Thursday, May 30, 2013

Back in the Saddle

This past weekend marked my return to working out.  I had nothing officially on my schedule but was going pretty much crazy by the time Sunday rolled around.  I decided I would set out on a nice little bike ride and that's exactly what I did!

Keith and I took off at about 8:30am on Sunday and it didn't take me long to realize I wasn't quite 100%.  Or 90%.  Maybe 80%.  The first 30 minutes were pretty slow for me and my legs were definitely pissed off.  After that, I started to feel loose and was getting down in aero more comfortably.  We hit 1488 and there were a few spots I got to be fast but it never lasted long.  We rode about 18 miles at an average speed of 16.7 I believe.  It felt soooo good!

Monday morning we decided to ride again so set off on the same route.  Man, what a difference a day makes.  I felt great from the beginning to the end and even had some nice spots on 1488.  The day was hotter and windier and we were faster....17.1 average.  I get to ride again this weekend...another hour or so and I can't wait. 

Wednesday was the night that I really longed for though.  Ana gave me her blessing to go on my first run since IMTX.  I didn't wear a watch, heart rate monitor, Garmin or anything.  I just headed out and ran.  I fully expected feeling tired and sluggish so started out nice and slow just to be safe.  I assumed I would need to walk at times and was just fine with that.  Much to my surprise though, I felt great!  Again, not quite 100% but pretty darn good.  I had a fair amount of tightness in my calves which I expected given it had been 11 days since my last run but nothing terrible.  I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time.  I'm confident that folks I passed thought I was on something.  And there's no telling what the cars passing me thought.  I didn't care though.  I was just thrilled to be running. 

I'm totally going to cherish the feeling I had last night because we all know the euphoria probably won't last.  I hope that the next time I'm running and it gets tough, I will remember the joy I felt last night and use that to motivate me to keep going.  I.  LOVE.  RUNNING.  

This is what I looked like the whole run.  I'm not exaggerating!

Post Ironman Life

This truly is deja vu.  Post Ironman, I find myself with a lot of free time on my hands...more than I care to have.  Trust me, I find ways to keep busy but it's not like it was before.  I admit, it's quite nice not having to rush home from work so I can get a workout in before the sun goes down.  And it's awesome to be able to sleep in until 7am on the weekend (yes, that is sleeping in for some of us).  

So how exactly have I been spending my time?  Well, I've created several spreadsheets for upcoming trips I have.  Go ahead, laugh it up fuzzball.  I love spreadsheets.  They are awesome.  They keep you organized and you can apply all sorts of fun formulas.  Stop laughing.  Seriously.  

I've busted out the scrapbooking supplies and am making every attempt to complete Cristian's Disney scrapbook.  I'm just not cut out for scrapbooking.  I get bored after about one page and just want to go outside.  I'm really hoping to make some progress this weekend as I would love to be able to give it to him before he gets married.

I went to the beach.  What an awesome and relaxing day!  Stef left Avery with Kiri so we got to just lay around and be lazy and not have to worry about a little person wanting our attention.  It was awesome.  I plan on a few more beach days this summer!

On Memorial Day, Keith smoked a brisket and we hung out at his place and made yummy food and drinks for two of his girls (and a couple of Caitlin's friends).  It was an awesome day!!  After dinner, Keith & I went for a walk where I, for the first time in years, got on a swing.  

While I'm definitely enjoying my time, I am so ready to get back to training!!!!  Hmm, that could be my next post.  ;)

Casualties of an Ironman: Part Deux

I'm happy to report that thanks to my experience at IMTX 2011, I was well prepared for IMTX 2013 and was able to make some changes that ended up saving me a lot of pain.  While I had at least 6 casualties in 2011, I'm happy to let you know that number is much lower this year!

Casualty #1 - Complexion
Truth be told, I just don't think there is anything I could've done.  Within a few days of Ironman, I noticed a breakout similar to 2011.  A series of pimples on my chin, one smack dab in the middle of my forehead and one on each temple.   I rushed to Walgreen's and bought some Clean & Clear and scrubbed the living crap out of my face.  I needed to get those pores unclogged.  I'm happy to report that today, my face is nearly back to normal.  Yes, I know "normal" is debatable and I'm sure my brother is going to have something funny to say about my face.  Suck it Kevin.

