2019 Illinois Half Marathon Race Recap

I wish I had written this as soon as I got home, since now a couple of weeks have gone by and it isn’t as fresh in my mind, but I still remember most of the important race details 🙂

Friday afternoon JMR and I drove the 3 hours to Champaign, IL, went straight to packet pickup and then checked into our hotel around 4p.  His parents had made the trip to watch us race and it also was his dad’s birthday, so we meet up to take them out to dinner to celebrate at Biaggi’s that evening.  The food was pretty good, but the sizes were huge, however I don’t think JMR was complaining as he is a big fan of carb loading with a lot of pasta pre-race!  We also chatted at dinner about a few places his parents could easily get to on the course to see him, so this was going to be much more fun for them to see him race than in Chicago which was just so big that they only were able to see JMR and I at the finish.  The weather was looking to be good, high 40’s/50’s and overcast.  I was ready to race!  We were in bed early around 9p, and after some typical tossing and turning, we were up at 5a ready to go.

We got to the start line around 6a, plenty of time to hit up the porta potty’s multiple times, and I also met up with the Endurance Company for a pre-race photo, as there were about 8 of us racing.  As 7a approached, JMR and headed towards the start and while getting into our corral we saw his parents and chatted with them for a bit.  And then, we were off!  I approached this race a bit differently than the Go! Half and decided to go out more conservatively the first few miles, at closer to a 7:45 pace and then after getting settled in, I would bring it down to 7:40’s…. and then if I have more in the tank, speed it up at the end (negative splits always sound good pre-race, lol).  That way I would still PR, just not maybe as big of one if I went for 7:40’s the whole race.  I was ok with playing it safe rather than having a blow up again like Go!. So, I stuck with that plan, the first four mile splits were 7:42, 7:43, 7:37 and 7:44 and then decided I needed to start pushing the pace, miles 5 and 6 were both 7:38 and then I kind of freaked out, my legs felt heavy, I was worried if I pushed anymore I would crash and burn by mile ten.

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Still early on, feeling in control of my 7:45ish mile splits.

My next splits reflected that all the way until mile 11: 7:46, 7:45, 7:47, 7:57 and 8:00 (I really started to lose my mind miles 10 and 11).  Then I flipped my watch over and realized I would need to haul ass if I even wanted to come close to PR’ing.  Suddenly I was able to get my legs to turn over faster and pick up the pace, mile 12 got a little faster at 7:53 and then mile 13 it was on, with a 7:36 split, and then I ran the last .25 miles (my watch at .15 off) at a 7:08 pace.  Crossing the finish at 1:42:29, a 1 minute 28 second PR.

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Determined to PR!

Clearly, I had more in the bank, I was just too scared to try to tap into it and instead let my head take over during the back half of the race.  BUT I did PR, I mean that was the goal, so I was happy about that, but miles 10 and 11 still sting a little when I go back and see the splits.  So many if’s, but with Go! so fresh in my mind, I just wouldn’t – couldn’t- let myself cross another finish line in that bad of a shape.  I also knew I had Chattanooga 70.3 three weeks later and there was no way in hell I was going to give up another six days being stupid sore.  So… I raced what I felt was smart and worth the risk at the time.  I’m making peace with that and moving on 🙂  There will be other races to try to chase running sub 7:40’s and some day break 1:40, which was the original goal at Go!

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Really lost it on mile 10 and 11, at least 13 had redemption!  Overall splits look better though than Go! as far as being consistent and not blowing up.

Ok.. now on to JMR’s race, holy sh*t.  When I finally got my phone from gear check, I could see he was having a great race, and at mile 20 he was on track to run a 3:13:xx.  WOAH.  His PR was 3:24:38 at St. Jude in December 2017.  He was on track to go sub 3:20 at that race, but either due to a last-minute change or poor communication, he wasn’t planning on drinking Nuun on the course, and was expecting a drink that had more calories in it, so by mile 18 he was feeling it and then proceeded to crash and burn until the end.  This time Illinois stuck with what they posted they were serving on the course: Gatorade Endurance, the weather was cooler, the course was flatter, so JMR had more going his way this race.  Shortly after getting my gear bag and checking JMR’s status, I found JMR’s parents in the bleachers (you finish in the stadium and the spectators can watch from the bleachers), and we both tracked him as the miles ticked by.  He was having a GREAT race.  I was getting goosebumps as he hit mile 24, closer now on track for a 3:15 but still keeping a good pace.  Holy cow!  Then after what felt like ten years, we saw him run through the stadium, crossing the finish line at 3:15:56… and we were all screaming!!  I couldn’t believe it.  An 8 minute PR!!  I was soo happy that his training had paid off and he had a great race, he was so bummed after Memphis I just didn’t want him to walk away defeated again, when he had worked so hard.

We all gave him hugs as he recapped his race, and I think he looked a little pleasantly surprised with his time too.  He knew he could run those paces, but for everything to come together on race day sometimes almost feels like magic.

