Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Week and A Day

later and I finally have time to announce that YES - I - DID!

I'm signed up for Ironman Arizona! It sold out in less then 40 minutes (further proof that Arizona is better then Cozumel - 24 hours later, Cozumel is still taking registrations!).

I immediately went into full Ironman training by skipping 90% of the training.

I swear, this week I'll do ~60% of the training.

But next week...it's ALL ON!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday 13 - Why Ironman Arizona is better than Ironman Cozumel

The team race next year is (stupid) Cozumel. There are a rogue number of us doing Arizona and there is an on-going battle on why people should do one race over another. Here’s my 13 in support of Arizona.

1. Arizona is wetsuit legal – salt water does not have near the buoyancy to make up for no wetsuit! And drinking salt water = bad.

2. Desert climate so NO humidity in Arizona – the weather should be quite pleasant! Cozumel – hot, humid, sticky!

3. Desert climate so NO bugs in Arizona! Ask Damon Taaffe for his race report and picture of his mosquito devoured back from Cozumel, then remember that he is fast and probably finished a good three + hours before “normal” people do!

4. Far less chance of getting Montezuma’s revenge in Arizona. Imagine, training for 9 months to a year, getting to Cozumel a couple days early and spending the day before (or worse, day of) on the toilet.

5. Race Support Issue One – I’ve vacationed in Mexico, 3 times (oh, and BTW, got Montezuma’s revenge each time, including the trip to Cozumel) and the Mexican people are very…I can’t think of a way to put it without sounding racist (and I swear, I am not racist!!!). I just don’t see how people in a beach resort/vacation area (whether it’s Mexico, Jamaica, Aruba, etc.) can change their sense of immediacy, their response time, their way of life for even one day to support you through the race (as volunteers or as officials).

6. Race Support Issue Two – again, I refer to Damon’s race report. They ran out of liquids, salty products (in a humid environment), – by the time HE GOT THERE! Again, he is fast! Special Needs was OFF the course, and not manned or even really marked so you could find it. The expo had no race gear – trust me, you will forget something and you will want an expo with TRIATHLON stuff – not Mexican art and trinkets.

7. Logistics – trust me, travelling with a bike is a pain in the a$$, refer to this post! As of this year, none of the bike transport companies are sponsored by IM Cozumel. Add that the mechanical support to put your bike back together will be limited in Cozumel (according to Damon’s report).

8. Special needs in Cozumel are actually called Special Food Stations – and it explicitly states “The Special Foods Station is for nutritional purposes ONLY, and ONLY food items will be allowed in the bag” So much for change of clothes, rain gear, lights, etc., all things that you just might want during the race.

9. The Tempe/Scottsdale/Phoenix area is actually quite nice for your support team and there are some incredible spas if they want a resort atmosphere. Add that they can eat/drink ANYTHING they want without fear of the toilet = WIN!

10. THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!! You’ll still be in that post-race calorie burning mode – eat up! Or, you’ll be 3 days pre-race and watching every morsel of food you are putting in your body. Hmm, I’ll take two pieces of pumpkin pie please!

11. It’s not a team race…so what. My first Ironman was not a team race and in a different country and it was still fabulous. We had maybe 9 supporters (7 that I met during the run portion) and I still felt the love! There is at a minimum 10 people racing IM-AZ that will be bringing supporters – you WILL feel the Team Z support! You will still train with the team since their race is the following week. Plus…

12. You can always go to Cozumel with your Finisher’s medal, WATCH, GLOAT, and enjoy copious amounts of margaritas as you cheer your friends on (that’s my plan!).

13. You Are An Ironman sounds so much better than Usted Es (Spanish word es, not my name) Un Ironman!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 Race Report

Alternate Title 1 – What happens when a relay turns into an Ironman (screw you WTC, I’m using the term Ironman, it’s easier to type then Iron-Distance or Ultra-Triathlon)
Alternate Title 2 – Hey Rocky, Watch me pull an Ironman out of my hat!
Alternate Title 3 – Seriously, don’t try this!

Package Pick-up/Back Story
Many months ago I signed up to ride the 112 miles in an Iron-distance race. Well, I had a feeling that my swimmer was not going to show since I hadn’t heard from her since June and she never replied to any email that CH or I sent. So I packed my wetsuit, just in case. While at packet pick-up I finally heard from her, and sure enough, she wasn’t going to show.

OK – I’ll swim (I mean, the swim profile says it’s with current, how bad can 2.4 miles be??), bike, and CH will run.

CH and I start texting and I notice signs that she doesn’t want to run. She has been plagued with injuries so after some back and forth I tell her it’s OK if she doesn’t want to come down.

OK – I’ll swim, bike, and call it a day.

I went to the pre-brief and started thinking, I wonder if I could do the whole thing. I called Iron-Jason to see if he thought I could pull an Ironman out of my A$$ and he said go for it, what’s the worst that can happen.

