Wednesday, August 4, 2010

at long last....

... I am back. I came, I saw, I conquered...and I plan to do it again. What transpired over the weekend of my race was seemingly life changing... it showed me what I could achieve, if I put my mind to it... and it surpassed my wildest expectations of myself.

We began the journey on Wednesday night, caravaning behind Randi and her wonderful parents. The decision was to stop for the night in Santa Clarita so we could get a good night sleep and choke down the pre-race boost of sodium and glutamine. (GROSS!!) A little splenda couldn't even mask the taste... or even worse - the smell. But we did it - in the name of victory - and we laughed about it later. Between that and the gallons of water, we were a bloated, hot mess... not to mention stopping to pee more often than any of us would have liked. Fueling with healthy snacks and water, we were determined to keep up our healthy eating and water drinking... all in the name of the race.
Thursday we finished the drive and went for what was supposed to be a 30 minute ride. Since we ladies always have to overachieve, the ride turned into 11+ miles... (though at a very pedestrian pace) and followed up with a one mile run. Dinner was protein and carb loaded at IHOP...where the service was less than stellar. Jax and family went to bed and Jas and I spent some time with Randi, loving on her OCD Type A tendencies and organizational nature. (Which, might I add... I learned so much from her...really!!)
Friday morning we stuffed ourselves with omelettes from "For Play Cafe" and headed to the Russian River... the nerves were intense during the drive... I seriously thought that I was going to puke from anxiety... We got to the river and Jax and I walked around in nervous silence... knowing what was to lie ahead the following day... Then it happened... the TCSD people started pouring onto the beach... we were HOME again... the nerves disappeared and we enjoyed a nice swim with the tri clubbers and then went on rent a couple of canoes. The nerves stayed away until we arrived at Windsor High School. I realized I only had my expired USAT card and my phone would not load the page fast enough to show the people checking us in... so I sucked it up and purchased the $10 day pass. The most exciting feeling in the world came when the volunteer placed the wristband on me, and I walked into the room to pick up my packet.
Jax, Kara, and I were all on the same rack in T2, so we set up together, marking the spot with hot pink tape (thanks, Randi!!) -- a long course talk later and more walking (and my misplacing...and thankfully FINDING my phone) -- we were off to Applebee's for some pre-race fuel (and of course more water and salt!!) The booth we were sitting at was surrounded by pictures of previous Vineman races... ahh... the nerves. Jax and I created our pre-race playlist, discussed final thoughts, and headed back to the hotel to prep (and sleep!!)
Saturday morning, I was awoken by Jax jumping on me, proclaiming "Today, it will be DONE!!" I'll admit it, I was nervous. Packed everything into the cars... double triple checked everything... and we were off. Arriving at the beach, I was in awe... all the men around me were IRONMEN or aquabikers... and the women were either there to do the full, Barb's race, the relays, or the aquabike. Everyone there was amazing... simply for showing up. Transition set up, we watched some of the swim start to Vineman... it always amazes me how many people give up within the first few hundred feet of the swim start... all that training... to just... end the race... barring anything catastrophic, I suppose...
I don't think I've ever been so nervous before a race. Either it was nerves or the sheer terror of the 70.3 miles that was in front of me, waiting to be divided and conquered... Jax and I did a little RU-style warm up and into the water for our quick warm up we went... funny thing, too... they didn't count down, they didn't warn us... just BEEEEP of the airhorn...and we were off...

The Swim:

I am not a fast swimmer... I am a strong swimmer... and I kept swallowing the water... thankfully, it wasn't salty... I felt so slowwwww going up, and when I glanced at my time at the turnaround, I was at 24 minutes... thankfully, it only took me 16 getting back... swim time: 40:55

Can I jut say - I LOVED THE WETSUIT STRIPPERS!! I wish they had them at every race!! Though I somehow managed to burn nearly 4 minutes in transition... probably mostly the slow commute I had from my rack to the hill.