Casualty #2 - My Tan
After getting burned to a crisp in Galveston, I made darn sure to stop at the sunscreen appliers after T1 AND T2 at IMTX.  I had the slightest hit of pink in one small spot and the rest of me was tan.  While the sunscreen prevented me from burning, it sure didn't prevent me from getting the ridiculous triathlete tan lines.  I'm never going to be able to even this crap out. 

While this has faded somewhat, it's still not cute!

While this isn't only from IMTX, it sure darkened up a lot after.

This makes me laugh.  A sliver of tan between my glove line and the athlete wristband.  

The famed Garmin tan line.  
That's it!  Those were my only casualties!!  Yes!  My clothes went immediately into the washing machine and were then washed not once, not twice but THREE times.  My shoes look like new and everything smells like flowers.  I'm also happy to report that I learned to apply Glide & Vaseline much better and came away with essentially no chaffing.  Score!!  My biggest achievement though was saving my feet from the countless blisters I got two years ago.  I learned to avoid Super Soakers, hoses and sprinklers and kept my feet as dry as possible. When I poured water on my head, I made sure I stuck it out away from my body so it wouldn't trickle down my body.  I also stopped at Special Needs on the 2nd loop and put on dry 3rd pair of the day.  Thanks to all of those changes, I walked away with one, small blister.  Yay me!!!

There you have it.  I'm thinking that for my 3rd Ironman, I'll have no casualties at all...well, except for my previous time because I plan to crush it.  :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ironman Blues Arrived & Didn't Pack Lightly!

*Written on Tuesday*

Overall, I am still happy I finished and I am grateful to have a small PR.  I got to work Tuesday morning and saw the “13” on my computer that I had stared at for weeks and weeks and I got teary.  I removed it from the screen and put it in my purse…I just couldn’t throw it away.  Isn’t that kind of weird?  To me, throwing it away would mean I am giving up on my goal of a sub-14 Ironman.  I’m not sure I’m ready for that. 

After the race, I told Keith and pretty much anyone within earshot that I was done with Ironman Texas.  On the way back from getting my Finisher’s gear, I told him I was probably done with Ironman.  I think part of me felt defeated.  I found myself thinking that I’m probably just a 15hr type of gal.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that.  I just really, really, really wanted to hit my goal.  To watch it slip away mile by mile was truly heartbreaking.  I know this is just a hobby but it’s a hobby that I invest so much of myself into.  It’s a hobby that my friends & family invest so much into.  A hobby my coach invests so much time into.  I have come so far and to have a finish that wasn’t much better than my first just hurt. 

By Monday, I was talking about my next Ironman.  Maybe 3rd time will be a charm.  I’m torn though.  Do I pick a destination that will offer better temps or do I treat IMTX the way I treated Galveston and come back with a vengeance?  I really don’t know.  May in Texas is brutal and I’m lucky I finished on Saturday.  There were people far more fit than me who looked a lot worse off. 

So yeah, I drank the Kool-Aid and as Dee said, it’s strong stuff.  I’m seriously contemplating a 3rd Ironman.  I am not satisfied with a 15+ hour finish.  I want to do better. I know I can do better.  I will do better.

Poor Keith.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ironman Blues?

This time two years ago, Ironman blues were setting in.   I remember laying in bed feeling so down and having no idea why because nobody warned me.  This time around, I was prepared.  Yes, I know some of you are going to laugh at me because you already think I'm super anal but I don't care.  A few weeks before the race, I made two had home projects and the other had future races.  This morning when I woke up, I reviewed my lists when I felt the blues coming on.  See?  Sometimes being prepared is a very good thing. 

I was looking at pictures from the race again and was glad to see the run pictures my family got showed me looking a lot better than I felt.  When I saw the pictures my first thought was, "well that girls looks pretty good...why didn't she run her sub 5hr marathon".  Bad Jenny!  Maybe I looked okay but that was only because my family was there and I was smiling and happy to see them.  I remember very well how I felt that day....stir fried crap.  

I had written my predicted times for each part of the race and put them on a sticky note on the fridge.  I had to take it down yesterday because it made me sad to have the reminder that I didn't hit my goals.  The finish range I had in my head was something like 13:56 (based on my last half iron) to 14:30.   I always knew that meant I was going to need a "best case" scenario which is not what I got on Saturday.  As I've said countless times, I'm so happy that I survived this race.  I've seen the DNF rate was nearly 16% which is almost 10% higher than normal DNF rates at Ironman races.  Wow!

