Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sometimes I think something is really wrong with me...

I’m really not sure why I bother saying I am “never” going back to Galveston.  Everyone who knows me well knows that I can’t stay away from anything I haven’t been successful at. 

For all you loyal blog followers out there, you know I have two DNF’s in Galveston (one at the Oly distance and the other at the 70.3 distance).  For those who are new to the blog, I passed out during my first Oly and was pulled off the bike course at mile 50 of the 70.3 after suffering two flat tires and not being able to make up the time.  In 2011, I went back to Galveston and successfully completed the Oly (woo hoo)!  At that time, I had declared I was done with Galveston. 

So here we are, November 2012 and I’ve officially signed up for Ironman 70.3 Texas which will take place on April 7, 2013.  Once again, this race is 6 weeks before IMTX and so a perfect training opportunity.  I had considered going to Boerne in March to do the Tall Texan instead but after weighing the pros & cons, I decided I needed to go back to Galveston so I could finish a 70.3 down there. 

I have to admit, I’m pretty excited to be signed up for this race.  I feel so much of the same excitement that I did in late 2010 as I was preparing for my first IMTX.  Only now, I have the benefit of experience and more confidence than I had back then.  I am so ready for this training to kick in!

I’m feeling very good post-OilMan too.  I was definitely sore the day after with a little lingering soreness Tuesday but felt awesome by Wednesday.  The only thing I noticed was that I got the yucky skin I seem to get after long races.  I don’t really break out so you can imagine my disgust when I noticed 3 pimples a few days post race.  Ugh.  I’m not a teenager anymore…go away!

I’m still so excited about OilMan. :)  Anything can happen on race day and I was blessed with great weather, great coaching, great support and great execution.  Yay yay yay!

Monday, November 5, 2012

OilMan 2012 - YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

Oh.  My.  Gosh!  Yesterday could not have gone better.  I am so happy with what I was able to accomplish and am still kind of in shock that I did it.  

The morning started out great!  Yay for daylight savings time and getting a bonus hour of sleep.  Luke stayed the night with me so Saturday night, we went to dinner (Keith & Hannah too).  We had some yummy pasta and then packed the car up so we could be ready to go bright & early. 

Before we knew it, the swim start was minutes away.  I was in wave 2 and Dorina was in wave 7. We headed over to the start area, got in the lake for a minute and then lined up.  The gun went off and at 7:04am, I was in the water.  If I've said it once, I've said it a million times.  I am not a strong swimmer.  I do my very best but it is what it is.  The highlight of my swim yesterday was the number of times a large man swam right over me.  I also got hit in the face (by a man), kicked (by a man), and held down (by a man).  Sense a trend?  While I love having an earlier wave, it does suck when you have the men behind you.  I was very proud of the fact that I did not freak out, I did not panic and I just kept on swimming.  All in all, I was 30 seconds slower than last year (give or take) but was perfectly fine with that.  The first year I did this was I don't know how on Earth I swam it in 44+ minutes.  That was a miracle. 

My wave starting the swim.  Go ladies 35 and older!!
I'm happy to report that I was able to improve my T1 time.  Last year I was 5:01 in transition and this year, I was 3:49.  Woo hoo!  Not too shabby.  

Glad to be on my bike!
The bike.  Oh my Lord.  I had a good bike.  To offer some comparison, my first year my bike time was 3:54:07.  Last year, I biked in 3:44:04.  This year?  This year I am happy to report I biked in 3:15:58 giving me a nearly 29 minute PR! O.  M.  G.  I have to admit, the conditions were awesome on the bike and we couldn't have asked for a nicer day.  Keith & I have spent a lot of time on the back part of the OilMan course and I think it really paid off for both of us.  How did he do?  Well, last year his bike time was 3:19:02 and this year he went 3:12:38.  I am SO proud of him!!!!!  Needless to say, we were both happy with how we did on the bike.  And I was especially pumped that I wasn't too much slower than him.  :)  A couple that trains together has bike PR's together!!!!!

I was also very happy with my improvement in T2.  Last year I was 3:18 and this year I got out of there in 1:49.  All the racing I did this year at the sprints really helped me improve my transition times.  Woo hoo!!!

On to the run.  Oh yes.  This is where I've struggled on my previous half ironman races.  Last year I was 2:49:40 and my first year I was 2:45:08.  I'm happy to say I was more than 1 minute per mile faster than last year and finished in 2:33:40 (good for a 16 minute improvement over last year).  All week, I spent time visualizing the entire race but especially the run.  I planned to take the first loop easy and settle into my running legs. If I felt good, I would pick up the pace on the second loop and then really try to push the final loop.  It was funny because when I was finishing the bike, I was doing some math in my head and I kept thinking my overall time would be close to 7hr which still would've been a big PR but not what I wanted.  For a split second, I was like, "well, I guess it doesn't matter what I do". I could've slapped myself.  This is what I tend to do in races...think I can't hit my goal and throw in the towel.  I didn't do that yesterday.  I told myself that I was still on the bike and it was not time to think about the run yet.  Anyway, as I started my final loop on the run, I did the math and knew that I would be under 7hrs and that there was a good chance I would be somewhere in the 6:40 neighborhood IF I kept doing what I was doing.  

