I Am An IRONMAN! – Lake Placid Race Report

Wow, where to start?  There are so many things that I want to say, but I will try to keep this as short as possible.

I chose IMLP as my first full IM for 2 reasons I LOVE the area and it is a lake swim.  I did not chose my first IM to play to my strengths because as I pretty much suck at climbing on the bike.  The 5800′ of gain on the bike course was my biggest concern for IMLP, so in my training, I focused a lot of my training on hilly routes.  I felt pretty good going into IMLP, but I was also pretty sure that I’d be on the bike for 7+ hours.  I was hoping to keep my run under 5 hours with the advertised 1600′ of elevation gain (it’s actually around 850′ thank the Lord), and my swim around 1:30.  Add them all together, and I was anticipating 13:30 plus transition times, so I figured around 14 hours, but I knew my bike could be longer or my run could be shorter, so best case 13:30 and worst case 15 hours was the range I gave my support crew.  If I finished within that range for my first full, I’d be thrilled.  I also had to keep in mind that I have IMNC in October, so I needed to recover quickly, so I didn’t want to push myself to the limit in this race, and with it being my first IM, I wanted to enjoy the race and take it ALL in.  So, my goals were to finish between 13:30 and 15 hours and to enjoy the day/moment.

My family and I arrived in Lake Placid on Monday before the race.  We rented an apartment through AirBnB for 8 nights.  It was about a half mile from the start and athlete village which made everything very convenient.  If you are looking at IMLP, I’d strongly suggest you check into renting an apartment, condo, or house as the hotels book up quickly and are often more than some of the rentals….plus you have your own kitchen in a rental!

Thursday:

My plan for Thursday was to get up early before much traffic, and to ride out of LP and down the Keene descent.  I wanted to check out how steep it was and the road conditions prior to race day.  My husband got up early with me, and left a bit after I did, so he could pick me up in Keene.  The descent wasn’t nearly as bad as people made it out to be, and I was able to ride most of it in aero position.  The curves were large sweeping curves and there was only a small section of rough pavement. It was much easier to maintain aero than some of the curves and pavement in the North GA Gaps that I had ridden. Jason met me in Keene, and we headed back to the apartment.

Thursday was also athlete check-in starting at 9AM.  My family wanted to play golf, so while my husband took the kids golfing, I headed down to athlete village.  Of course, I arrived early, and check-in and athlete village weren’t open yet, so I wandered through the village anyway as the vendors were still setting up.  Shortly, everything was open, but since athlete check-in was up the road(maybe a 1/4 mile) and I was already at athlete village, I visited the store.  I am not superstitious, and the finisher stuff at Ironman events is now being put out when the store opens instead of waiting until Monday, so yes, I bought a finisher’s jacket along with a shirt, backpack, coffee cup, cycling jacket, visor, and probably some other stuff that I just can’t think of.  I never had doubts that I would finish the race unless something horribly unforeseen happened and I was taken off the course by medical, so I really wasn’t worried about buying the items ahead of time.  They all went in the backpack and would sit in the corner of my bedroom though until after the race.  On my way out of the store, I stopped back by the village and signed my son up for the IronKids race that he wanted to do.

Now, off to athlete check-in.  Nothing eventful here, it was smooth, and I was in and out within 10 minutes.  Then, I walked back to our apartment and the family returned from golfing shortly afterwards.

athlete check-in

On Thursday afternoon, a few of my training partners and their spouses, Clay, Shari, Dani, and Troy, arrived in LP to support and cheer for me at the race.  I can’t thank them enough for traveling so far just to see my first IM.  I was excited to see them and spend some time with them over the next couple of days.

Support crew

Friday:

Friday was spent with the group.  Clay, Dani, and I did an early morning swim of 1 loop in Lake Placid. Then, we changed and headed to Bacon’s Meat & Greet.  I’m sure it was awesome, but we were there early and were starving, so we decided to ditch it, and our families all headed into town to eat some breakfast together.  After breakfasts, the ladies all headed off to shop some, and Clay went with me to the athlete briefing.  I figured I should actually attend this one since it was my first full. After the briefing, I got to snap a quick photo with the Voice of Ironman Mike Reilly.  Then, off to gather the family for the IronKids race.

Mike Reilly

Everyone met by the lake for the IronKids race, and guess who was announcing it? Mike Reilly!  My son probably didn’t care, but I thought it was pretty cool, and I made sure to tell him to give Mike a high five as he came to the finish.  The first race for the kids was a Splash n Dash.  I tried to get my son to do it, but I couldn’t ever convince him, but I’m hoping next time, he’ll be game after seeing the other kids do it.  There were some tiny kids out there and they were rocking it!  A few did the run in their goggles and swim caps still, but they were awfully cute. It was finally time for my son’s mile race, and he had a blast as usual.  He’s really starting to enjoy running, and he’s starting to ask about cycling!  Score!

Iron kids

Saturday:

Through this point, I was feeling pretty calm with no nerves.  After all, this was just going to be another training day to get to my A race in October.  I woke up early and did my short ride and run with Dani and all was fine.  I returned to the apartment, had my breakfast and coffee on the porch in a sweatshirt, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather while my family still slept.

day before

Bike and gear bag check-in were from 10AM-3PM, so the next thing was to get my bags packed.  This was the first(and only) time that nerves actually hit.  Having to pack things the day before and get things in the right bags required forethought and planning.  Something that I’m not prone to doing.  It drives my friends nuts (probably my coach too) that I literally wait until the last minute to pack things, but I work that way.  The less I think about things, the better I do.  Overthinking is a stress inducer and zaps precious energy out of life that I don’t have time for.  My hands were literally shaking as I tried to go through in my mind what I needed in each bag.  I sent Dani a text telling her I was nervous.  This is the only time I remember being nervous prepping for a race, and I totally blame it on the need for forethought.  I got my stuff ready to go in the bags and snapped a quick photo of the contents.  The photo was so I could review what the heck I put in the bags later in the day in case I questioned it because as much as most triathletes are type A personalities, I really am not.  I am not a lists person.  I have what I need jumbled in my head somewhere and then I try to pull it back out.  Sorry to disappoint all my friends who think I am organized and type A, but I promise, I AM NOT.  Now, off to bag drop off and bike check in.

bag drop off

Those are my bags with the red cups and green tape.  It was suggested on the IMLP Facebook page to not double knot your bags because after swimming and riding, your fingers may not work so well to untie them.  Instead, someone said to put a solo cup over the bag and to run the strings through since you hang your bags at IMLP.  This was to keep the rain out and your stuff dry as well.  It did rain after drop off, and my stuff remained dry, so it worked.  The green tape was to help me spot my bags.