Immediately after the race I told Keith and most people standing around that I was done with Ironman Texas.  In fact, I told Colin & Kerry that on the run course as we were approaching mile 22 I think.  I later told Keith I thought that I may be done with Ironman completely.  As it typically goes though, I find myself rethinking those statements.  I'm definitely not done with Ironman.  I want to finish a race in under 15 hours and I KNOW I can do it.  I have absolutely, positively no doubts I can do it.  I think the question I'm asking myself is whether or not I can do it at Ironman Texas?  I want to be able to do it mainly because this is a hometown race and having my family and friends there is a HUGE boost for me.  I can't imagine doing a race outside of Texas where I may not have the support I have had here.  I don't view Ironman Texas in quite the same way I viewed Galveston 70.3 but I do view it as a race I want to conquer.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Part of me says be grateful I've survived two of them and find a race in a cooler climate.  Then the other part of me is saying that I've raced in some of the toughest conditions and survived....3rd times a charm!!!  Ugh, this sport is too addictive for my addictive personality!

I'm so glad I took today off from work.  There is no way I can go sit at a desk all day.  I plan on taking it easy today and maybe even wear some of my sweet Finisher's gear.  :)  Yeah, I'm THAT girl.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

IMTX Race Report

It's hard to believe the day has come & gone but it's true.  Today, I'm a two-time Ironman finisher.  Wow!!  The short version of my race report is that I got my PR and finished in 15:13:54.  I didn't have the day I hoped for but I finished and I didn't have to go to the medic (not yet at least).  It was an awesome day.  Now for the long version for all you race report junkies.

I was nervous.  I respect the Ironman distance and even though I've done this race before, there are no guarantees.  Never.  I tried to remain as calm as possible and was thankful to have Keith with me at the swim start.  I didn't run into too many people I knew.  Right before they were putting age groupers in the water, I did get to see Kerry Gordon who is one of my favorite nice and has an amazing wife.  :)

It was time to line up to get in the water and I ran into Lisa Jaster, a coach w/ Outrival.  This woman is an amazing athlete and she was doing her first Ironman.  She has no idea how much she helped me before the race started.  We chatted a bit and then got in the water and waited for the cannon to sound. 

At 7:10am (b/c I was in the wetsuit wave), the cannon went off and it was time to go.  The swim is not my strength by any stretch of the imagination so when they announced the water temp was within the range that it was allowable to where them but you would forego a Kona slot, it was a no brainer for me.  I am not a top age grouper and have no Kona hopes.  If wearing a wetsuit gives me a little bit of "security", I'll take it.  It still irritates me that people make negative comments about choosing to wear one.  So annoying.  It's a personal choice and if the water temp is in the allowable range and you aren't putting someone else in danger by wearing it, then wear it and ignore the folks who yap.  I've heard people say you have no business doing an Ironman if you wear a wetsuit.  Well, that's about as lame as saying you have no business doing one if you have to walk on the run. That's my rant today. 

Because there was a wetsuit wave, the start was not as terrible.  It was still rough but nowhere near as bad as two years ago.  I felt like the stretch to the first turn buoy went relatively quickly.  Swimming back to the canal felt like an eternity.  When we entered the canal, I was overjoyed because I only had 900m left to swim.  Only.  Two years ago, the canal portion handed me my was like a washing machine in there and I felt like vomitting.  Not this year.  Thank goodness!

The best part of the canal was that I heard "Jenny".  I turned to my left and saw Dorina & Kyleigh!!  Oh my gosh, this was just the boost I needed.  I was so happy to hear their cheers the entire way to the exit.  Yay!

I was out of the water in 1:53 which was good for a 6 minute PR from two years ago.  Yay!!!!

One again, Jill Gellatly was in the change tent and helped me get ready for the bike.  Yay!  She was so helpful and gave me a quick pep talk.  Thanks to Jill, I was out of there in 6:45....two minutes faster than last time.  Yay!!! This was shaping up to be a great day. 

The first 20-30 miles of the bike were pretty tough for me. I had an impossible time getting comfortable. I tried to get in aero over and over and over and just couldn't.  I was pretty stiff from the swim.  I was worried for a minute because I thought that if I spent the whole bike like that, I was going to be in for one hell of a ride.  