I go back and forth in my brain and decide WTF, I’ll be a ROCKSTAR for trying, and a ROCKSTAR SUPERHERO if I finish.

I went and picked up the run portion of the packet, changed from relay to individual, and bought all kinds of gear and nutrition required for the race.

I got a decent night sleep, at least until 3 A.M, then the nerves kicked in. Alarm went off around 4 A.M., ate something and headed to the start.

Got all situated and found the Team Z-er’s that were going to swim. We put on our wetsuits and got on the bus to the start. It seemed like a very long drive for a 2.4 mile swim, then we got to stand in the cold waiting for the start. As we walked to the water (and the nerves were in high gear) I realized not only was I going to attempt an Ironman, I was about to get the crap beat out of me for about 15 minutes with the swim start. AWESOME! They corralled us up and blew an air horn, and the fun begins!

Swim 2.4 Miles – 1:30 in water, official time: 1:32:46 (includes run to timer)
Once again, I had an “easy” Ironman experience. I wasn’t hit, punched, swam over, nothing. I found my space and just tried to get comfortable. At first my goggles were leaking and they were driving me nuts. I finally got them situated and got into a groove. I did stop (way too often) to find the next buoy, but I still managed to stay in the groove. 2.4 miles is a very long way but I was never in pain (surprising since I only swam about 10 times, once being on Tuesday). The current wasn’t as strong as I was hoping and the water was very choppy but I’m pretty darn happy with my time.

T1 – 12:03
My first experience with a changing tent. Got out of my wetsuit and into my bike gear (it’s just as hard to get spandex on in a tent as out in the open). But I did take some time to really dry off, get some lube on, and to make sure I had everything. Grabbed Penny and headed out.

Bike 112M – Bike computer ride time 6:36 - Official Time (includes stops) 6:47:58 -
Mind-numbingly boring! Me no-likey 112 mile loops. Including the volunteers (who were awesome and I thanked whenever I remembered) there were less than 100 people out there cheering. Add the F-ING headwind for the first 80 miles and I was not a happy camper. Hydration was not an issue - I stopped at every porta-potty except at special needs (but stopped 10 minutes up the road at a mini-mart) and at the last stop.
For the first 30 miles I was convinced I would finish the race.
Miles ~31-60 I thought I’ll just stop at the half-way point on the run.
Miles ~61-75 – F-This, I’m stopping after the bike and drinking beer (I got screwed up on my nutrition for a bit and this was my bonking/crying in the porta-potty phase).
Got back on my nutrition track and started doing math, and for the rest of the ride I thought “Wow, at this pace I have plenty of time to finish this race”.

Oh, and notice the PR on the bike?! BOO-YA! (OK, it's 100% due to the lack of hills (mountains) compared to Switzerland).

T2 – 10:42
Absolutely thrilled to get off of Penny and I may have asked bike catcher to “throw that b!tch away”. Got changed, asked the volunteer to talk me out of heading out. She told me I was awesome for even trying so I headed out to the run. Another stop at a porta-potty (stupid hydration) and off I went.

Run 26.2 (or Not)- Time: ~3:00 (obviously not)
I s-l-o-w-l-y jogged out of transition and down the road until I rounded the corner to get on the overpass. I stepped on something that was jabbing into my foot so I took a moment to figure out what it was. Hmm, a nail, good thing I checked! I basically walked any incline and “ran” the rest. I had to stop at every other porta-potty, so maybe I’ll wear a diaper for my next Ironman. The crowd support was great through downtown Wilmington, but aside from that there was barely anyone out cheering. The sun set around mile 7 and it started getting chilly. By now, it felt like I was getting stabbed in my lower back with each step (car accident in the beginning of October) so between the pain, cold, and lack of crowd (oh, and the fact that I was only partially trained for the bike portion) I decided I was calling it a day at the ½ marathon point.

Overall: DNF I circled the cone at the turn around to ensure I did the whole ½ marathon and headed to the side of the finish area to turn in my chip and immediately burst into tears. I’ve only DNF’d one race (and I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, bronchitis, and strep throat). I stopped and tried to talk myself into finishing at least 10 times before I got to where I could hand someone my chip. I gave my chip to a volunteer and said take this before I hurt myself. Went to the team tent, grabbed a steak and ate it caveman style. I soon realized I was exhausted so I caught a ride with Marie back to the hotel.

The following days
Quite honestly, I’ve been beating myself up. I still had 5 hours until the cut-off – I could have finished. Two days later there was no pain, which in my head means I should have pushed myself and finished.

But I’m putting this behind me and getting back on marathon training this weekend.

Oh, and signing up for Ironman Arizona on Monday – this one I will train for!

Friday, November 12, 2010

You know it's important if I blog by phone: I am doing Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 race tomorrow. Will fill you in on the back story and the results soon!