After dropping off my bags and bike, my nerves were gone, and I headed back to the apartment to chill until evening.

Saturday evening several churches in LP had prayer services for athletes, so our crew went to one together, then we all went our separate ways for dinner.  I wanted a low key dinner in our apartment, so back we went.

Sunday/Race Day:

For most races, I arrive at transition when it opens, and that was my plan for IMLP.  I got up early ate my usual pre-workout breakfast, drank my coffee, prepared my Ucan and water bottles for the day, and was ready to head out.  This time, I had my entire family in tow to head down to transition(usually they come later).  As we walked towards transition, I realized I had forgotten my special needs bags, so my husband went back to grab them as the kids and I headed on down.  Clay was waiting outside of transition for me, so the kids waited with him as I headed in to put my nutrition in my transition bags.  By the time I came out, Jason had made it with my special needs bags, and we headed towards the two special needs areas to drop off those bags.  Both the bike and run special needs were pretty close to the swim start, so I sat on the grass while Clay took one bag and Jason took the other. They returned quickly, and I made a quick bathroom stop, drank 3 scoops of Ucan, then after a few minutes, it was time to head to swim start.

race start

The swim:

The swim was a rolling start, and athletes were to self-seed.  I got in line around the 1:30 mark.  As I entered the water, my plan was to stay to the far left.  In Mirror Lake, there is a line about 4 feet under the surface that follows the swim course.  Most people battle to get on this line, so I had decided I would stay far outside and avoid the battle.  It was extremely foggy race morning, and I couldn’t see to the next buoy to sight, so I just sighted off the people to my right since I knew the group was following a submerged line.  Even staying outside, I was regularly getting kicked, pulled on, swam over, and hit.  It seemed that no matter how far outside I stayed, there was still someone trying to get over the the right where the rope was.  The first loop was quite the battle.  As I came out of the water and started the second loop, I followed the same plan until I reached the turn buoy.  At that time, I got pushed to the inside, and I realized that I wasn’t being hammered as much, so I stayed there on the line.  I guess once we were on the line, everyone was where they wanted to be, so no one was getting hammered as bad.  The remainder of the second loop was very smooth.  Out of the water in 1:26, and off to T1.

Division Rank: 83 Gender Rank: 429 Overall Rank: 1732

T1:

I had specifically told my crew that I was going to have a picnic in transition because Coach Chuck always tells me not to in 70.3’s, but Chuck and I hadn’t talked a ton about the actual race.  He had given me a race plan, and we had chatted a few times during the week about the course, the town, and the weather, but I hadn’t really spoke race specifics with him because I knew my plan, and honestly, we just don’t usually talk a ton of race specifics because it’s just not something I need.  IMLP was my B race for the year, and we had spoken in the past that I was treating it as a training day.  He had told me earlier in the week to enjoy the day because you only get one first IM, but I guess I hadn’t let him know just how much I planned to enjoy the day and take it all in which I found out later concerned him a bit when saw my T1 time as 12:48 in IronTrac, and my bike and T2 didn’t help.  He was apparently a bit concerned until the first couple of run splits.

The run from swim to T1 was fairly long.  I did run it, but it was a narrow piece of carpet, and I got stuck behind some walkers a couple of times and had to pass them on the uncarpeted part which slowed me down a tad.  I grabbed my T1 bag, went into the tent, dumped it on a chair, and proceeded to get everything together.  Cycling jersey on, baggies in pockets, sunscreen on, gloves on, dried my feet, socks and shoes on, frozen 3 scoops of Ucan in cycling pocket, and off I went…..just not that fast.

As I headed through the bike area, volunteers were getting people’s bikes for them, but as I approached my rack, the volunteer didn’t hear my number and hadn’t grabbed mine, so she took off after it as I stood waiting.  Then off I went to the mount line.

Bike:

The bike course at IMLP is 2 loops.  It starts with a climb out of LP which is a pretty good climb, then a steep descent of about 7 miles into Keene(15 mile mark), followed by about 20 miles of fairly flat riding, to finish the loop with about 20 miles of fairly continuous climbing from Jay back to LP.  Most people just talk about the last 12 mile climb from Wilmington to LP, but you are actually climbing for about the last 20 miles of each loop.  There are a few rollers, but IMO you are climbing for the most part.  Also, most people talk about the 3 bears being horrible, but to me, the worst climb on the course is out of Jay heading towards Wilmington on 86.

Loop 1:

I headed out on the bike and saw my family right at the start.  As I climbed out of LP, I just dropped into an easy gear and spun up the hill.  It was a significant climb, but not bad as long as you were smart. I was glad to reach the top and head down the Keene descent.

As I descended, a lot of people were being cautious, but since I had ridden the descent Thursday, I was able to take advantage of the speed on the descent.  Most riders were very courteous and keeping right if they were moving slower, but a guy and I came up quickly on one rider hugging the yellow line even without anyone to the right.  He called on your left, but she didn’t move, so he went into the oncoming lane.  She glanced over, noticed him, and moved slightly right.  I then called on your left 3 different times, and she never moved over any further, so I proceeded to pass her in the 3-4 feet between her and the yellow line.  She didn’t maintain her line down the hill (which had been stressed in the athlete briefing along with not blocking on the descent), and she drifted into me.  I saw her coming and I was already slightly in front of her, luckily, as she bumped the rear of my bullhorns with her bullhorns.  She jumped, over corrected, and almost wiped out, but she was able to maintain control. I continued down the descent without further incident.

As I made the turn on 9N in Keene, the course became fairly flat and remained that way to Ausable Forks and back to Jay. The lady from the Keene descent hammered to catch me on the flat section and to inform me that I almost made her crash.  We exchanged a few words about rules and maintaining your line, and she pushed on past me.  I quickly caught myself annoyed by her and starting to push myself and settled back into my race. There were a lot of miles left, and I wasn’t going to let her get under my skin.