Thankfully I settled down and was able to get in aero and stay there easily enough once I hit 40 miles.  I was so looking forward to mile 50 because Keith and his girls were going to be there but no such luck.  They hit some traffic heading to the bike course so didn't make it there.  

The temperature was ridiculously hot yesterday. I've heard 90-95 but never checked for myself.  I knew I needed to take in more fluids and that's exactly what I did.  At every aid station I took 2 water to put in my open cage and the other to dump on my head and drink.  I could not stay cool enough.  

Passing Richards, I was headed into the hardest part of the ride for me.  Surprisingly, I felt way better than I did on training rides and made it through with little trouble.  When I turned on to 2819 to head back to 1486, I heard screaming behind me and turned to see Keith driving up with Caitlin & Hannah hanging out of the windows!  Yay, my support crew had arrived!!!  

1486 handed me my ass.  Over and over and over again.  Mile 80 is the point that I typically relax as I consider that the home stretch but not yesterday.  Mile 80 is the point where the wheels came off the bus.  I started to cramp horribly.  My ankles right up through my glutes in both legs.  The left leg started first so I tried to stretch but when I did that, the right leg would cramp.  It was terrible.  I had been taking fluids and salt tabs so I didn't know why this was happening. To make matters worse, I realized I hadn't peed at all yet.  With how much I had been taking in, I should've needed to pee at about mile 50...70 at the latest.  I'm not lying...I prayed to God that I would pee. I was really worried.  I had already been praying every 10 miles that I would make it to the next mile marker safely.  At mile 90 I finally had to pee and was so happy.  Unfortunately, the cramping would continue through the rest of the ride (and the rest of the race).

I turned back into The Woodlands and about 100 miles and shortly after, saw my support crew just past my neighborhood.  Before the cramping, I had been on track for a 6:50 ride but at this point, it was looking more like 7hrs. My legs were still cramped and I started to wonder how in the world I was going to run.  I reminded myself to stop thinking about the run...I would worry about it when I got there.  

Before I knew it, I was pulling into transition with a bike time of 7:01:33....good for a 27 minute bike PR!

I was moving slow.  As soon as I got off the bike, the heat really hit me.  Don't get me wrong, I felt it before but when you're on the bike and there are 10mph headwinds, you are kept a little cool.  I got off the bike and was immediately greeted by Jill who was waiting to help me get on the run.  Thanks to her, I was in & out in just over 8 min....two minutes faster than last year.  I'm sure you all remember the wonderful volunteer last year who got me water but then drank it b/c she was so hot.  Kathleen was also in transition and helped out when she was free. I was so lucky to have them in there!!

I had been looking forward to the run for weeks. I have been running so well and knew my Ironman would come down to a solid run...something I was more than capable of delivering.  My plan was to run to each aid station and then walk for a minute.  It became clear to me very quickly that this wasn't going to happen. The cramping was not horrible but it was coming and going.  When the cramps kicked in, it was horrible.  I was also really feeling the heat.  I knew that no matter what, I had more than enough time to finish the race.  I just needed to stay out of the med tents.  

I got into Northshore Park where most of my support crew was already waiting. What an awesome feeling to see everyone!!!  When I got on to Lake Woodlands, I saw the rest of my support crew stuck in traffic.     Shortly after, I thought I was going to pass out. I got the ringing in my ears and started to get tunnel vision.  I was close to an aid station so grabbed Perform and 3 waters.  I downed the Perform, put one cup on my head, one cup down my back and drank the other.  This was not looking good.  I walked next because I knew if I didn't, I was going down. 

I quickly realized that my plan was not going to work.  I was going to need to walk a lot more. Doing this meant there was likely no way I could hit my goal of 13 and change for my finish but at this point, I had real concerns about my ability to finish.  

I would love to say the run got easier but it didn't.  I hoped that by taking it very easy on loop 1, I would recharge a bit and be able to pick up the pace on loop 2.  Now the cramping was moving up my body and was causing my a lot of abdominal discomfort.  Great.  When these cramps hit, I had to walk...I had no choice as they were that bad.  I was really getting concerned now. Knowing I didn't pee until 90 on the bike and I hadn't had to pee again, it was clear I was dehydrating even though I was taking in far more fluids than I normally do.  I was also worried about taking in too much water and flushing out my electrolytes.  Ugh.  But sports drink didn't always sound good.  I got myself calm and let myself know that the point of this was to finish in the best shape I could.  If I needed to walk, so be it.