After the race we headed back home (I drove!) and celebrated with pizza on the couch.  Then the next day it was back to business as usual for me, with an easy recovery ride and MY LEGS FELT GREAT!   I was ready to rock the last week of big training before Chattanooga 70.3 and also bask in my mini PR.  Also, side note: so…. I really think my 2018 Go! Half 1:43:57 was a fake PR.  My Garmin shows I crossed the finish line at exactly 13.1…. whereas this year I crossed the line at 13.25 (different course, but it made me question how great I really was at tangents), and then at Illinois I also crossed the finish line with 13.25 on my Garmin.  So… I think the Go! 2018 Course was a little short (there was one part where we ran over a median and there were cones, so I think everyone cut the course by accident) and I am happy to report that I now have a new LEGIT PR 🙂

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2019 Training Updates

Hello and Happy Thursday!  It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog as I’ve been struggling with what content I want to update it with. I thought about doing weekly training updates again for Ironman Chattanooga, but meh, I’m just not feeling it these days.  So I think this year I’m just going to stick with posting race recaps and some other noteable events as the season progresses.

So to catch you up, this winter I did the Frostbite short series again and had some good races compared to last years times, which was pretty encouraging that I hadn’t taken the off-season too easy 🙂  I also had a HUGE PR at the St. Patrick’s 5 mile run in March, with a time of 35:33, a PR by 2 minutes (!), which was really suprised me.  In fact, I guess I went in with not many expectations except to at least match my time from last year!

That got my head spinning with the Go! Half as my next race and wondering what I was capable of, maybe more than just a tiny PR from the Go! Half last year.  So race day I went in with a pretty lofty goal, not knowing that the course was *much* hillier than last year and also not really factoring in that the starting temperature was 30 degrees warmer than last year….well you can probably guess how it went.  Not well.

I would do a race recap, but I have this wonderful ability to block out pain and discomfort after the fact, and since more than half of the race I was in some serious quad pain, I don’t remember much of it.  Except that I clearly remember how sad I was as each mile got slower and slower after mile 7.  I could see the train wreck in slow motion, but my legs just didn’t care and kept feeling worse and worse.  Here are my splits which might narrate it better.  I would display an elevation chart to show how hilly it was, but that feature was broken on my Garmin (I just got a replacement yesterday!! yay!!)

I mean, it is still was my second fastest Half-Marathon, but I was really hoping to do much better.  HOWEVER.  Holy legs.  My legs were sore for six days.  Finally by Saturday they were coming around.  I don’t think my legs have even been that sore post IM.  Those hills tore them up and perhaps I went out too hard.  Now looking at the splits, 5 of the miles were faster than then planned 7:40 pace, and those were early in so…. even with the hills and warmer temps, I didn’t set myself up for a great second half of the race.  I am going with a better pacing strategy for Illinois, I might even go 5 or so seconds slower the first few miles just to settle in and then hold the planned pace and see if I have anything extra at the end to make up the slower first few miles.  I do have two things on my side that I didn’t have at Go!… a FLAT course and cooler temps, in the 40’s, which may include rain and a little wind, but that’s still better than 60+ degrees and hillllls (I don’t actually mind hills, but since I’m gunning for a certain time, hills ain’t gonna help with that!)!  My strategy might work, or it might not be my day, but I am excited to race again and then cheer JMR on while he does the marathon. He has trained his ass off for this training cycle so I really hope he has a great day and his hard work shows with a PR.

And then…. three weeks after the Illinois Half-Marathon I have Chattanooga 70.3!  So I am going to do a much better job on recovery after this half so my legs can get back to business as soon as possible after the race.  I will not have a repeat of SIX DAYS of sore quards. I’m bringing a recovery drink to put in my checked gear bag, forcing myself to roll right after we get home and taking hot baths with Epsom salt each night until legs are feeling good.  Oh and yoga, lotsa yoga.

I’m actually kind of nervous about Chattanooga because I’m going to the race solo since JMR is racing a half-marathon in Quincy, IL that weekend.  I’ve traveled to other 70.3’s solo, but not six hours away and not races this big.   But I am also excited to just get out and race and get a preview of what I will be racing come September when I do IM Chattanooga.  I’m sure I will have more thoughts on how I’m feeling and expectations when I get closer to the race, but for now, I’m in Half-Marathon race mode!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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2019 Plans and a very late IMLOU Race Report

I am still alive…  it’s been way too long since my last post.  In fact I’ve had my IMLOU race report done for a few months, but I kept wanting to add pictures JMR took, and then I would make edits…and just never hit ‘publish’.  So I’m finally doing that today (better late than never I guess), and also posting what I have planned for 2019.