The ride to Ausable Forks was very scenic, and I enjoyed the views of the river and mountains. The road was a bit rough, but a few weeks before the race, the cracks in the road had been filled, so even though it was rough, there were no dangers of catching your wheel in a crack.  After the turn around in Ausable Forks, you return to Jay and start climbing as you turn right on 86.  This was a long slow climb.  Again, I didn’t want to burn any matches, so into my granny gear I went.  The remainder of the first loop was fairly uneventful, and I came into special needs.  Again, that picnic philosophy here.😉 I stopped, drank my 3 scoops of Ucan that was now thawed, and grabbed a PB&J out of my special needs bag.  I ate about half of it, then off I went.  As I headed around the back of the Olympic Oval and back out onto loop 2, I felt pretty good.  I had drank about 40 ounces of water with 1 tablet of Nunn in it, had the Ucan, and half of a PB&J.  This was more than typical of me on a training ride, so my nutrition seemed to be fine.

bike

Loop 2:

The climb out of LP on loop 2 presented a bit of trouble.  My right hamstring started cramping.  I had never had issues with cramping on training rides, and my fueling was better than I had done in training, so my only thoughts were that I probably pushed too much on some of the hills on the first loop despite trying to take it easy, so as I approached the top of the climb, it seemed to be getting worse, and I stopped to stretch.  After stretching, it felt better and I had a descent plus 15 or so miles of fairly flat, so I hoped it was gone.  For the next 20ish miles, the hamstring felt pretty good, but then as I headed out of Wilmington, I could feel the cramp returning. It wasn’t a sudden strong cramp.  It was just gradually setting in the more I climbed.  At this point, I just wanted off the bike because I knew if I could get done with the bike, it would most likely loosen up on the run.  I had to stop two more times heading back into LP and my left hamstring decided to join in on the fun by the time I got to the bottom of the 3 bears, so when I reached the top of Papa Bear, I was thrilled because I knew the end was near.  The run was not a concern for me, and I was almost done with the hardest part. The last section is lined with spectators as you come into LP and circle behind the Olympic oval to enter to T2. I was done with the bike in 7:25:41.

Division Rank: 77    Gender Rank: 384   Overall Rank: 1748

T2:

As I came into transition, Clay was working in T2 taking bikes.  He grabbed mine, asked me how I felt, and I was off to grab my bag.  T2 was interesting.  Let me start by saying that I am completely thankful for volunteers and appreciate everything they do!  But, I am someone who prefers to be left alone and likes to handle my own stuff.  I came into the tent, and a volunteered followed me.  Ok, no problem.  If I need something, I’ll ask.  She instructed me to have a seat and she’d help me.  I found a chair, sat down, placed my bag on the seat next to me, and proceeded to remove my cycling shoes.  This is where I started biting my tongue.  The volunteer grabbed my bag off the seat next to me and dumped it on the tent floor.  Ok, the floor was wet.  I have no idea if it was water or pee, but I imagine it was a mixture, and I had my clean, dry stuff in the bag along with run nutrition and water bottles.  Deep breath….I grabbed my shirt, it seemed dry still, hopefully nothing landed in water/pee.  What do you need?  I’m a bit annoyed, so I just bit my tongue.  Maybe if I don’t speak, or ask for anything she will leave?  I grab my socks as well, and they are still dry, then I start putting what I don’t want back in the bag.  She tells me to leave it.  I put it in anyway because I want to make sure it gets back in the bag.  I still am not speaking, and she isn’t leaving.  WTH?  I really just want my picnic time and to be left alone in my thoughts.  Stop talking to me and asking me questions!  I need to think.  I have an order and your questions are screwing with my thought process.  ADD here lady!  Ok, dry socks, run shoes, now a clean shirt.  Can I help you?  -no, go away…ok, I didn’t say it, but God I was thinking it! OMG, now she’s in my personal space pulling the back of my shirt down.  BACK OFF(again, in my head)!!!!  Personal space lady, personal space!  Just keep breathing, just keep breathing.  You’d think this invasion would have sped me up, but no, I was still taking my time, hoping to be left alone.  Shirt is now on.  Ok, sunscreen, this one she can help with.  I finally speak and ask her to apply it to my back.  I grab my nutrition, tell her thank you (for the invasion), and off I go.  Seriously, volunteers are awesome, I just don’t handle help with stuff well.  Keep doing what you do volunteers.  One day, I will need that help I’m sure. T2:  11:23

Run:

Two loops with 2 out and back sections on each, 26.2 miles total, and I’ve already swam and rode for a warm up because I must be nuts.

Loop 1:

My plan was to use a run:walk.  I would run 2 minutes, walk 30 seconds.  Doing this, I can keep an 11 minute mile pretty easy, so that was the plan.  If I felt good later, I could always drop the walks.

The cramps from the bike were gone as I had expected to happen, and my legs felt pretty good. There was a nice long downhill past the ski jumps (which means you have to go back up it), so I cruised down that part feeling pretty good.  As I headed out the long windy road to the turn around, I noticed a lot of people were already walking casually.  I wondered if they were on their second loop or first.  I felt comfortable with my 2/:30 and continued to maintain it.  I was starting to see people vomiting as well which made me start to think about vomiting and hope that I wouldn’t.  I had heard that people often get GI issues that cause it, but I just felt hungry.  So, I started taking in solid food on the run.  I had a Pure Bliss bar ( http://pureblissorganics.myshopify.com/ ) , so I ate it.  My stomach was no longer burning from hunger, and I felt better.  It was also pretty hot, so at every water stop I started putting ice in my bra, dumping ice water over my head, and drinking a few sips of water.  I continued this process through the first loop.  I walked every water stop in addition to my 30 second walk breaks to make sure I got what I needed.  The hill by the ski jumps was a booger, so I finished the run I was on, then I walked more than my 30 seconds up the hill.  I had an entire loop after this one, and I wasn’t going to kill myself on an early hill.

As I got back into LP I passed my family and support crew and I stopped by special needs to grab another Pure Bliss bar and ditch my fuel belt because I wasn’t using the bottles of Nunn in it, and it was just added weight to carry.  I also took a gel for some added energy and electrolytes, but overall, I was just hungry.  The out and back after special needs was lined with people most of the way as you came back towards the Olympic Oval before heading out on loop 2.