As I turned on to the final stretch of the run, I looked at my watch and knew I was going to have a big PR.  I approached the spot where Keith, Hannah & Dorina had been spectating. I glanced at my watch, looked at them and did a little fist pump.  I then put my hand over my mouth because I knew I was about to cry.  The race wasn't over though and it was time to finish strong.  As I approached the finish line, I looked at the clock and saw 6:52:54 and knew that I started 4 min after the clock start so backed that time out.  I threw my arms in the air (which didn't last long b/c I was T I R E D) and screamed "YES". I quickly burst into tears of joy.  My official time was 6:48:54....good for a 43 minute half ironman PR.  

Trying not to cry.  Love that Hannah captured this!
Wow.  What a day.  I really worked hard all year and while I slowly showed improvement, I wasn't getting my "big" moment.  This race was a long time coming.  I have been blessed with an unbelievable support system.  My family is awesome and goes to as many races as possible.  Keith of course is wonderful and is always so encouraging.  We've become awesome training partners on the bike and are both looking forward to getting even stronger.  Keith's girls also show me awesome support with text messages or FB posts.  Hannah though is the real trooper.  I don't know any nearly 16 year old girl who would spend most of her Sunday at a boring race but she did it and she cheers for not only the folks she knows, but everyone out there.  Hannah is an awesome cheerleader and we're so happy to have her out there.  I was also lucky yesterday b/c I knew so many people racing and volunteering.  On every loop I would see someone I knew at just the perfect moment.  Lori & Melissa were volunteering towards the end of the run loop and they gave awesome words of encouragement on every loop.  I can't name everyone but I will say that everyone I saw helped make my day!  Last (but certainly not least) I have to thank my coach, Ana Lemus who is amazing.  She raced as part of a relay yesterday....the first place female relay of course.  She had a blazing fast bike time which is AWESOME!  Ana is a great coach.  She has helped get me here and has been a huge support.  I'm so grateful I met her and am coached by her!!!!  Oh, and I can't forget Chase Banks who has me on a nutrition plan that has helped me drop 23 of the 30 pounds I've lost.  I feel amazing!!!!!!

There are a few things I have to work on of course.  My nutrition yesterday didn't work as it should've and I had a lot of bloating.  We suspect I didn't take in enough water on the bike so I'm going to be sure to correct that issue.  I want to improve my swim and I have to figure out what makes sense there.  Don't worry, I'm not picking apart my race!  I'm just making notes of ways I can continue to improve. 

I'm off today and am so glad I am.  Mama is sore!  And that's good because that means I left it all on the course yesterday!  Now, time to enjoy the accomplishment and turn my focus to Turks & Caicos.  Yee haw!

OilMan -- Will 3rd time be a charm???

Written the day before the race. :)
Ok, so the title of this blog implies that my other OilMan races may not have been successful which is not what I mean to imply at all!

November 2010 was my first half ironman and I'm so proud of that race.  I executed everything as planned.  I had a really solid swim, ok bike and ok run.  When I finished, I felt fantastic (minus the cuts & bruises from tripping on the run course).  I had an awesome experience and was so very proud of my finish.

November 2011, I went into this race feeling like a PR had to happen.  I mean, I was more experienced now and I had done IMTX.  My swim was slower and not that great, I had a bike PR and my run was slower.  I was a few minutes behind my 2010 time and when I crossed the finish, was very disappointed I didn't PR.  Not to make excuses or anything, but a lot went on last summer and as I look back now, it's pretty clear my head wasn't 100% into it.  Hindsight is 20/20 and following IMTX, I think a longer break from racing is that my body really needed/wanted.

Here we are...November 2012.  I'm going into this race very well trained.  Dare I say I'm better trained this year than I have been the past two years?  Yes, I dare!  I'm better trained.  I've done the work on myself as well.  This morning, I am 5 pounds BELOW the target weight Chase set for me (to hit next week).  I am 23 pounds below where I was when I started with Chase and 30 pounds below where I was in July of this year.  What does all this mean?  It means I have a lot less of me to drag around on that run course!!!  All joking aside, I feel fantastic and I've got some confidence back that seemed to be slipping away ever since IMTX.

There are no guarantees a PR is waiting for me tomorrow.  As I mentioned before, there are only a set number of things I can control on race day.  How I execute is the most important.  Who knows what Mother Nature will deal us tomorrow.  Who knows what might happen from a mechanical standpoint.  What I do know is I have visualized this race repeatedly and I've thought about what I'm going to do during each leg.  I have a plan and I have a backup plan.  I've thought about what I will tell myself when I want to slow down and walk.  I've thought about what I'll repeat to myself over and over during the swim.  I've thought about the profanities I'll surely mutter on the bike course as we're faced with the inevitable head wind right as we hit the hilliest part.  Yep, I would say I'm set to execute better than I have in a long, long time.

I am so very excited for tomorrow regardless of the outcome.  It's going to be a great day.  IMTX becomes more real after tomorrow.  I will have a short "break" from training the rest of November & December (all this means is that I won't have as long of workouts in the pool and on the bike but I will be getting ready for the Houston Half Marathon in January).  I will also be starting the maintenance part of my weight loss efforts.  My body is going to have a nice little rest before hitting it hard for  IMTX 2013.

Happy November!!!!

Getting ready for my swim warm up.  

I think I would still feel like a stuffed sausage even if I lost 50 more pounds!!!