So without further ado, my 2018 IMLOU Race Report

Ok, now onto 2019!   I have decided on most of my races for 2019 and it does include another IM, but not IMLOU.  At first I thought I wanted to go back for redemption since 2018’s race really didn’t go as planned, but then I decided I wanted to race a new course and thought I would give IM Chattanooga a shot.  It meets my criteria of a a mid to late season race, a hilly bike (yay, hills!) and it’s within a reasonable driving distance.  Driving distance being a big one, as I found flying to St. George with all of my gear to be extremely stressful and $$$.  I am also doing a couple of half marathons and a few 70.3s (2 being within a couple of hours driving distance and are smaller, inexpensive races so it was more like ‘why not?’), so I have a pretty busy race schedule!  I might add in a few more races, but for now, here’s the plan:

3/16: Saint Patrick’s Day 5 Mile Race

4/9: Go! Saint Louis Half Marathon

4/27: Illinois Half Marathon

5/19: IM Chattanooga 70.3

6/15: Pioneer 70.3

7/27: Route 66 70.3

9/29: Ironman Chattanooga

Training is already underway for the season, and I’m in the middle of  a self-imposed swim block.  My triathlon team has monthly challenges, and February’s challenge is to swim a minimum of 24 miles this month, which actually isn’t too bad if you swim at least 3x a week, however I was sick for almost 7 days at the beginning of February and missed a ton of training.  Soo… I found myself playing ‘catch-up’ starting last week and am on my eighth day of swimming in a row.  Go me! My arms are pretty sore, but I am determined to get in the 24 miles.  🙂

Other than being itchy from so many showers (at least 2 a day) and smelling like a pool, training has been pretty uneventful.  I’m looking foward to running in the St. Patrick’s Day 5 mile race in a few weeks since last year I had a PR and I am hoping to do just as well if not maybe a little better.

Non training related, our new addition to the family last September, Penelope, is doing great!  I think she finally has potty training figured out, and she is a lot less shy/anxious (she still has her moments, but is so much better).  We are still working through her crying at 3, 4, 5a some mornings…ugghh… but it’s getting better.  I think she just isn’t a fan of her crate.  We originally had a blanket around it to make it nice and cozy, but since she eats all things fabric, we had to take it off.  Oh yes, one small detail, she has a fabric eating problem.  Mainly socks, but she isn’t picky.  Towels, blankets, toys, rugs…she’s on it and eating it.  We have been really lucky in that she has either thrown up whatever she ate, or it has naturally passed through her.  However we are now super careful to not leave anything out she could eat, so her crate doesn’t have any blankets in it for her to snuggle on.  Hopefully she will outgrow it, but it doesn’t look like anytime soon!  Patrick seems to do well around her, although we can tell he is kind of ‘over’ her after she wants to play for more than five minutes.  He also does not like to share toys, or Jimmy’s lap, so when we are hanging out watching tv at night, it can be a little more aggravating than relaxing as we are constantly having to take toys away or having to Jimmy share who sits on his lap, lol.

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Our first Christmas card!  It was a little challenging getting both dogs to look at the camera….

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Clearly they were up to something before I caught them…

Ok, well that’s about it for now.  Happy Friday!!

 

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Iroman Louisville Race Report – Swim & Bike

Pre-Race

The Swim

With the dock start, the Louisville swim is already less chaotic than most swim starts, but because of the changed start of the swim they were only having us jump off one dock, so the swim was anything but congested.  I was confused by the buoys though, I saw a red one to the right, and started to swim towards it, but before I knew it, it looked like a boat was towing it away because it was moving away from me and the other swimmers around me very quickly.  Hmm. Ok.  Well, I’ll just keep swimming.  I noticed the other yellow buoys to the right kept getting what I thought was pulled from the course also, because as soon as I got close to them, they were gone.  The current was that strong and it had me super confused!  Finally, after what didn’t feel very long, because it wasn’t, I saw the final red buoy down far and a little to the left, and kayakers around me were shouting ‘Go Left! Go Left’ and I just kept thinking, we have a while, why are they telling us to cut in so early?  However within probably a few seconds I realized how fast we were going and how quickly we were approaching the buoys.  I had to swim HARD to cut to the left and just made it inside the red buoy.  Yikes.  From there we were sheltered a bit from the current and were able to reach the stairs and have the volunteers grab our arms/hands and help pull us out.  Phew!  When I looked at my watch I laughed, seeing 15:xx.  The number meant nothing to me because it was a shortered swim and heavily current assisted one at that!  Oh well, I survived the swim, now on to the bike! Side Note: we were supposed to go around the very first red buoy but because of the current I don’t think many, if any, age groupers made it around, as the pros even struggled to get around it before the current kept pulling them away.  It turns out that the swim was kind of a cluster in general, between most missing the first red buoys, but even more, a lot missing the last red buoys (not cutting in time) and getting swept past the exit, so they had a NET catching people.  I didn’t witness anyone getting help from the net, but there were definitely people that needed it!

Swim Time: 15:58

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My coach’s wife was a photo ninja!  Action shot of running to the transition tent.

