Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkinman Report - A learning experience...

Well the race didn't go so well. I was exited for it, prepared for it. A couple ladies were there I was looking forward to racing. We made the 7 hour trek down the day before which wasn't so bad. I was happy to be out of the car, but not sore or stiff really.
Normally we camp at the venue or I go to the race alone so I can get there as early as I'd like to. Well this race the hubby and kids wanted to be there, but not the 2.5 hours early I like to be. Luckily transition racks were assigned so you know you can't get stuck with too bad of a spot. Well we got off that morning a bit late and didn't end up getting to the race site till 45 minutes before the start. 45 minutes! That gives me anxiety just thinking about it. I had to sqeeze in a not so great spot, but it worked. I quickly got set up, ready to head down to the water when hubby and the kids met me at transition and informed me they weren't sure if they'd make it to T2. What? Why? Well, you see, my hubby broke the car key in half. That's right, snapped it right in half. He's a strong guy ;) Just a little bit more anxiety filled me as you might imagine. Luckily it was not jammed in a door or ignition somewhere and the car wasn't locked, but it's kind of hard to start a car with half a key eh? I worried for them and how they'd get out of that lonely dessert, but he reasurred me they'd be fine (and they were, he found a spare somehow), so off I went to the water.

So their pre race announcing was horrible. Lots of funny humor, but I never heard a pre race meeting or directions for the swim course -and there were 3 different races, so it's kind of important to know what's going on. Also didn't hear a "Go!", a horn, nothing, for any of the 3 waves before me, INCLUDING my own!! Yep, started 3 or so minutes after all the ladies after a nice man pointed to that pack swimming 200 yards out. Panic, more anxiety, crap. I had a stellar swim though, warm water, 20ft visability, feeling great, still coming out quick (4th out of the water), but those extra 3 min would have been nice. I did want a good swim out of this, and got it. The whole late start was discouraging, but my mind was just fine, still in the game.

Bike was very hilly, and I knew that. Very big rollers the first 18 miles, then a constant uphill to T2 7 miles later. We wound through the dessert for most of that which got discouraging at times when it seemed we were only heading away from where we needed to go. BIG climbing, definately one of the toughest courses I've done. Held onto it well, but ran out of water and had to ration too much till the end. And its Freaking HOT out there! Like 90 degrees. I just did not expect that even out of Vegas seeing as it's late October. I was too concerned about weight and figured I had enough water. Dumb mistake. The thirst got bad too, I even asked a couple spectators for water. On a flatter course with cooler temps I would have been fine, learning experience for next time.

Going into the run I only had 2 ladies to pick off to podium overall and knew it wouldn't be a problem . . . . .that is till I started running. Just could not push. My legs really weren't the problem, the engine was. I just couldn't go. The heat was oppresive. Didn't think about it till it was pointed out to me after the race, but I didn't get any real training in the heat this summer with the whole broken foot thing, and it showed. My lungs were also a bit tight, asthma-ish which is wierd, just couldn't open them even though I was fairly calm and running slow. I had water sloshing in my stomach but still took in at least a mouthful or two at the like 5 aid stations. I knew it wouldn't help, that it'd probably make it worse, but it felt so good, even just dipping my lips in the cup. After the second mile I allowed myself to go to the mentality of "one foot in front of the other, I just want to finish". Thinking that way didn't upset me at the time, it's what I needed to do to keep going, but now I regret it, I think. I want to say I should've pushed harder, moved through it, but honestly, recalling how I felt, I just don't know that I could have. But I will get mentally stronger so that this doesn't happen again.

So I guess todays run was just a case of dehydration and heat, discouraging to say the least. I didn't even podium in my age group which hasn't happened in a long time. 5 women 25-29 years old within 7 minutes of eachother in a 3 hour race, and those 5 (I was 5th) made up over half of the top 10 overall! I finished 8th overall, 10 minutes slower that I should have. That 10 minutes would've gotten me what I wanted, but alas, just didn't happen. IMSG has many of the same characteristics: heat, hills, wind, etc, so it's coming time to prepare myself for my even bigger challenge. I hate to have to learn lessons in races, but if it's going to happen, I'm going to learn and gain from it.
  • Continue to arrive early
  • Bring more fluids than the anticipated need
  • Use Heed on the bike, seems to absorb better than gel/water/endurolytes
  • Consider the climate - train for the conditions

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vegas Baby!

Well we're headed to Vegas tomorrow morning for my last big race this season. I debated ending with a bang with Daybreak -and strongly considered the option when the pain of pushing my body so hard was in full force :) - but really just wanted one more chance to use this post-injury fitness I've built, race the longer Olympic distance, and test myself a little for how my Ironman fitness is right now.

So we're going down to do Pumpkinman. A 1500yd swim in Lake Mead, a 25 mile HILLY bike, and a 6.2 mile run. The swim I'm looking to push the pace a little. Coming from a swimming background, I don't always push it. I know I can just maintain a good pace and still come out of the water fairly well. But I've been working the swim with more focus lately, so I'd like to up my average pace a little.
The bike is a rolling course with no flat really, and then at mile 18 or so you start a long climb up to T2. Some say 5 miles, some say 7; either way, it'll be a great for IMSG with all of its climbs. I plan to push it, stay in control, but ride like I didn't have a run afterward....almost :)
Then I get to enjoy the run. I love that part, you're 2/3 of the way done, and I love to run, so it's a good combination. Downhill to the turnaround, uphill back, should be a good challenge but favor a strong runner.