I ran into Tommy Behe early in the 2nd loop and had a big frown on my face.  He was so sweet to talk to me for a bit and just reassure me.  It was a tough, tough day but I was doing it.  Just do whatever I needed to do at this point.  The cramping was getting worse with every mile.  I joked with many  people and told them the only things not cramped were my wasn't much of an exaggeration.  

When I started the 3rd loop, the race clock said 13 something.  I had a moment of sadness as this was the hour I had hoped to finish.  I felt a quick tear but knew to let it go. I had one loop left.  I really thought with the sun going down, I would be blessed with more energy.  Nope.  I turned into Northshore Park one last time.  My support crew had so much energy and let me know they would see me at the finish.  After I got out of the park, I walked a lot.  I would run as far as I could...sometimes only to the next tree or the next street light.  I caught up with Kerry & Colin and walked with them a bit.  They too were having a fun day and I was so grateful to spend some time with them.  I decided to give running another shot but it wouldn't last long.  Geez.   If I couldn't get 13hrs, I really wanted at least 14!  I reminded myself again that I just needed to focus on hydrating and finishing.  

From mile 18 on I took cola and water at aid stations.  The idea of drinking any more Perform made me ill.  I tried to eat some pretzels but couldn't force myself to swallow them.  I felt like I needed to pee at every aid station so would pop into a port-a-potty but nothing.  

Before I knew it though, I was at mile 24 and only had 2 miles left to suffer through.  It was here, the end of my race.  I made the last turnaround by Landry's where John Laskowski walked with me a bit.  I was so lucky to run into awesome people I knew at just the right time.  I walked/ran as much as I could.  I hit the spot where you either start another loop or head to the finish.  All of a sudden, the biggest smile was on my face and stayed there the rest of the night I think.  My support crew was lined up along the chute and cheered me on as I ran by.  I made the uphill turn, saw the clock and knew I at least had a PR, even if it wasn't the time I wanted.  It was ok though, my smile was huge and I sprinted for the finish.  And then I heard Mike Reilly say, "Jennifer Miller, you ARE an Ironman"!!!!!

My run time was 6:03:22...a 5 minute PR from 2011.  Final time for this Ironman was 15:13:54.  

I improved my time across the board, something I'm very proud of.  No, I didn't hit my goal time...didn't come close to it.  I did do my very, very best given the conditions and that's what's important.  I never wanted to quit, not once.  There were countless times though I had very real concerns that I wouldn't be able to continue.  Left and right, I watched people being wheeled off the course with IVs in their arms. Every med tent I passed had at least one person in it being treated.  It was total carnage out there.  I was lucky to have made it through!  

I am proud to say I've completed two Ironman races (two tough ones no less). I proved yesterday that I am mentally tough and that I won't give up.  The day was so hard but I did it.  I am so, so happy!!!!!!

My support crew was AMAZING.  Thank you all for showing up yesterday. I know it was hot and miserable but your support meant the world to me.  I would have never made it without each of you.  This goes for all my support crew who followed me online too. You guys are awesome!!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jitters? What is this feeling you speak of?

A little something to help me stay motivated!

Facing your 2nd Ironman is so much different than your 1st.  Gone are the days of just wanting to finish.  You’ve been to this rodeo before and this time, you want to stay on the full 8 seconds and get the best score possible.  For me, I want to PR.  I want to have a big PR. I want my finish time to start with a 13.  I have a lot of wants as you can see. 

The stress this time around is different.  For this Ironman, I know exactly what to expect.  I know that anything can happen.  I know there are people who had horrible 2nd Ironman races.  They were just as prepared as me.  They were just as confident as me.  It didn’t matter though because the day dealt them a hand of cards they didn’t want.  The same thing can happen to me. 

I continue to be challenged by the balance of setting my expectations cautiously while still believing with all my heart that I will achieve my goal.  It’s a hard thing to do!  Can you believe in yourself while at the same time telling yourself the day may suck? 

I remind myself hourly that I can only control a few things come race day.  That’s what I need to continue to focus on.  Execution.  Race my race.  Be smart.  If I do all those things, I will have the best day possible. 