Once out of the water I ran over to the wetsuit strippers to get my wetsuit stripped, and then jogged into the women’s change tent.  It was CROWDED.  I was kind of bummed because I thought I was early enough in the swim to beat the congestion in the change tent but because most everyone had a time between 15-17 minutes, it got congested fast.  I found an empty chair and dumped out my bag.  While putting on my tri top a volunteer helped arrange my gear so I could put it on faster.  Next, I put on the ‘vest’, then my 3/4 top, arm warmers, socks, shoes (I skipped the toe warmers thinking it was overkill, I was wrong), and both pairs of bike gloves (skipped the latex gloves in between also thinking that was overkill, but I stuffed them in my bike shorts just in case…so glad I did).  Off I ran to my bike while fussing with my arm warmers that had fallen down (why I didn’t put them on UNDER my 3/4 top is beyond me. Lesson learned), and finally I was off!

T1: 10:24

The Bike

Headed out for 112 miles of wet, wet and more wet.  Oh and cold.

Off on the bike I went and boy was I wet! I was assessing how I was doing while also being excited that I was on the bike- the part I had been working really hard on, the part I rode pretty darn fast during my training ride several months earlier.  As long as I didn’t have any crazy mechanicals, things should be good and PR was within a very reasonable reach.  On I rode, feeling ok, passing more people than those who passed me, and distracting myself by seeing everyone’s wardrobe choice.  There were a few people in just tri kits and I was shocked, were they freezing?!  I hit the first aid station at around an hour, due to my concern about whether my gloves would have trouble gripping the bottles (ugggh nothing new on race day…I know), so even though I didn’t need water, I grabbed a bottle to test it out to see how the rest of the ride would go.  It went well! Hooray!  On I rode happy that things were looking good.  Next during a flat stretch I grabbed my Infinit on my downtube to take a drink but my gloves, which were really stretchy and maybe a tad too big, wrapped around the nozzle so I couldn’t move the bottle around in my hand to drink without possibly dropping it.  I put it back in the holder and tried again, but the same darn thing happened.  These stupid F’ing gloves.  I should have stuck with the cheap $3 stretchy ones that were more fitted.  Grr.  Eventually after the third try I dropped the bottle and it went rolling across the road.  Since that was my nutrition for three hours, I pulled over, ran across the road to retrieve the bottle, and got back on my bike.  Sigh.  On I went.  Then about 90 minutes into the ride, when I was hitting some of the downhills I started to feel the cold.  I started to get really cold and began shivering.  I also realized that while I could grab the brakes, my hands were so cold and stiff I couldn’t shift gears very easily, oh boy.  After more shivering and my panic increasing about the shifting, the first round of tears happened.  I was wet, freezing, couldn’t drink my nutrition, couldn’t shift well…. AND it was less than 30 miles into the ride.  Mofo. ‘This is not what I signed up for!’ I thought (ok, so, no one had), and my brain went wild… the phrase ‘It’s about the journey, not the destination’, came into my head and I thought, ‘ok, so what if I drop from the race? I had a great journey!  I am fit which I am thrilled about, I just won’t get to test it today because I should drop out because this is miserable and also kind dangerous due to the inability to use my hands’.  On the thoughts went.

I finally got to the second aid station and pulled over right away.  Two thoughts went through my head: 1. Fix my gear 2. Decide if I should call Jimmy to let him know I was dropping and also call my parents to tell them to turn around (they were in transit to get to Louisville to see me race. Yes, turn around on the highway.  I was serious.).  I spent for forever trying to get my arm warmers up and under my aero top to keep them in place for the rest of the ride (lesson learned, UNDER not OVER).  Next I pulled out my latex gloves stuffed in the back of my shorts hoping that they would help solve my cold hand problem (I had no other options anyways). It took two people to help me get them on my hands/fingers because they were that frozen and useless.  Such a weird feeling and SO frustrating.  I wanted to cry while they were helping because if I couldn’t even put gloves on, what business did I have being out on a course with over a thousand other riders?  I was scared but decided I wouldn’t make any phone calls just yet, and I would just focus on getting to the next aid station and assess from there.  Once the gloves were on, I took in some nutrition and I headed back out.  I felt like I was stopped for at least 30 minutes but checking my Gramin after the race it was only 15.

After getting settled in, around 15 minutes later I tried again to drink from my infinit bottle, and was able to grip it without my glove getting caught on the nozzle (yay!), BUT I COUDLN’T SQUEEZE THE BOTTLE.  URGHAHGH.  Stupid frozen/numb hands. I was pissed.  During that 15ish mile stretch to the next aid station, my thoughts went from ‘just get to the next aid station’, to being really sad that I had trained so hard to throw time away at aid stations fussing with gear and riding slowly to attempt to drink from my water bottle.  I also managed to drop my chain on a steep hill (I haven’t dropped my chain in forever, I think my frozen hands were the cause) and had to get off my bike, walk it over to the other side where there was a shoulder I could stand on, and very slowly figure out how to get it back on with non-functioning hands.  After what felt like forever, I slowly and sadly walked up the hill and there was no way I was making it up with zero mometum.