Loop 2:

One loop to go, 13.1 miles, it’s still daylight, and I still feel good.  When is the wall going to hit?  I’ve not pushed, but I’ve also never ran more than 4 miles off of a 100 mile bike ride and 15 off of a 50 mile ride.  Surely I’m going to hit the wall.  Soooo many people are now walking.  More people are puking.  I shouldn’t be feeling good still should I?  My stomach is burning.  Maybe this is what it feels like before you need to puke?  No, I think I’m just hungry.  Maybe I need some Gatorade.  –This is the conversation I was now having with myself– So, at the next water stop, I decided I’d start taking in a couple of sips of Gatorade, and I started eating some more of the Pure Bliss bar.  Then, I grabbed some pretzels later on.  The more I ate, the better I felt.  I WAS STARVING!  I really had no idea what nutrition was going to be this late in an IM for me.  I was done well before this is training, so it was all an experiment at this point.  Luckily, my stomach was fine and better with the added solid food.  The further I got into loop 2, the better I felt.  After the turn around about mile 6, there was a guy jamming on an inflatable guitar.  Maybe I was delirious, but my pace was good, I was feeling stronger, and I was having fun at this point, so I stopped for a second to head bang, play an air guitar, and sing with him before continuing on my way. Approaching the big hill gain, I went with the same theory, and I walked a bit longer than my 30 seconds.  I had started picking my pace up a tad on the run portion, as I headed back into LP.  Then, I was there.  I saw my family as I came back before the final turn for the last 2 miles out and back.  I was going to be an Ironman in about 20 minutes.  I stopped and hugged my family, then picked the pace up to finish those last 2 miles.  I could hear Mike Reilly announcing finishers the entire last 2 miles.  What motivation could be better!  I made the last turn around, and headed back.  I skipped the last couple of walk breaks as I ran down the last stretch by Mirror Lake surrounded with people on both sides and made my way to the Olympic Oval. As I entered the oval, words can’t do justice for the feeling you get.  You feel like a rockstar at IMLP as you enter that oval.  People holding their hands out on both sides giving you high 5’s.  Mike Reilly announcing other finishers as you circle the oval.  Then, you come around that corner and see the finish line and the Ironman carpet.  Stephanie-You are an Ironman!

finish line

Run:  4:46:43  Finish Time:  14:02:39

Division Rank: 62  Gender Rank:  297  Overall Rank:  1353

As I finished, a volunteer met me, “how do you feel?”

Me: “I feel good.”

Her:  “You look like you do.  Do you need anything?”

Me:  “Water.”  She grabbed my shirt, hat, and some water after I got my medal, then she put me in line for my photo and went back to the finish line.  As I stood waiting for my photo, I noticed everyone else still had their volunteer.  Hmmm…I finally got my wish to be left alone by a volunteer, but wait, I want FOOD, and I have a ton of crap in my hands.  Those people are sitting down, and their volunteers are getting their food for them.  Well, lesson learned, don’t say you feel good at the finish, and don’t wish to be left alone so much because I could have used some help carrying my food then, but I managed, and my family apparently wondered if I was ever going to stop eating and come out. ;-P

family photo at finish

Thank You’s:

I just want to take a second to say thank you to my husband, Jason, who supports me in everything I do.  I have to say that I am extremely lucky to have a spouse who supports my adventures and NEVER complains about the time that I spend doing them. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a spouse like him.

I also want to thank Coach Chuck(  http://www.tricoachgeorgia.com/ ) who puts up with my non-sense and smart mouth, yet knows when to tell me to DYJ (do your job).  He has been my coach for 3 years now, and I need a coach like him who can be a smart ass when needed.  I’m sure a lot of coaches would be a bit to easy on me, but I need someone who is willing to push me beyond my comfort zone even though I hate him at times.

And last, but not least, I want to thank my training partners and teammates who have joined me on hundreds of miles, cheered and supported me at my race, and not let me slack when I wanted to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Wrap up/2016 What’s ahead

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog, but I’ll try to keep it brief.  A lot has happened since July.  I went back to work full time as a high school math teacher, continued training, and I raced my “A” race which was Augusta 70.3.  I PR’d with a 5:44:41.  I’ll spare you the details since I forgot to write a timely race report, and quite honestly, I don’t remember the details, but I was thrilled with my results.

After Augusta, I had Marine Corp Marathon on the books for October.  With teaching full time, training became pretty difficult, so how do I compensate?  Register for IM Lake Placid of course, and as if that wasn’t enough, sometime during the last quarter of the year, I thought it’d be wise to register for a second IM when North Carolina opened.  Training for MCM continued, and I survived.

The weekend of MCM, Dani and I drove to Washington D.C. Friday night after I got off work.  We arrived at our hotel around 4AM Saturday, raced Sunday, and drove home Sunday.  I wouldn’t advise my travel strategy, but it worked and I got a PR( 4:13:21).  Gotta love road trips, but 20 hours(10+ each way) in the car the weekend of a marathon might not be the best choice.  I like to do things my own way though.

After the MCM, my race season was finished.  I decided in November that I needed some time to figure out my training schedule, so I asked my coach to let me go a couple of weeks unstructured.  He came back with “why don’t you take a month or two off and come back mid-January?  You’ve been training 3 years straight with no time off.”  Ummm, ok.  I needed him to say that in November because honestly, I was on the verge of burn out.  With working full time, the crazy finish to my race season, and signing up for the upcoming IM’s, I was feeling like I was drowning.  I think he had caught on to this considering my Training Peaks account had a lot more red than it has ever had in the last 2+ years with him coaching me.  So, I agreed to take the time off and come back mid-January.  BEST ADVICE EVER!  I honestly wouldn’t have ever decided to take that time off without the prompting from him.  It was the fear that if I took the time off I would lose some fitness and starting back would be hard.  It was also (believe it or not) a feeling of weakness to admit that I needed a break.

Needless to say, my coach knows me, which brings me to this last part.  Just after Christmas, my coach informed me that he was switching to a different team.  I immediately told him I was going where he was going without hesitation and without know what team he was going to.  It wasn’t a question of a team.  It was a matter of staying with the coach that I had chosen 2+ years(3 years next month) earlier and who had gotten me through 4-70.3’s, 2 marathons, and numerous other races with PR’s that were still coming left and right.  I also have my biggest year yet coming up, and I wasn’t changing coaches going into my IM year, so there was no doubt I was going where my coach was going because it was about the trust and relationship we had developed as athlete and coach.  Would I miss my teammates? Yes. Would some teammates not understand why I’d jump ship? Probably. Would feelings be hurt? Yes. Would I still see my teammates? Yes.  Was I disappointed to have to change teams?  Yes.

So, at the end of December I left my old team and followed Coach Chuck (Charles Sims a.k.a BAMF) to TriCoachGeorgia ( http://www.tricoachgeorgia.com ). For someone who keeps her circle small, coming into a team like TriCoachGeorgia should be hard, but they have made it surprisingly easy.  I will probably continue to take my time meeting people in person just because that’s how I am, but the group is very active on their private Facebook page which encouragement, joking, training, etc.  I feel like I’m getting to know a lot of their personalities already, and they have all be extremely welcoming.  The “Do Your Job” phrase they use runs deep with the team through the positive energy and work I see each of them doing.  Talk about motivation, no being a slug with this group of athletes around you busting their tails.  They truly are a fun group that likes to banter back and forth….my kind of people because I’m quite the smart ass, but I’m keeping that on the down low for now. ;-)  I think we’ll only let Coach C see that side still for now.