One thing I’m worried about is coming away from this race disappointed.  For my 1st Ironman, I was beyond thrilled that I finished in under 16hrs. I had no expectations for that race other than to not die.  I only wanted to cross that finish line and hear that I was an Ironman.  When I realized I was going to have a time that started with a 15, I was beyond happy.  And when I finished, I kept repeating over & over that I finished in less than 16hrs.  You would’ve thought that I won the damn race.  Do you lose the first timer’s excitement for your 2nd race?  I have to believe that in some small part you do or at the very least, it’s different.  I could finish in the 14hr range and still have a huge PR but will I be satisfied because I want that 13? 

There you go, the source of my jitters.  One thing I know for certain, as soon as I get in the water and the cannon goes off, all I’ll be thinking about is swimming and nothing else.  Then my day will start.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Race Day Attire....finally!!

How is it that I always wait until the last minute to share this very important information?  

For most of the training season, I thought I would save precious time in transition by not changing.  After talking to my coach and countless others, I decided that comfort needed to be my priority and so I will once again be changing “outfits”. 

For the swim, I will wear my awesome South Coast Endurance tri top along w/ some trusty tri shorts.  I swim in tri suits all the time and since I will more likely than not be wearing my wetsuit, I’m not too worried about drag.  Now, if the water is just way too warm to wear a wetsuit, I’ll throw on a swimsuit.  Thankfully this is my only game time decision to be made.

In T1, I will change my bottoms only and put on my South Coast bike shorts.  I’ve worn tri shorts on long rides but feel like the extra padding from the bike shorts will really keep me happy on this 112 mile journey.  I’m just hoping my support crew can spot me in this kit as it’s not quite as noticeable as the ORR kit I used to wear. 

For the run, I’m going to change into my most comfortable Lululemon shorts and a white Lulu tank and will have on a South Coast visor.  I’ll feel more like a runner and so therefore, will perform more like a runner.  Right?  The outfit is light colored so should help keep me a little cooler in this hot Texas sun.  Although with the temps where they’ll be come Saturday, I could run in a bikini and still sweat balls. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ironman Race Week....Here we go!!!!!

As hard as it is to believe, race week is here.  Race.  Week.  Is.  Here.  The emotions this time are quite a bit different than for my first Ironman.  I wouldn't say I'm feeling pressure (although I certainly do have a time goal this time around but more about that later).  I think the main difference is that this time, I know what to expect.  I know that anything can happen despite the fact that my training has been spot on.  Once again, there are only so many things I can control on race day and the key now is to let go of everything I can't control and continue to focus on the few things I can control. 

Stress.  I can definitely make a strong effort to control this.  I'll be working from home on Wednesday & Thursday of this week and am taking Friday as a vacation day.  When I work from home, I stay very busy but have the flexibility of working in my PJ's or working out at a decent time vs 4am or 9pm.  Working from home will help me stick to my nutrition plan better and will also make it easier for me to hydrate.  I won't have to wear heels which is an added bonus. 

The festivities of the week get going on Wednesday when Athlete Check-In opens.  I'll be heading over there mid-day to get my goodies so I can start preparing my gear bags early.  Thursday is the Athlete Banquet and Athlete Meeting.  Friday morning will be our practice swim in the bathwater of Lake Woodlands.  Bike/gear check also opens on Friday morning and this will be the time I bid my bike farewell...if only for a few hours.  I've made my to do lists for the week (shocker, I know) all in the hopes of keeping Friday evening as stress-free as possible.  

That's me, #1844!
I'm going to have a fabulous support crew on Saturday!  Keith is going to be out there all day long, cheering me on.  He'll be my sherpa Saturday morning as I go to transition to put my hydration/nutrition on my bike.  He'll get me over to the swim start so I don't have to walk the 1 mile there.  And of course, he'll wait with me pre-swim and help keep me calm.  After that, he'll be headed to the bike course where he'll meet up with me at miles 50, 65, 80 and 100ish to let me know how I'm doing.  Finally, he'll be out on the run course for all 3 loops before heading to the finish line.  Keith won't be alone of course.  I've got friends & family who are going to be out there for a majority of the day as well.  I can't wait to see everyone when I finally make it to the run course.  I'm so looking forward to their smiling faces!  