I finally made it to the next aid station and decided liquid nutrition just wasn’t going to happen since I couldn’t wait every 15 or so miles to take in nutrition (and at that I could only, barely, squeeze it when I was stopped), and that I needed to start taking in the gels from the aid stations.  I was only carrying 4 and only had 2 extra at special needs, I knew I would need to load up on whatever gels the course had, so  I ate one gel, stuffed two in my bento box and guzzled more of my infinit.  I also had to pee sooo badly, but with my hands useless, I’m pretty sure even if I got my shorts pulled down in the porta potty, they weren’t coming back up.  So I casually just peed while standing there with my bike.  Except, it was anything but casual.  It was like someone squeezed my bladder and pee went EVERYWHERE.  Not casually running down my leg with all of the rain as I had envisioned. No.  It was like a sprinkler was in my shorts.  Ohmyword I was hoping no one could see, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a young volunteer looking at me with his eyes WIDE OPEN and in shock.  OHNO.  I decided I should sit down and pretend to fuss with my shoes to keep the spraying out of sight.  Once my very full bladder was empty, I got up and hopped back on the bike.  That poor volunteer.

I was still freezing but now I had a game plan which lifted my spirits a little.  1. I would just eat the random gels that I hadn’t trained with and had no idea how my stomach would handle them, 2. Just focus on getting to the next aid station.  Soon I had finished the first loop and was feeling pretty good. The rain had slowed down a little AND I had managed to pee on my bike, in a much less obvious way than had occurred earlier at the aid station, lol.  However once I turned to the part of the course with the downhills, where I had gotten really cold the first time, I got cold again.  The same crazy thoughts went through my head, the tears happened again, and I just focused on the goal of making it to the next aid station.  When I rode by, I waved to the lady who had helped me with my gloves and yelled ‘Thank you for helping me with my gloves, you saved my race!’ and pulled into special needs.  The volunteer was amazing (they all were) and helped open my gel, swap water bottles with Infinit (which I hardly drank but I figured I might as well take it in case I could take some sips at aid stations) and even gave me the suggestion of putting the toe warmers in my sport bra, as other girls who had them did the same.  Now that was a great idea!  I left special needs in really good spirits.  When I pulled out, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got this’.

With the goal of just making it to the next aid station, I focused on the 15 or so miles ahead of me, and also made sure to get in a low gear at the bottom of the steep hill to ensure I wouldn’t drop my chain again, and I didn’t, so hooray for that.  Soon I was back at the next aid station, grabbing a gel and not stopping, at this point I wanted to keep up the momentum and try to not lose any more time to stopping (if I could help it).  More peeing on the bike, more gels, more watts (yeah!) and I finally was finally headed back to town with less than 20 miles to go.  And I felt strong, and my legs were still feeling great (probably because I soft pedaled so many miles in the beginning of the ride, oh well).  On I pushed, getting my watts up and a little higher than the planned watts and ready to get back to T2.  As I rode on river road I focused on avoiding the potholes, taking in my last gel, and just being excited that I was actually going to finish the bike.  I REALLY had some dark thoughts during at least the first half of the bike and was happy to have been able to pull out of them.  Also, as I looked at my watch, I was still going to have a bike PR!  A very mini one at that, but hey, it’s a PR! 🙂

Bike: 6:41:27

I’m pretty sure the only thing going on in my head was ‘I survived, holy crap I survived!’

I pulled into transition and saw my parents and JMR!  I waved and waddled into transition, so happy to have survived that nightmare.  The change tent was a little less chaotic than after the swim and I was able to get a volunteer all to myself who was so wonderful and dried off my feet and put my socks on (my hands were still useless at this point).  I pulled off my arm warmers, aero top and trashbag vest, grabbed dry armwarmers, dry gloves, my hat and baggie with gels and other stuff and was off!

T2: 10:00

The Run

 

 

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Iroman Louisville Race Report – Run

IMLOU Swim and Bike

I am happy to be alive and onto the run!

As I ran out of the chute in transition onto the run course, I immediately saw my coach and he asked how I was feeling while he ran alongside me.  I had no idea what to say… I couldn’t feel my fingers, the bike was a nightmare (I am still slightly traumatized by how scary it was), my nutrition was a huge mess because I couldn’t drink… and I chose the least important one and said ‘I can’t use my hands!’, he assured me they would warm up and to just relax and settle into my pace.  So that is what I did.  One mile at a time.

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I stopped around mile 4 to pee, I tried peeing while running but it wasn’t happening, so I ducked into a porta potty as quickly as I could (I was on a mission with a goal marathon time since my swim and bike kind of went out the window).  I would out after a minute and was back on the course, running around high 8’s/ mid 9’s.  I had one more bathroom stop (due to a very angry stomach, which I wasn’t surprised about since I had eaten all kinds of weird gel flavors on the bike), around mile 10 but was in and out in under 2 minutes – remember, I was on a mission!  Except for the bathroom breaks, after the first mile I was able to pretty quickly get in a zone, just focusing on each mile, taking gels and salt when planned and getting water at each aid station.

