Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ahhhh, it's all coming back to me now..

You know doing an Ironman is kind of like having a baby. You do this thing, it is the hardest thing you have ever done, you swear you will never do it again. Then over the years you have selective memory about the training, the race itself and you start to think "Now that wasn't so bad". Today, as I started my bike ride in what felt like 20 degrees, the wind blowing, legs hurting from yesterday-I remembered the pain. Oh yea-this is what training for Ironman feels like. And I am only 5 official weeks into it! Oh well, the deed is done, there is no backing out now. I did finish my 3 and 1/2 hr. bike ride in my Max Aerobic HR zone for the most part. It was mighty slow going out there with the wind only at our backs half the time, the rest of the ride felt like I was in a tornado. I came this close to getting hit by a car. This older man in his old beat up sedan that reminded me of my grandparents car 35 years ago was turning left. I had the right of way and I guess he didn't think me and my bike were such an obstacle because just as I crossed the street, he turned and stopped right before hitting me. I really, really, really wanted to flip him off but in that split second I decided to take the high road and just yelled-really loud-"what the hell?" Oh well, just goes to show you that you ALWAYS have to assume they are going to turn left in front of you. Now I know this but for some silly reason, I thought this car would know the rules. Nooooo-always assume they are going to not see you-Rule #1. I came away unscathed thank goodness-my angels were watching over me I guess..

I am wiped out! The laundry continues to pile up, the dishes are not done and I have somehow convinced myself that Ironman training is a job and I deserve to chill the rest of the afternoon.

The best news-I got my new bike!!! It is in it's shipping box, waiting to be put together, which will be done on Monday. Tuesday I am off to Denver for a few days. I get to meet my coach Luis in Boulder sometime next week for a bike fitting. I can't wait! Maybe Tramway will be easier on my new bike (dream, dream, dream-I feel a song coming on)..

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Texas, Transitions, Time difference, Too Much Fun!

I should have known it would be a good race when we arrived at the hotel in Alpine, Texas yesterday without ANY speeding tickets! I have gotten tickets twice in Texas on the way to different races, H got one last time we went to this race so this is a miracle-we saw at least a dozen cop cars along the border and thank goodness we had our radar detector this time. We arrived at the hotel around 6:00 PM last night. I realized sometime this week that not only were we going to lose an hour of sleep because of Texas time change but also, Daylight Savings Time started last nite. So there we were eating our pre-race meal around 8:00, race day time. We always prepare our meal the day before (or rather H prepares our meal). Having pasta in a home cooked meal serves 2 purposes: 1. We don't get food poisoning or any weird stomach issues at race time 2. We usually eat really early in our room then go to bed around 9:00. Well, here we were eating late and then attempted to go to sleep at 10:00, which was about 8:00 our time. That was a challenge.

I woke up at 6:00 AM anyhow feeling fresh as a daisy after 3 cups of coffee and my routine bagel, cream cheese and Gatorade. Can anyone say anal here? Well, I know we all have our pre- race routines-what is yours? Staying at a hotel that is across the street from the race site helps. The Sully Sprint Triathlon is small, intimate atmosphere where timing chips or splits are not in the cards so far,-you are on your own to get your splits. It is held at Sull Ross college campus, which is really pretty and HILLY! As we unloaded our car (I know, we actually drove there), we saw some familiar faces and some young college fast loooking people. Very relaxed. Right away, H saw he had a flat tire. Since I am the queen of tire changing since my record dozen or so flats last year, including one in a race, and it wasn't my tire, I quickly changed his tire. Two things I can do fast in a race-change a flat and usually transitions (more about that later-practicing helps).

After my usually 6 times to the bathroom because of nerves, coffee, etc., the pre-race meeting, we were off! Did I mention the COLD? Texas 40s sure feels colder than NM 40 degrees! Somehow I guessed all the right clothes. The 5k run was around the campus-did I mention it was HILLY? They even added some hills from last year-how nice of them! I didn't start out very fast, but my heart was racing like crazy! I almost felt like hyperventilating but as the first mile went on, I calmed down and got into some kind of up and down the hills rhythm. See, I have a method. I go really slow up the hills, then haul ass down them. It all evens out in the end, right?
Run time: 30:09 (that is 9.73/min miles to be exact).

So then there was T-1. I have the coolest new thing ever! It is a Louis Garneau race helmet like the real racers have, with our team logo on it "NM Outlaws". I look FAST in it and it is really the most comfortable helmet I have ever owned. I wonder if I would be a dork if I trained in it, it is so comfortable. BUT-I had these funky mittens on, they quickly came off but I still could not for the life of me buckle the damn helmet. It seemed like it took forever! Then the bike shoes would not Velcro. (Note to self-practicing transitions really does help) Whatever, I just took off with my bike shoes half on and forgot my gloves-my hands were sure cold after that..The bike was a series of rollers, 15 miles of them. The weather forecast called for 10 MPH wind but I should have known I was in Texas, where the wind blows pretty much all the time so I got to fight the "gusts up to 19 MPH" during the bike with the sun directly in my eyes for the first half. I decided this race to try eating more, even though it was just a sprint. I ate a goo right before the race and two goos during the bike. I felt great on the bike so maybe that, along with my super fast helmet paid off.
Bike time: 52 min (17+ MPH ave.).

T-2.: Another lesson in slow transitions I must say. It is so hard to start pulling clothes off when your legs feel like jelly and it is cold outside! I did manage to get everything off, well except my bathing suit-I even remembered my goggles. I fully expected to feel the warmth of the pool when I jumped in but the water in the pool was downright HOT! It felt like a jacuzzi-I am not kidding-many commented about it later. I was tired by now but somehow I convinced myself that this woman that was 50 yds behind me was gaining on me and was in my AG (neither was true). SO I started swimming as fast as my little arms would take me and at the last lap, guess who I ran into? My beloved husband, who had stayed about 2 min. in front of my the whole race. Now here I had 2 voices in my head. One said "OK, let H win this one, just once. He is doing SO good! A good wifey would let him win. What is a couple of seconds for me?" The other voice said "HELL NO! This is a race damn it and he wouldn't not pass you! Besides that woman in your AG is gonna beat you!.". The bitch voice won out-all is fair in love and war, right? So I passed my husband with 30 yds to go! At first he wouldn't move over to let me pass! But then as I passed him, he cussed at me or something-whatever...He'll get me back-he promised later!
Swim time I think was around 6:30 for 360 meters. I got my run split and bike but have to kind of guess on the swim by my overall time.

Seven hours is long way to travel for one day, for one little race, BUT when you and your husband both end up with 1st place medals, it is worth it! AND the best part is the ice cream cone I treated myself with on the way home-it was like heaven. I am now exhausted. I realized after that race why I like distance racing so much. I hate that run-as-fast-as you can mentality. I'll stick with my Mark Allen, stay within your max aerobic zone, do an Ironman, any day. It, by the way made me faster anyway in a sprint. Final time: 1:33. One min. longer than last year BUT 3 extra miles on the bike and hillier and longer (.1 miles) run course this year!