All in all, the transition has been super easy and fun.  I can’t wait to spend this upcoming year racing with this group of misfits!

 

 

Goals accomplished from 2015 & 2016 goals

2016 GOALS:

I’ll keep this list short

  1. Complete IM Lake Placid
  2. Complete IM North Carolina
  3. Finish season injury free
  4. Finish one IM in under 13 hours (yeah, big goal, this is the icing on the cake for the year)
  5. Complete coaching certification-attending class in April in Myrtle Beach

2015 Goals:

So, here are my goals that I posted to my blog in Feb and how I did at completing them.

February 18, 2015

1. Complete a marathon (not in misery) – done 1/25/2015 Time: 4:30:17 completed again at MCM on 10/25 in 4:13:21

2. Complete an Olympic distance triathlon – yep, that little oversleeping incident last year means that I haven’t actually finished an Oly. Done: Lake Hartwell Oly June 27th, 2015 2:45:58 and Lake Logan Oly August 9th, 2015 2:49:32

3. Finish NOLA 70.3 April 19th, 2015 in the same time or better than I did Augusta 70.3 2014 – the swim isn’t downstream, so I have some time to make up on the swim, so I’m not looking to necessarily beat it, just want to at least meet it. Done: 5:52:06

4. Complete at least 1 century ride – need to figure out which one to do or do my own wink emoticon frown emoticon Decided to skip this one this year. It never fit in with my race schedule

5. I will be attending Peak Racing Team’s IMFL camp this year in September – I have some work to do before then to prepare for the camp since it is a 140.6 camp…..Camp was cancelled.

6. Attend the Peak Racing Team’s Gaps camp and complete the rides. I am honestly more concerned about completing the rides at this camp than I am about anything else on this list. I don’t know that I’ll be quite ready to do this in March, but we’ll see. DONE! I survived with the help of Peak Racing Team. Big thanks to Alfonso Ahuja for leading me up the last bit of Hog Pen. It was a great camp and confidence boost going into the season.

7. Run a 5K in under 25 minutes – yeah, that’s going to be a challenge. I originally thought 26, but I’ve come pretty close to that in the middle of a half marathon, so if it doesn’t scare you, you’re not setting your goals high enough, right? I have a 5K in March which will be my first in almost 2 years, so it’s time to set a new PR. I’m hoping to be under 26 minutes at it. Done: The ShamRock ‘N Roll 5K in March came in at 24:46, and I placed in my age group.

8. Register for an Ironman for 2016 – the idea of this no longer scares me, which makes me question my sanity. Done: Ummm, yeah, apparently someone should slap me when ideas no longer scare me because I registered for 2 in 2016! Lake Placid and Beach 2 Battleship, guess it’s going to be a busy year.

9. Finish Augusta 70.3 in under 6:05 – um, yeah, not sure if that’s crazy or what. That’s taking just over 20 minutes off my time of 6:25:39 from last year. I’m hoping to take off about 13-15 on the bike, 5-7 on the run, and maybe 1-2 on the swim, so we shall see. Done: Augusta 70.3 2015 was completed in 5:44:41 I added a tad over 1 minute to my swim unsure emoticon, took off over 26 minutes on bike, and over 13 minutes on the run.

10. Finish Raleigh 70.3 in under 6:30 in May 2015. Since this one is only a month after NOLA, no big plans here….just looking to finish. Done: Finished in 6:09:01

11. Finish the Marine Corp Marathon in under 4:15 – This could be hard considering it’s only a month after Augusta, but we’ll see. Done: Longest run going into MCM was 15 miles, so I wasn’t sure if I’d blow up around mile 20, but I finished in 4:13:21 with strong splits in the last half of the marathon.

12. Finish 2015 injury free! DONE!!!!!!

 

Judge Me By My Size, Do You?

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, and actually putting it to paper (so to speak) is not very appealing because it means opening up and being vulnerable.

yoda

Yoda is very intelligent as we all know, and I LOVE this quote.  Let’s dig a little deeper…

How many times have you shown up at a race and sized up your competition by their size?  How many times have you sized up your ability against your competition because of your size?  Do you often think you don’t stand a chance because everyone else is so fit looking?  Do you ever think you have the race in the bag because the others don’t look as fit as you?  Have you ever not done a race or activity because you didn’t think you were fit enough because of your size?

comparison

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but who really doesn’t….at least occasionally?  Yes, it is something I work on not doing, but dang, it’s hard.  We all would like to get on the podium at least every once in a while, so if you’re like me, you like to at least think about your chances of placing…..at least at the smaller races(of course, I used to think this was never a possibility).  Then, there’s the thought of racing an Ironman.  Last year, I never thought I’d want/be able to complete one.  Partially because I really thought that everyone that did them was ripped or at least extremely fit looking.  I mean really, who would try to race for 14 hours unless they are in top physical shape and that has to translate to appearance.  I realized at the Augusta 70.3 last year that there were all sizes competing and finishing the half, but still a full????  I honestly expected a different crowd, until I went to IM Florida to spectate.  People of all sizes and ages were finishing, and they were just as amazing in my book.  Maybe a full wasn’t out of the question just because I’m not ripped.

I’m not saying that you won’t improve your own times by losing a bit of weight, but don’t be so quick to count yourself out because you aren’t as fit looking as others.  This is a real struggle for me personally.  I often look at others and think they’ll kick my ass because they are 20-30lbs lighter than me.  It’s taken months and several races with a few placings, but I’m finally starting to realize that my size doesn’t affect how fast I am in comparison to others.  Can I be faster by losing a bit more?  Yes, but just because I’m 5’6″ and weigh 145 lbs doesn’t mean I can’t kick the 110 lbs person’s butt or that the 165 lbs person won’t kick mine!

Recently, I raced an Olympic distance triathlon, and I honestly didn’t think I’d place overall.  It was a small race, but there were enough others there that looked more fit that I figured I’d be out of the top 3.  I placed 3rd overall and shocked myself.  I ran a decent size 5K in Atlanta in March, and I never expected to place in my age group because I’m just not the small fast runner type and plenty of others were.  I somehow pulled off 3rd place in my age group.  At the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta with 54,000+ runners, I would expect someone my size(average I’d say) to maybe finish around the middle(average) of the pack.  I finished in top 9% overall and top 4% of the women.  I often doubt my abilities due to my size, and it needs to stop!  That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to lose a few more pounds to make myself a bit faster (than my current self), but I don’t need to judge my ability to complete a race or to place by my size because so many more things determine that!