As I was heading back towards the finish line to complete my first loop, I saw my teammate Mike, who I hadn’t seen all day and was starting to worry about, but he waved and looked in good spirits which was such a relief.  Right before the turn around I saw my parents and JMR and waved and shouted to them (no high fives or hugs this year, I was using almost all of my energy to just focus on the run and stay on pace) and hit the turn around in a little over 2 hours, which I was thrilled about, on track for a run PR!

Almost half-way done.

I headed back out, feeling good but was starting to feel a little tired.  I saw my parents and JMR again, and waved but shouted at JMR to run with me.  I needed someone to talk to or just be with to get outside of my head.  However when he finally came over and jogged next to me, I didn’t know what to say.  I kind of wanted to cry, but wasn’t sure why and just said ‘this is hard!’.  After running with him for a minute or so I realized I just needed to focus and get the remaining 13 miles done.  I think I was hoping running with him would give me some magical boost, but sadly I realized I would have to find it from within if one even existed at this point.  So I parted ways and put my head down, just focusing on moving forward.

 

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Head down and focused.  Right before I called JMR over.

I had done a good job taking my gels at the planned times during the first half of the run, but now my stomach was sloshy and gels sounded like a horrible idea.  I decided to switch to just water and coke, and I managed to always drink just a bit too much at each aid station, causing my stomach to slosh for the next .5 miles, then it sort of settled, then I would hit the next aid station and it would happen all over again.  Nothing unusual for me though, that always seemed to happen (I think I need to to learn to reign in my thirst and not chug) but maybe the cold weather =  not sweating as much, wasn’t helping.

Right around the turn around on the back of the course (mile 19ish?) the sun had set and it was getting pretty dark out.  Ugh.  I find running in the dark in general to not be fun, but to do it at the end of an Ironman with not a lot of people around you is really not fun.  There were hardly any spectators and it was mostly just the sound of feet shuffling.  So as I had been doing for the run, I just took it mile by mile.  With 3 miles to go, I thought ‘dear lord, still three miles?!’  It seemed so far.  Still I kept moving forward and with 1.5 miles to go, I felt the energy coming back. I was going to finish.  I looked at my watch to confirm, and I was pretty sure I was close to a marathon PR.  So I kept pushing.  Then I heard the sounds of the crowd as I turned the corner to make a left and then a right, where I would head down the finish chute.  It was so close I could taste it.  I also wanted that marathon PR, one piece of redemption from the day.  So I hauled ass once I hit that red carpet (and made sure I wasn’t ruining someone’s finisher photo, if I was going to place in my AG that would have a been a different story).  I heard my name, I did it.

Run Time: 4:10:16

Total Time: 11:27:55

imlou_finish

Blurry action shot!

I was wisked away by a wonderful volunteer, where I got my medal and finisher photo (yep, still a deer in headlights, I think it’s inevitable in my finisher photos).   I saw my coach and his wife and talked to them for a couple of minutes, and then met up with JMR and my parents for hugs.  It was weird though, I didn’t have the same feeling of accomplishing something crazy like I did when I finished my first IM.  I also didn’t have the feeling of ‘hell yeah’ when I PR’d on the tough IMWI course.  I just felt happy and relieved that I got through all of the hurdles the day gave me and finished in one piece, and a little like ‘what just happened?’.  We headed back to the hotel so I could shower and change while my dad and JMR kindly went to pick up my bike and transition bags.  Once I was clean and they made it back to the hotel, we grabbed a quick dinner at the restaurant at our hotel and called it a night.  I had debated going back out to watch the final finishers, but I was still so cold and couldn’t will myself to get back out in the cold again.

imlou_finishjmr

When I went to bed, I was already feeling like I wanted redemption.  I thought maybe I was frustrated that my total time didn’t mean much to me because the swim had been cut short.  Then I thought maybe if I had just HTFU’d on the bike and pushed harder I would have felt better about the race…but going back to how I felt at that time, I was doing the best I could to just keep moving forward.  I had PR’d on the run, so that gave me a little satisfaction, but that didn’t completely smooth over the burn I felt from all of those mornings in the pool and all of those hard sessions on the bike.  But I kept coming back to the same thought, at least I finished.  So if anything, I had this race in my toolkit to use in the future, learning what mental toughness I have when the going gets tough.  Yeah that sounds cheesy, but it helped me sleep that night, lol.

The next morning I was up fairly early and decided to head over to the Ironman Merchandise tent just to check out the finisher gear.  Well, we all know how that went. I bought 2 t-shirts and a long sleeved top.  I felt like I had just survived a traumatic event (the bike for me 100% was) and wanted a reminder of that!  After giving away too much money to IM, I met my coach, his wife and my teammate Mike for breakfast where we recapped the events of the day and talked about 2019 goals.

