Friday, May 28, 2010

Half Ironman in Hell…or Ironman FL 70.3 Race Report

I’ve been looking forward to this race...only because it was in Orlando so I would be seeing my family and maybe see some friends. Beyond that, it’s really hard to be looking forward to a Half when you’ve barely trained for a Sprint!

Package Pick Up/Registration – In true Ironman WTC fashion this was very well organized. My only issues were they did not say that the shirts were “women” sized so the large that I ordered (I like baggy t-shirts) is obscenely tight and will probably be given to Dude’s son (and it will probably be tight on him and he’s skinny)! The other issue was the Expo. I’m used to TRIATHLON Expos. You know, Expos with nutrition, bike stuff, and misc. gear that is often forgotten. Nope, there was one shoe place, a granola booth, then a bunch of advertisement type places for future races, training, peanut butter, grocery stores, etc. I didn’t pack Enduralytes or Chamois Cream because, well, these items are usually available at the Expo. Especially Enduralytes when you are racing in a hot climate! The remainder of my Saturday was spent looking for these items, failing to find them, and coming up with substitutes.

Pre: Woke up in plenty of time and made my way to Disney. The bussing system was well organized and timely. There early, all set-up and spent most of my time hanging on the beach calming my nerves.

Swim 1.2 Miles – 44:02 Slowest I’ve ever done 1.2 miles. I’m blaming that on it not being wetsuit legal. It had nothing to do with the fact I’ve only swam, oh, what, 12 times since December. It was the lack of wetsuit!!!!

T1 – 7:33 Apparently I stopped and wrote an epic novel. Seriously, over 7 1/2 minutes!! It was about a ¼ mile run on mulch to my transition area. For this race I was testing a new changing system. I put on a little skirt so I could strip down without violating the “No Nudity” rule and put on my bike shorts. This worked quite well at home, but putting bike shorts on a wet body caused some issues that bit into my time. Add that I had an end spot so I had an audience for this wrestling match and of course Mom’s taking pictures! Nice! Then the nose piece on my glasses kept falling off and instead of grabbing my spare shades I kept trying to fix them. Finally gave up, grabbed the other pair, and did the 10th of a mile run to the bike out.

Bike 56.2M – 3:18 Holy cow – look at that PR! Gotta love flat, fast courses. The only issue I had was the guy who shipped my bike put the tire on backwards so until the first rest stop I didn’t have mileage/speed/etc. There was A LOT of drafting going on. Seriously, why would you cheat yourself. Whatever! Nutrition was good, it wasn’t too hot, no mechanical issues. I loved that bike ride!

T2 - 6:43 Apparently I stopped and proof-read my epic novel. Seriously, almost 7 minutes!! Another 10th of a mile run to my transition area. I incorporated the changing skirt again to get into my compression shorts. Again, this worked at home, not so much with a sweaty body. I also debated with shin sleeves but since it was so hot, I decided against them. Thank Goodness! Sunscreen, fuel belt, devil horns on and I’m off!

Run 13.1M – An Eternity, or 3:00 The devil horns came in handy because this was truly triathlon HELL. It was 1,000 degrees, no joke. In each of the three (F-ING) loops, there was about 3 miles of “access rode” running which means tall grass, ruts in the roads, swamp on one side, trees on the other. NO SHADE, NO BREEZE. Did I mention it was 1,000 degrees? It turned into a Death March. People that looked in seriously better shape then me were wandering with a dazed look on their face. During my first loop, three people were getting carted off by ambulance for heat exhaustion. My mom said it looked like the finish line was getting hit with sniper fire – people would cross the line and collapse. When I finished there was a line of people on stretchers waiting for ambulances. At each rest stop I’d stuff ice in my hat, down my shirt, in the back and front of my shorts, and on each thigh. I’d then pour buckets of ice water on my head and within a half mile I’d be boiling hot again. It was a mental test to run for more then five minutes. The second loop I was able to “run” to each mile marker then walk for 3 minutes (or 4). Lap three I did that until mile 10. Heading into mile 11 I saw the back of a mile marker and begged to all things holy that it did not say 11 (I knew just how far I still had to go to get to the turn-around and back to that sign). Sure enough…11. I yelled (screamed would the better word) F***!!!!! The girl just ahead of me said "EXACTLY – this is F-ING ridiculous"! From then on I walked. Oh, I’d try to run 2:1 intervals but those were turning into 1:4. Mile 13, only one mile to go and my brain just said no. So I walked until I got to the crowd (adoring fans) and I ran. I definitely had a final sprint at the end since I barely ran anything. I have never been so happy to end a race, and boy howdy, did I smell bad!

Overall 7:17 – I remember getting off the bike thinking that I was going to PR. Silly me! Never, ever, ever, ever underestimate heat. I’d so much prefer to race in the cold! You can always put on more layers but you can only get so naked before they put you in jail.

I was expecting more swag since this was an Ironman sponsored event but for $275 I got a participant shirt (that doesn’t fit), hat, bag, a medal, and a poster. Mooseman cost less last year and in addition to all that (minus poster) we also got a finisher shirt and an awesome thermos…not to mention the margaritas. I never found the athlete’s area after the race (apparently it was quite a walk) so I didn’t get my pizza.

I also want to give a shout out to Tri Sport Express – the company I used to ship my bike down there. Professional, inexpensive, and absolutely stress free. Use them. Seriously, use them, not that other company!!! You’ll save $$$!!!

Six weeks till Mussel Man! I swear I’m going to start training...right after my 12 hours work days and my attempt to maintain a “normal” life!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lots going on

and no time to blog.

First - I finally got my promotion. Woo Hoo and double WOOT!!! But now you know why the "no time to blog".

Second - Ironman FL 70.3 is on Sunday (Bib 1681, Wave 15, 7:03 start). Yep, Sunday, as in 3 days and a wake-up. And if you think my training has picked up from the pure laziness since October the answer would be a resounding NO. And the weather...upper 80's and sunny. This is going to be a SUFFER FEST!

I did run 2 1/2 - 3 hours two weeks ago - the run was fine but it was unseasonal HOT and HUMID. My body tends to shut down in those conditions (like I said, SUFFER FEST). Then on Sunday I rode 40 plus miles. The first 25 miles my eyes were swollen shut from the pollen. I took a Benadryl at the rest stop and was in a coma for the final 15. Literally, I put my elbows on my aero pads and closed my eyes whenever the road was straight. Just a little dangerous!

This past weekend Penny was in the shop. Instead of running I went on a hike with Dude. If you want to know the truth, I was kind of hoping that I would get injured so I wouldn't have to race this Sunday. No such luck - still healthy, still racing.

Racing, now that's a funny word.

I will compete. I will do my best. But I have no goals except -
Don't stop swimming, pedaling, or putting one foot in front of the other for 70.3 miles!