The Bike:

Can I just say... I LOVED THIS COURSE!! However - in spite of the huge USAT rules talk we were given, I only saw ONE marshall, AND had a girl tailing me for about 15 miles... I kept asking her to get off my butt, and then I'd speed up... but we basically played cat and mouse for a long time. (She went on to have a stellar run -- gee, maybe had you not saved your legs drafting me.... HAHA) But I loved the course... In retrospect, I probably could have pushed a bit harder on the bike... but that might have royally messed my run up even worse than it already was. The course breezed by... chalk hill came and went... and finally... the descent and flats into the high school. (Bike time: 3:09)

Now, we had been told that there was grass in t2... well, as we had found out the previous day, there was not. However, around mile 47, the spigot to my water bottle system popped off and started to spray infinit... when I hung my bike up on the rack, it unleashed a waterfall of hydration... I had to pee... so what the hell, as I was putting on my shoes... took care of business... afterall, there was no way for ANYONE to know what I was doing at the time... rinsed off with a bottle of water and was off.

The run:

Started off around a 9:05/mile... which is decently fast for me... kept this up for maybe 4 miles... and the heat got me. The water and gatorade completely unsettled my stomach and it was a chore to choke down the Roctane... I even had to walk for a few... just to settle my stomach... begged, pleaded, argued with my legs to keep going... and they did!! On that hot, sticky, 100% humid course, I managed to pull out a 2:19... faster than I had run San Dieguito on fresh legs the year before... ok, not my crowning achievement and the most stellar performance... but I did it... I ran that hot, hilly half marathon and I finished...

6:17:45... and I was done. Jax was waiting at the finish line to give me my medal... we embraced and shared a cry... after a cool shower, I felt semi-human again.

Amazing day. Amazing Race. Randi and Jax killed it out there. (As did Val, Brian, Peter, the rest of the tcsd crew) We all exceeded our expectations. We did it. We came, we saw... and we CONQUERED.

... Then I got home and signed up for round 2. I think 70.3 is a great distance for me. I think that since I'm a slower, stockier athlete, I have a better chance at doing well with the long, slow distance than I do with the sprints. However... my goals right now:

Sub 2 hour - Vegas half marathon (december)
kill last year's time and possibly top 15 or 20 -- mission bay sprint (october)
work on speed
ride a century
train with less time and less flexibility than before
watch and encourage jax on her podium journey
get faster
get stronger
lean up/tone up

Count down to New Orleans April 17, 2011.

Thank you to all of you who have supported, loved, and encouraged me through this journey. Thank you for putting up with my lows and my highs... for being there, for giving me advice and comforting words... for keeping me positive... for not discouraging me in this journey... for being my friends... my family... my partners in crime, my sisters/brothers in suffering... for allowing me to pursue this craziness.

And here's to what's to come!!

Special thanks to my training partners... you all know who you are. Thank you for everything. I love you all more than words can express... you are an extension of my family and hold a special place in my heart.... For inspiring me, and pushing me to run when I didn't want to run... bike when my legs felt like lead... and swim when my arms did not want to move. To my family for being there, for loving me even when I was gone a lot... for supporting me even when it wasn't easy... for the endless encouragement. I love you.

And a special thanks to Bryan Hill, of, and Catalyst Endurance Training... for the coaching, the support, the friendship, and the tools to help me achieve.

So I accomplished this... all the self doubt... all the fears... everything that I experienced... lead to one thing: a phenomenal accomplishment. When i first started this process, my only wish - to finish the race in less than 8 hours. 8 hours whittled down to 7 hours... and I figured that I would do it in 6:45/6:30... I exceeded my expectations... I actually exceeded my expectations. I pushed and pushed and pushed, I did not let myself slack... I made my legs pedal when they felt like coasting... I forced my arms to swim, even though I wanted to get up and walk through the water like some of the others were... even though I was ready to give up in the head of the run... I kept going.

Something changed in me out on that course... and I will never say "I can't" again. I CAN do what I put my mind to. Now to really see what I can really do with my upcoming races and training... bring it on :)

1 comment:

  1. You are flippin' amazing woman! I live vicariously through you, I just don't have the motivation to take on triathalons. I added your blog to my blogroll :)

    I <3 you