Determination, perseverance, consistency, dedication, faith in your abilities, and mental strength have more to do with your ability than your size does.  With those things, you can finish the race, and you can often beat others who are lacking some of those things even if they have the fit body and talent.  You(preaching to myself here as well) have to believe in yourself.

I have some BIG goals for this year at Augusta 70.3 and the Marine Corp Marathon.  I may be average size, but that doesn’t mean my goal times have to be average as well.

So, lose some weight if you want, but don’t let the size you are now hold you back from trying something or make you think that you’re not as good/fast as someone smaller, and NEVER let anyone else count you out due to your size!  Tell them to sit back and watch, then go prove them wrong!

 

IM Raleigh 70.3

6 weeks prior, I PR’d NOLA 70.3 with a 5:52:06, and yet, I was going into Raleigh, shooting for a 6:15 due to the difference in the courses.  The race started with the Pros at 7AM, and my swim wave wasn’t scheduled to go off until 7:56.  About 7:15, I drank my 3 scoops of Ucan.

SWIM:

They were telling us as soon as we had arrived that the swim was not wetsuit legal.  I was disappointed in this since swimming is my weakest event, and I need all the help I can get.  I did have a new swimskin though that I brought, and what better time to try it out for the first time than on race day.  ;-)  Pfft…. nothing new on race day takes the adventure out of things.  The time went by pretty quick, and before I knew it, it was go time on an absolutely gorgeous morning to race.  For the swim, you walk down the beach under the timing arch to an in water start by waves.  I lined myself up to the inside of the course which was a triangular shape.  I found a bit of room here where I felt like I wouldn’t be immediately swam over by others in my wave.  They sounded the horn, and we were off.  I actually remembered to start my watch for the first time ever in a race at the start.  I tried to hug the inside of the course since it was pretty open space there for the first section.  As we rounded the first turn, I moved a bit wider since people moved to the inside on the turn, and I stayed out a bit for the first 200 yds or so of the back stretch.  The water had been pretty smooth until this back stretch, and suddenly, I had waves smacking me in the face, and I was getting mouthfuls of water.  I switched my breathing to the right for a few strokes and it seemed better, then the big waves seemed to disperse.  The next issue was the younger & faster men that started behind us were starting to catch me about this time, and I was in the middle of the course instead of either side now, so I made my way to the inside right next to the buoys because it seemed pretty open until a guy came from inside the buoy line and sideswiped me.  I stopped and let him go then continued on.  The back stretch seemed to go on FOREVER, but I finally reached the second turn buoy and headed into the final stretch.  Going down this stretch, a fast guy came up on my left, and as he bumped me once or twice and I moved to my right, he continued and then pushed me, so I switched to the breaststroke, and yes, I did try to kick him.  There was no sense in how aggressive he was being, and there was plenty of open water.  I caught his arm a bit, but I wanted to catch his face at the time.  Approaching the final two buoys, I caught up to a guy who was backstroking, and I left him plenty of room if his stroke was anywhere near where it should have been, but rather he grabbed the top of my head when I was in line with his shoulder and pushed it.  I’m still not sure if that was intentional or not, but it seemed to be as he practically dunked me, and the position would have been a REALLY awkward spot to be able to grab someone’s head in the backstroke unless you were just skimming the top of the water with your stroke all the way through.  The swim exit was up a boat ramp that had mats on it and was easy to exit.  I was simply glad to be done with this swim that seemed to take a lot longer than normal.

swim exit

They caught me removing my ear plugs, but the look of exhaustion is about how I felt at this point

I stopped by the wetsuit strippers who now had very little to do, and one of them unzipped my swimskin for me, and I headed to my bike.  Arriving at my bike, it looked like everyone in my age group had already left…. geesh, I must really suck at swimming is what was going through my head.  My swim time was 49:00, and I was 86th out of 151 starters in my age group, got to work on that.

BIKE:

I grabbed my bike, headed to the mount line, remembered to press the correct buttons on my watch, and was off.  Goal was warm up and ease into 80-85% FTP.  Again, that seemed a bit high, and my quads had definitely not recovered because they were feeling tight for some reason, but I figured I’d just see how they loosened up.  56 miles was a long way to go, no need in getting in my head this early.  We had a little bit of climbing in the first 5 miles that seemed to help loosen up my quads, and I quickly found myself settling into a good rhythm and feeling better.  The next 25 miles or so had more elevation loss than gain and was an extremely easy ride. I had been told that the second half of the course was a lot hillier, and the elevation profile showed that it should have a total gain of 2700 feet, so I was prepared for the course to get difficult.  The next 5 miles presented a bit of a climb, but nothing that I thought was significant, then the final 21 miles had more loss overall than gain again.  The bike course was fast!  Yes, there were some hills, but they were rollers and not hard climbs.  I kept looking for the hills that people were referring to, but I didn’t see them.  I know there were some changes to the course this year due to road construction, so perhaps that was why it was easier than expected.  I ended up with an elevation gain of just over 2200 on the bike instead of the 2700 shown on IM’s site.

If you are from Atlanta, this ride was easier than the Silk Sheets route, so train there, and you’ll think it’s a breeze.  Silk Sheets’ hills are definitely longer, slower climbs than this.

The only issues on the bike course I had was traffic.  The officers did a great job of stopping and directing traffic for the riders, but there was one stretch where cars were really backed up coming towards us, and a driver(seemingly annoyed) whipped out in front of us going in our direction.  The driver then proceeded to ride right on the back end of a slower cyclist, but they stayed towards the right edge to prevent us from passing him and the other cyclist.

I came in from the bike with a time of 3:02:12, and I headed into the somewhat weird transition.  Transition is split into two sides by a bit of a zig-zag due to shrubbery.  Odd, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I racked my bike and proceeded to put my socks and shoes on.  As I was putting my stuff on, I was rather annoyed when I saw a fellow age grouper run in while a male volunteer pushed her bike and racked it for her as she started putting on her shoes.  After getting her shoes on, he told her to go, and he then put her gear in her bag for her.  I guess volunteers aren’t technically outside assistance, but I think this goes against what the rules allow.  Volunteering so you can provide unequal assistance to someone you know is cheating if you ask me….just my $.02.  I will say that I was very pleased with the lack of drafting I saw by competitors on this course.  I never saw any groups fly by who were obviously drafting.

On the bike, I consumed 50 ounces of water mixed with 6 scoops of Osmo and a 200 calories Kind bar.