I didn't do too bad with the taper at first but today, I find myself irritable and frustrated.  Mentally, I remind myself constantly that I'm not losing any fitness and I'm going to be ready on Saturday.  I'm still practicing visualizing the race one piece at a time.  And as if I wasn't anal enough, I've now put to paper how I plan to break up the day.  I've heard that having tiny goals or milestones throughout the day will help.  I've broken the swim, bike & run up into 3 sections each.  Yeah, super anal.  Sections by section, I've thought about what I will face in good or bad conditions.  I've thought about how I'm going to mentally fight back if it gets bad.  At some point though, I need to just sit back and let it all be.  

Like I said, the taper wasn't so bad at first.  I really enjoyed my workouts last week and by the end of the week, found myself feeling very strong.  I was so tempted to push it at times but reminded myself that now is not the time to test speed. Just do what coach orders. I'm ready.

I have a feeling I'll be blogging a lot this week.  I want to talk a little about my goals.  I also need to share with you my race day, I still haven't ironed it all out completely.  I'm sure I'll talk a little bit more about any last minute jitters and what's going through my head.  And then of course, I'll have a post the night before the race because we all know I'm not really going to fall asleep at 8pm when I climb into bed.  

My next post will either be about my goals for the race or Ironman Blues (because nobody told me about them the first time I did Ironman).  Until then, happy training!!!!!

After my final "long" ride on Sunday.  Leia doesn't look impressed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

What a difference a year makes!

I'm happy to report that my day at the CB&I Sprint Triathlon was a success.  With only 2 weeks left before Ironman Texas, I got one more notch in the confidence belt!

I did this race last year in 1:45:18 and couldn't be more excited about my 1:30:37 finish this year.   Yep, I took nearly 15 minutes off of a sprint.  I am super, super proud of myself.  I have worked my tail off and I'm finally seeing the payoff.  

My swim this year was 3 minutes faster than last year!  I did wear a wetsuit this year so not sure if it would account for those 3 minutes or not.  For me, the best part was that I felt like I was swimming better.  Perception is reality folks so I figure if I tell myself enough that I'm doing better, eventually it will be true. 
Running into T1 while trying to get the wetsuit off!

My goal for today was to hit 20mph on the bike but I came in with a time of 47:46 which was good for 18.8mph and the 10th fastest bike split in my age group (10 out of 66).  I'm not going to lie, I was a little bummed about the bike pace as I really felt like I was hauling butt.  On the bright side, I was 2:15 faster than last year so I'll take that.  And again, I did have a top 10 bike split so I really don't have anything to complain about!!  There was one mishap on the bike.  2 miles into the ride, my straw fell out of my aero drink and so I was unable to hydrate at all on the bike.  Thankfully this was a short race and a very cool day!  

Coming in from the bike.  Wasn't about to smile.  :)

The biggest shock for me came on the run.  After leaving T2, I ran my little heart out and knew I was going at a good pace but honestly, thought I was somewhere around 9.5 min miles.  You can imagine my surprise when the race was over and I looked up my results only to see my 3.2 mile run was done in 26:42 which is an 8:33min/mile.  My run was 9 minutes faster than last year.  OH.  MY.  GOD.  This serves as a reminder to me that you can't always successfully predict effort by "feel".  I didn't feel like I was running super fast. You know, not having my Garmin may have come as a blessing.  I have a tendency to look at my watch, see a pace and then tell myself there is no way I can maintain it.  Who knows what I would've done on Saturday.  Of course, part of me also thinks that had I been wearing my Garmin, I would have seen how close I was to going under 1:30 and would've kicked it into high gear.  :)

Approaching the finish line.  Shorts riding up, top riding up and mama don't care!
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I saw Ana and really hoped I would puke on her.  Not in a mean way of course!  She told me to race so hard I puked and I really, really tried to.  You can imagine my disappointment when I couldn't produce an ounce of vomit.  She didn't seem too disappointed though as she could clearly see I was out of breath and tired.  I felt soooo good for having just worked soooo hard!

Post race = all smiles!

What an awesome race!  A nearly 15 minute PR, 10th fastest bike split in my age group, 15th in my age group (compared to 45th last year) and 58th female (out of 312).  I was so happy to get to see Ana after the finish and also happy to have Keith & Hannah out there cheering me on.  This is an awesome local event and I hope to be back in 2014...maybe with another PR!  :)

Happy training!!!