Anyway, we're staying with friends in Vegas friday and saturday night then planning on staying in St George sunday night so that I can get up early monday morning and go for a nice 50 mile ride of the IMSG bike loop (the course is about 26 miles to St George from Sand Hollow Reservoir, then 2-43 mile loops up around Gunlock Reservoir and down Snow Canyon). It'll be fabulous to see the course - definately will get those IM nerves a kicking I'm guessing :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

I am so blessed!

I just got back from a lovely ride to the top of Millcreek Canyon and back. Awesome colors, perfect temperatures, a tail wind on the way up (I didn't realize till I started coming down), and yes, even snow. Snow on the sides of the road in the middle of the canyon, and very much in the middle of the road at the top. I am so glad I brought the arm warmers, tights and gloves. Didn't need any of that climbing to the top, but it was a welcome addition for the ride down.
That lovely picture is in part because I was riding past SNOW in early October while in short shorts (working on my tan line, vain, I know, but you see I wore my longer shorts during the century and wouldn't you know, a 8 hour day in the sun = a noticeable tan line).
The picture is also for my friend Te Koi, he'll appreciate the facial expression :)

Anyway, great ride. Driving home I just contemplated the great people in my life that lead to the great experiences I have. I have such great training partners and friends in the sport. They are so much fun and make all this hard work a little more enjoyable. I've learned so much from those who've been where I have not, but am going. I've also had the opportunity to help people myself. Whether people I'm around in person, or just online friends, they set a good work ethic example for me, and are just plain fun!!
I owe SO SO SO much to my dear husband. He more than anyone else makes this all possible. He has always supported me and given me time to train. Drags 3 kids along to races so they can watch and cheer on mommy (NO easy task when we're away from home and I'm out doing my thing for 3-6 hours at a time). He does it alone even at times we've been away for the weekend and/or have had young babies. He's a stud. He has gotten more active in the last several months -including running his farthest run today, a 10k - and I'm really proud of him! He's lost at least 10lbs, feels better, looks better, and understands me and this crazy life I lead even better. Thank You Jer!
And finally, the Lord has blessed me. He's blessed me with a strong capable body that I've had control over for the most part. I think he blesses me for taking care of it. He blesses me with safety. I've had my share of close calls and a few injuries, but I know I'm watched over and protected so that I can come home and perform my most important roles.
I'm not a pro, I don't get paid for this, I don't race exotic races, but I have so much fun in racing AND in training. I get to see some really beautiful places and hang with some really great people. I love my play time :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just weekend ramblings

No big events to speak of today, just some notes about this week's training. Tuesday I came down with the flu, so that set me back a litte. Ran some long intervals on the 440 meter indoor track at the Utah Olympic (speedskating) Oval wednesday. Totally reminded me it's getting to be the offseason and I remembered the 14 mile long run I once did in there.
Friday I rode 50 miles from my house up and over Traverse twice. It was super windy coming down the Alpine side, dissapointing too, I really wanted to go down fast and confidently. Anyway, came back up the Alpine side ready to descend into Draper. I was excited and ready to go aggresively thinking the wind would be less. It was less, but apparently not around one curve. I was going about 40mph, swung around a curve and maybe a crosswind hit me or something, not sure, but my bike got super wobbly and I remember grabbing my brakes lightly, but they didn't respond well. I drifted all the way across 2 lanes to the yellow median line before gaining control. I am so blessed there were no cars behind me. Scary scary stuff. Stopped by a bike shop on my way home and I guess I need to replace a bearing on my front wheel, so I'll get that taken care of this week.
Saturday I met a group out at our little swimming pond for an apparently polar bear plunge. It was SO COLD! I'd normally go about 2000 yards, but only lasted maybe 400. My hands weren't ever functional. I was moving forward, but I couldn't put my hands in any sort of position or pull the water. I had a hard time talking when I got out because some of my facial muscles were frozen. Seriously, cold stuff. I can't believe it was that cold so soon too. I mean we have had a couple nights in the 30's, but we've had a whole lot of days in the 80's in the last month. Anyway, guess OWS (open water swimming) is over in Utah for the season :(
Last but not least that day my husband and I ran one of my favorite trails, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Draper. I'm so proud of him for coming with me. He set a goal to get fit again several months ago and he went the whole 1:10 with me. I ran ahead a few times to get some speedwork and additional distance in, but we ran together most of the time. The colors were pretty good and the temperatures were great. Only a handful of people on the trail, so that was nice. A couple big changes o the trail though. First, there's a new bridge and steps about .5 mile in where we used to go into the ravine, and there is now a bathroom building and small dirt parking lot about 2.75 miles from the start .5 mile or so before Corner Canyon. Very nice as that trail has had no restrooms along it's 6 mile length. I'd give you more specific directions on how to get there, but then you might not take me with you, so you'll have to ask me nicely :)

Looking forward to a new week of hard work. I'm in debates right now about my racing schedule for the next month, but hopefully I'll get it sorted out soon.
A big congrats to my marathon running friends Jonathan, Heidi, Stacey and Jill - way to go guys!!!