RUN:

Out of transition I headed, and up a hill…… a hill that lasted 3 miles.  Ok, there were a few breaks, but overall, the first half of the loop was uphill.  I HATED this.  There just wasn’t a good chance to get your legs to relax off the bike and find them for the run in that first 3 miles.  With my calves getting tighter by the minute and trying to cramp, I took some Base Salt (ok, I took a quick triple dose).  The aid stations were all well stocked with ice, water, Gatorade, Coke, pretzels, oranges, bananas, Gu, sponges, etc.  I have to say, the volunteers and race rocked at keeping the supplies going on the course!  Kiddie pools had ice in them with sponges, and many of us were grabbing ice by the handfuls out of the these.  The volunteers were on point with keeping cups filled and offering stuff to you as you passed.  I hated the run course, but LOVED the crowd support and volunteers!  As I got close to the 3 mile mark, my calves were starting to loosen FINALLY!  After the turn around, the course was more or less downhill back to the loop start before having to start the wonderful climb again.  Around mile 8, I ate an orange slice (again, new stuff, why not?) because I was just starting to feel hungry.  My left hamstring started tightening up on me on this uphill, so again, I took a bit of Base Salt (  http://www.baseperformance.com/ ) and lots of water to wash it down, and soon enough, my hamstring loosened back up.  Base Salt rocks!  After the turn around, I again picked up my pace on the way back, but continued to walk the aid stations to make sure I got water, ice, and other needed items.  Feeling hungry still, I grabbed pretzels around mile 11 before my last push to the finish.  My run time came in at 2:10:31 which was 1 second faster than NOLA.

run

Gu and water, fuel and hydration

 

On the run course, in addition to the Base Salts, orange slice, and pretzels, I had 2 Gu’s, 1 Roctane, and 2 scoops of Osmo along with lots of WATER.  The run course had very little shade and the weather was pretty hot, but the humidity and temperature didn’t seem as bad as the NOLA 70.3.

post race

Glad to be done!

 

Another great race in the books thanks to the guidance of Coach Charles Sims.  I couldn’t do it without his help!  My overall time came in at 6:09:01 which was below 6:15, so I was happy with my performance.  My “A” race this year is the Augusta 70.3, and I look forward to testing my limits with that race.  Go big or go home!

 

IM Raleigh 70.3 (Pre-race)

I’m beginning to realize that this season may be more about me gaining confidence in myself than anything else.  Preparing for my first 70.3 last year, my biggest concern was getting physically able to complete the distance.  I now know that I can complete it but figuring out just how well and where my limits are this year is now my challenge.

After NOLA, I had 6 weeks to prepare for Raleigh, and Coach Chuck ( http://peakracingteam.com/chuck-sims/ ) decided to change up a few things to help improve the run.  I have flaws (yeah, I know, you never knew), and one of those flaws is the stupidity to continue to push when my body is screaming at me that it needs rest even when my coach says to rest or gives me optional workouts.  Needless to say, the continued push started to catch up with me around May 9th (about 3 weeks before Raleigh).  At the end of a long day of riding in the Gaps, I felt pretty beat.  Coach C said we were doing a drop down week that coming week, and then hitting it hard one more week before Raleigh.  I should have taken advantage of the drop down week and skipped (oh yes, I am admitting sometimes skipping a workout is necessary….finding my limits) a workout or two, so I could go hard the next week, but my stubbornness didn’t allow that.  The drop down week ended up not allowing for the recovery my body was screaming for, and the ensuing hard week was miserable culminating with a double brick scheduled on Saturday with Coach C of a 25 mile ride, 3 mile run, 25 mile ride, 4 mile run.  I showed up at Silk Sheets feeling like I’d been hit by a mac truck that week, and apparently I looked just as bad by the end of the workout which I shortened.  Afterwards, I told him I was beat, and my Training Peaks may be red all week.  He said to just do what I felt like and to recover….for once, I heeded his advice.  I honestly didn’t think I’d recover in time to do much of anything at Raleigh how I felt.

With a week of more red than I think my Training Peaks account has seen as a total over a few months, I showed up to Raleigh unsure of how the race was going to go.  I told Coach Tony on Saturday that if someone told me I couldn’t race the next day I wouldn’t be upset.  I enjoy races, and I look forward to them.  I don’t usually get nervous, and I wasn’t nervous about the race.  I just wasn’t excited in any way, shape, or form to be there.  I just didn’t care.  I was hoping I had recovered, but I wasn’t sure since I missed so many workouts.  I was hoping I could pull off 6:15 or better, but if I didn’t it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  The time in my mind was more about me not wanting to be on that freaking course any longer than that on Sunday.  It had nothing to do with PR’s or any logic to that number.  It was simply a number pulled out of a hat that was mentally as long as I felt I could stand to race Sunday.

Saturday morning, Angela and I attended a breakfast with Base Perfomance ( http://www.baseperformance.com/ ). Angela is sponsored by them, and she was able to bring a guest, so I went with her.  It was a fun start to the day meeting the owner Matt and learning a bit more about the company and products.  I had Base Salts and was using them for the first time during a race(more about that later) for this race, but I hadn’t tried any of their other products.  After learning a bit more about the Base Amino and hearing some reviews though, I think I’m going to give them a try soon.

After breakfast, we took our bikes out to T1 to drop off.  It was about a 40 minute drive both directions, so it ate into the day more than I thought it would with a lunch stop along the way at Chipolte.  After a bit more running around, we ate dinner at Mellow Mushroom with the Peak Racing Team (http://peakracingteam.com/ ) before heading to our room to prepare our bags for the next day and go to bed.

dinner

Peak racers at dinner

 

Up at 3AM, I prepared my nutrition, packed it in my bags, and was off to head to T2 where I needed to drop off my run bag and catch the shuttle for my 40 minute ride to T1.  For some reason, we couldn’t lay out our stuff in T2 by where we’d rack our bikes, but instead we had to leave it all in our bags on the ground.  Seemed odd, but you have got to roll with it, so we did.  With nothing left to do at T2, Angela and I loaded the shuttle bus and headed to T1.

Arriving at T1, I got body marked, and we both made a quick porta potty stop before heading into transition.  We were again told that we had to leave everything in our bike gear bags here as well, so I basically dropped my bag in front of my bike, poured my hydration in my Speedfil, and headed out to go chill.  That was the last time I saw Angela before the race.

pre-start

I found the Peak Racing Team, and we headed to the shoreline to watch the sunrise and hang out as we waited for the race start.

sunrise

Up next, the race……

 

 

IM 70.3 NOLA

Yes, I’m a slacker….once again.

My goal going into New Orleans (NOLA) was simply to meet maybe slightly beat my IM Augusta 70.3 time, so I needed to beat 6:25:39.  I would have been happy with 6:25 flat.  The weather was going to be hot and humid, and there was a possibility of rain leading up to the race, so I kept my expectations low.