IMLOU…will I be back for redemption in 2019?

I have a lot of goals for 2019, but I’ll save that for another post!

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Ironman Louisville 2018 Race Report – Pre-Race

We arrived in Louisville Thursday evening so we could sleep in Friday morning and then head to packet pick up, rather than getting up super early Friday morning to travel and feel rushed all day.  So Friday morning I headed to packet pickup around 10a, attended the Athlete briefing at 11, grabbed lunch and then headed back to the hotel.  Then I got my bike ready and also starting planning what the heck I was going to wear on the bike on Sunday.  The weather forecast looked pretty certain that it was going to be COLD and WET, so I had to finally accept the conditions and figure out a game plan.  I don’t usually ride in cold/wet weather because I have Raynaud’s, a circulation issue in my hands and feet, that once they are cold they turn white, go numb and have trouble warming up.  So to say I was slightly stressed about riding in the predicted conditions was an understatement.  I knew I needed to keep my core warm and had brought a rain jacket, however it was already slightly baggy when I purchased it several years ago, and since I have lost a considerable amount of weight this year it was anything but aero.  After doing some research on slowttwitch.com, I decided to make more own ‘trash bag’ vest to wear over my tri top and under my ¾ sleeved aero top to keep my torso dry and warm.  JMR just looked at me like I was a crazy person while constructing it and said more than once, ‘I will buy you a jacket!’.  Once that was complete I did a dress rehearsal, minus tri shorts. Tri top, ‘vest’, aero top, arm warmers, fingerless bike gloves, latex gloves (a tip I got from my local bike shop when I went to buy the second pair of full gloves) and second pair of bike gloves with fingers.

Serious business figuring out gear!

I was also going to wear wool socks, toe covers on my bike shoes and toe warmers.  I planned on packing an extra set of toe warmers in bike special needs just to be extra safe as well.  Ok, I was set.  The rest of the weekend flew by and was pretty uneventful other than experiencing waves of anxiety about race day temps.  On Saturday I did the practice swim and the current was very strong, which I was happy about since that would mean a fast swim.  What I didn’t realize that too fast might have been a bad thing.

It was coooold!  I swam in a swimsuit so my wetsuit would be dry and warm race day morning.

After the swim I took a long HOT shower, packed my T1 and T2 gear bags, and headed to grab lunch.  After lunch I headed to transition to drop off my bike and gear bags, and then met up with my coach and another Eco teammate to catch up and discuss race day strategies given the conditions.  Meeting with them helped calm my pre-race nerves/anxiety a bit, but I still had that surreal feeling of ‘Oh sh*t, the race I’ve been training for since January is TOMORROW’.  No pressure or anything.  We had an early dinner and I was asleep by 10p and surprisingly slept like a rock.

Race Morning

I was up at 4:30a to eat my banana with almond butter, cup of applesauce and ½ Bobo’s Almond Oat Bar.  I didn’t have much of an appetite as usual but forced it down.  Around 5:30a I gathered my Special Needs bags and my bike pump and we headed to transition.  It was raining.  And cold.  Not horribly cold, but not warm.  Setting up transition was pretty uneventful and soon we headed to the swim start area.  The start setup was so much better than in 2014 when I raced, where the swim start line was first come, first serve and if you weren’t there early (some people got in line at 4:30a), you had to walk at least a mile to get to the end of the line.  This year they had you line up by predicted finish time, so I got in the 1:10-1:20 line.  And we waited, and waited.  I put my wetsuit on and waited some more.  And then I started to feel really cold, probably the rushing to transition and then to the start was keeping me warm and now just standing wasn’t helping.  Soon the swim start time of 7:35a came and went and everyone was starting to get antsy wondering why the delay.  Then it was announced that due to the current being too strong, the swim was going to be shortened to .9 miles downstream.  Oh ok.  JMR asked me if I was going to cry to which I said ‘No, in fact I wish they would just cancel it so we don’t have to start the bike wet!” (I was pretty darn cold at that point).  After more waiting, and lots of slow walking towards the docks, I finally plunged into the water at 9:02a

IM #3, let’s do this!  Hooray for my new wetsuit that I wore for 15 minutes!

The Swim

 

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2018: Training Weeks 30 – 32

Happy Tuesday!  I am waaaay behind on my training updates (I realize no one writes or reads blogs much anymore, but I like posting them for me, as a semi-journal) and have re-written this post several times since what I kept posting was outdated as the week(s) rolled by!  The past three weeks have been kind of weird training weeks, week 30 was an easy week because I was racing a 70.3 that Saturday, week 31 was a recovery week, and 32 was supposed to be business as usual but my hip/glute had other plans and I had to move around/skip a few workouts.  It’s doing better this week…after getting a bike re-fit, seeing a sports med dr, going to my chiro and tomorrow starting PT…so fingers crossed it will be ok for IMLOU…it better be, because I have exhausted my list of all possible resources! 😉  Ok, on to the past three weeks of training!

