sticks with me the most is WIND! Oh. My. Gawd. Headwind on the Santa Ana stole a lot of my speed, and it was at just the angle where I knew it would be there for PCH as well. And on PCH in Huntington Beach there was even rain! And right as it was raining, a lense popped loose in my sunglasses, and there was a sign that the road was closed to bikes, find a detour. Of course Mike was ahead, and all I knew was that I should stay on that road. And I figured he had — either not seeing the sign or not caring (turns out he never saw it). But I didn’t want him to have followed a detour sign and be waiting to make sure I had as well. Plus this was about 3-5 blocks from where I got hit by a bus training for IM AZ (although luckily it didn’t hurt me but just made me wipe out onto the sidewalk). So with that and how bad Californians drive in rain, I wasn’t in the mood for riding through a construction zone with no shoulder and signs saying to keep out. So I ended up on the bike path between the beach and the road, which meant with lots of people. Called Mike, and he did come back and I got back on PCH and the ride continued.

Finally I got to the San Gabriel with Mike a bit behind (as he stopped at a store to grab a snack for in a few miles and told me he’d catch me). Ahhhhh…. I felt a bit of that tail wind as I got on the path, and soon was cruising easily at a faster pace than I’d gone much of the day. Mike did catch me, and passed me, and I was back to chasing him. And then a few miles later… yup, you guessed it. The winds changed. My tailwind was now a head or side wind yet again. Mike was going to come back and let me draft if the winds picked up again, and a few times I expected to see him heading back. My knee started getting a bit sore, and I was definitely getting tired. Finally at about where we planned to meet up (but a bit earlier than I expected him to get back to me) I found out the winds had helped him much of the path… I was just behind where they were getting a bit unsettled. He’d had a tailwind for some nice easy fast sections in parts where I had a break from wind. Oh well… guess I just have to ride faster next time!

We made it to the top of the path, and back over to where I live. We passed Incycle about 10 minutes before the tri club meeting was going to start, but just kept going the 20 minutes to get home – we decided it was going to get cold enough that we’d rather be a bit late and not in damp biking clothes. And we did make it back in time for part of it.

Oh, as for my hydration on the ride… it sucked. I made it through like 2 and a half bottes in the 7ish hours we were out there (including stopping time). Oops. There were just sections I didn’t want to let go of the handlebars as I was being blown around!

As for the race hopes… last night I sucked it up and filled out the Kona Lottery application. I’ve never done it before, but I feel lucky this year. Plus since Mike has good hopes of qualifying, I’ll probably be there anyways. So I might as well race! We’ll see if anything comes of it though.

listen to the tshirt

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Shopping at Target yesterday (some for work clothes, some for halloween ones, some for workout ones) I found the perfect tshirt for IM KY.

The 4 words which really spoke to me:

Stronger – Every workout will be geared to making me stronger and building my body while not injuring it.

Passion – Training for Vineman I lost some of the love, fire, and joy. This year one of my main goals is to keep it a live.

Faster – What I want to be at this race. I’ll be posting goals on it later, but as a teaser I’m going to be going for more than a 2 minute PR like at Vineman!

Desire – It will be with Mike (and yeah, I kinda want him). I will be “chasing” him for the day, and have him at the finish waiting just for me.

I bought it. I wore it yesterday. I might find a place to have it where I see the words almost every day. I’m making a print out of the Big 4 right now for my office wall.

done and in

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

IM KY here we come. Mike and I are registered. I got to make up some of his registration answers for him. His reason for doing IM Louisville (as they call it)? Because of a girl.

It should be a fun one… who else is in? 🙂