First thing we did upon arriving in NOLA was check-in to the hotel and head to packet pick up.  It had been moved to the Hilton Riverside, so it was within walking distance from out hotel.  Packet pickup went smooth, and at athlete briefing, we were informed that mandatory bike check-in on Saturday was now optional due to possible storms on Saturday.  Times for check-in had also been shortened to 3PM-8PM on Saturday, and transition would open early at 4:30AM on Sunday due to the non-mandatory bike check-in on Saturday.

peak

Peak Racing Team in NOLA

 

Skipping ahead to Sunday, since I decided to wait and take my bike that morning, I got up at 3AM Sunday to eat an early breakfast at IHOP and to head to transition at opening at South Shore Harbor.  With a few delays at IHOP(drunk people in NOLA at 3AM, go figure), and a small accident on the highway, we arrived pretty close to transition opening.  A few others had decided to arrive early as well, but overall, there weren’t an abundance of cars which surprised me considering the lack of a mandatory bike check-in meant that there would probably be close to double the number of vehicles coming to that area that morning since bikes can’t go on the shuttles.  I also like to arrive early though anyway to get my stuff settled, then relax and watch the morning rush, so maybe my expectations are just off.

Race time was set to start at 7AM, but due to traffic back up leading into the start area, it was postponed until 7:30AM.  If there had been a steady stream/backup of cars since transition opened at 4:30AM, then I’d have been understanding, but knowing there wasn’t, I was rather annoyed.  Luckily, I don’t drink my 3 scoops of Ucan until 45 minutes prior and I was in the last wave, so I had the luxury of waiting until almost race start to drink it.  Some people I am sure were not so lucky, and even though it was only 30 minutes, it could throw off their nutrition.  It also meant that I was getting pushed 30 minutes later into the heat of the day simply because people didn’t plan to get to the race in time by planning for unexpected delays.  Nothing I could do about it, so I dealt with it by drinking a ton more water and peeing a million times more than usual.

pre-swim

Waiting…..

 

SWIM:

The swim was on the verge of being cancelled on Friday due to some rather frightening readings of bacteria levels in the lake in various spots, but WTC requested a sample be taken from the actual swim site in the harbor, and the results came in late Friday that it was 374.  I don’t know all the details, but there were some comments regarding the EPA listing safe swim levels below 200 and USAT’s standard as 450.  I guess USAT knows more than the EPA…..well, the EPA is managed by the government, sooooo…..  Either way, the swim was on, and we were happy, and maybe a little concerned.

Sunday morning, we all started in age group waves by time trial, so basically, each age group went off in groups of 8 jumping in from the dock.  This actually went much faster than I had thought, and we were all in the water within an hour I believe.  The course was an “N” shape, and the first line was down the side of the harbor by the seawall.  The water inside the harbor was very smooth I thought and cold enough for our wetsuits.  SCORE!  I basically sighted off the wall for the first leg of the “N.”  The diagonal was a bit harder to sight.  The lack of buoys other than one in the middle and one at the end made it hard to tell where you were going other than following the crowd and sighting the last row of boats since I knew the turn buoy was there from checking out the course the day before.  After the last turn, I was able to sight using the ends of the rows of boats until I got close enough to see the last buoy to turn and head in.  The exit is made of metal steps, but they were easy to maneuver.  As we made our (extremely long) way to T1, I stopped for the wetsuit strippers, then proceeded towards T1.  My swim time was 35:01. Augusta was 30:11. The swim was about 300ish yards short though from everything I have seen posted and from everyone’s Garmin that I know.

swim

FINALLY!

 

BIKE:

The bike course is kind of a “Y” shape out and back which was nice because we had the roads to ourselves for the most part.  My race plan said some non-sense about slowly building to 80-85% FTP.  Umm, yeah, I thought around 75% sounded more reasonable for me, so I tried keeping it around that, and I seemed to end up around 77-78%, so I split the difference with my coach. ;-)  Part of the reason 80-85% concerned me was seeing my 5 mile split times over the first 15 miles or so showing under 15 minutes per 5 miles, and I wasn’t even to 80% yet.  I knew that was over 20mph.  I had never averaged anywhere near that pace on any ride, and I psyched myself out a bit on the thought of maintaining that power level much less increasing it.  The wind was behind me & my power was where it was supposed to be for the start, so I tried not to think about it, but I did, and so I stayed closer to 75%.  Towards the end of the bike, the wind was in my face and slowed me down & my power increased to that 85% range, but I was also trying to get away from a cluster of girls drafting that were playing leapfrog with me & pissing me off.  I’d say my biggest gripes about the bike course were the ridiculous amount of drafting going on and the rough bridges.  Otherwise, I was pretty happy with the bike.  During the bike, I drank the 40 ounces of water mixed with 7 scoops of Osmo I carried, ate a Kind Bar around mile 20, and picked up and drank about 8 ounces of an extra water bottle from the last water stop.  My bike time was 2:56:05.  It could have been a bit faster maybe, so I might eventually try that 80-85% range my coach suggest.  He’s probably correct, but I also have to not psych myself out with the pace that means.  Augusta was 3:29:53 (um, yeah, my cycling has come a LONG way!)

RUN:

nola run

Heading out

 

It was H-O-T!  The run course doesn’t have ANY shade on it since it runs along Lake Pontchartrain.  It is an out and back one loop course.  The sun was beating down on my shoulders, and I could feel them baking in the sun.  I decided I’d run and just walk the water stops to make sure I got what I needed, and I think it was a good plan.  I was able to grab ice and cold water at pretty much every water stop.  I drank the 2 scoops of Osmo I carried, took salted caramel Gu at mile 2, Gu chews around mile 5, and a Roctane around mile 9 which was almost a mistake because I felt a bit sick after the Roctane, but I made it to the end with negative splits and a strong run.  My time for the run was 2:10:32.  Augusta was 2:15:34.

caddies

The best support crew around

GOAL RESULTS:

I crushed any expectations I had and went under 6 hours with a 5:52:06.

Would I recommend NOLA 70.3?

Hard to say, I liked it, but many people on my team weren’t thrilled with it.  I could definitely tell this was handled by Premier rather than WTC due to little things here and there as well as the delay.  I enjoyed hanging out in NOLA the two extra days after the race that we stayed.  It’s definitely not a great family race to bring the kids to, but it was a fun weekend, the course was fair and flat, but it was hot.  I probably won’t race it again, but that’s just because there are too many others that I want to try.