Week 30: 7/23-7/29

Monday – Easy 1200y swim at lunch

Tuesday – Hip/glute has been feeling tight and cranky so I skipped the planned speedwork and did yoga at lunch

Wednesday – 1600y swim in the am, followed by an hour trainer ride after work

Thursday – Easy 4 mile run, hip/glute did ok, but felt a little iffy by the last mile or so.  Fingers crossed it holds up on Saturday!

Friday – Rest day/Travel to Springfield, IL for race.  Or so I thought.  I brought my bike upstairs to get it ready to load in the car around 3p and decided to check my tires.  I’m glad I did, there were small gashes in the both the front and back tires!  I’m not sure if I had been riding around with the gashes for months, or if I got them from my last ride in Hannibal, MO (yes, my last ride outside had been in June).  Regardless, I hauled ass to my bike shop and got new tires.  Phew.  Lesson learned, don’t check tires right before leaving for a race, check them EARLIER!

After meeting my family for dinner, I headed to Springfield, IL.  I arrived a little before 9p, got settled in and then realized I possibly had some food poisoning from the burger I had for dinner, and proceeded to get sick and lose my entire dinner – and I’ll leave it at that.  I was glad I packed some extra food since I pretty much lost all of my dinner with that incident, and after ‘refueling’ I felt better and my stomach seemed ok.  After that drama, I finally fell asleep around 11p.

Saturday – Route 66 Half Iron Triathlon!  Race Recap Coming 🙂

Sunday –  An hour of not great yoga that afternoon.  I won’t be going back to that class, I was not a fan of the teacher, he wasn’t easy to understand as far as poses and his music was just straight up horrible.  I swear he was just playing some random rap top 40 list.  Such an odd odd choice for yoga.  I wasn’t feelin’ it.

Total Training Hours: 10:06

 

Week 31: 7/30-8/5

Monday – Easy 1375y swim in the am, followed by an hour of yoga after work

Tuesday – Easy 3 mile run at lunch

Wednesday – Easy 1 hour ride after work

Thursday – Tempo run after work, 1 mi warmup, 3 at marathon pace, 1 mile cooldown.  Hip/glute was getting cranky by the last 2 miles.  Lots of stretching and rolling that night

Friday – 2650y swim in the am

Saturday – Easy 2 hour ride on the trainer in the morning

Sunday – 1 hour easy run, followed by the missed strength session I was supposed to do on Thursday.

Total Training Hours: 8:00

 

Week 32: 8/6-8/12

Monday – Yoga at lunch and a 3000y swim after work

Tuesday – Speedwork at lunch, 8×200 and 8×400, followed by an hour easy on the trainer after work.  Hip/glute was definitley cranky again by the end.  Lots of stretching and rolling after.

Wednesday – BIG (for me) swim, 4100y in the morning, followed by a massage due to the cranky hip/glute. My coach told me to skip the planned trainer ride after work and take an epsom salt bath instead. The bath pillow JMR got me for my birthday has been getting a lot of use lately!

Thursday – Did my missed trainer ride from Wednesday in the am, and attempted an easy run after work, but made it a whopping 2 miles before I had to pull the plug and limp home.  Cue panicking with the race so close.

Friday – 3725y swim in the am.  I hope my arms are getting ripped from all of this pool time.

Saturday – 4 hour ride.  At the suggestion of my coach, because of my hip/glute issues, I had a bike fit that morning. Boy am I glad I did because he made several adjustments that made a pretty big difference.  I won’t get into all of the details but I was probably very overdue for a fit, and maybe/possibly getting fitted earlier could have prevented some of the pain/issues I was currently having, but I also have some muscle weaknesses, primarily glutes, that are finally causing issues that I need to address.  After the fit I was planning on doing my ride, however by the time I was done it was already 90+ degrees, so I said screw it and went to yoga instead.  I also knew I could ride on Sunday since the long run wasn’t happening.

Sunday – 12 mile run Got up early and got my ride done! 4ish hours/74 miles and it felt good!  Later that afternoon I aqua-jogged for 20 minutes in my parents pool.  Take that 12 mile run!  I’ll show you and do something not even close to the same intensity and for a fraction of the time!  I still felt like I accomplished a little something though in the run department, lol.

Total Training Hours: 13:49

The plan this week is to do some aqua jogging and then possibly run on Sunday and see how my hip/glute tolerates it.  The sports med dr also prescribed steroids (prednisone) which should help with the inflammation and swelling, so maybe by Sunday it will be doing better – fingers crossed!  Thank goodness I can still ride!  I will be headed to Louisville Friday night to ride the course Saturday morning, which I am looking forward to since there have been some changes since I last rode it at IMLOU in 2014. On that note, I have quite the fun week planned so far: aquajogging, course recon and PT!!

Ok, that’s about it for now!

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