Saturday, May 1, 2010

IMSG - Race day!!!

Woke up ready and excited at 4:00am. Showered and shaved, ate my regular pre-race breakfast of PB&J on whole wheat bread (all all natural of course), had a glass of apple juice, some water, and an Alieve (naproxen) in attempts to help with the inflammation I've been dealing with in my calf.

It was neat to have my mom around. She was already up and dressed by the time I was so she ate breakfast with me. It was neat to see her excitement. Woke the hubby up and we headed downtown to T2 to the buses.

Loaded a bus and made it into Sand Hollow about 6:00am. Later than I would have liked and I felt a little rushed getting the last minute needs into my bags and on my bike. Waited in an endless line for a port-o-potty, but called it quits after 5 minutes of not really going anywhere. I had too much to do to wait in line. I did eventually stumble upon a volunteer port-o-potty they graciously let me use right before the race with no wait - yes! Pulled on my wetsuit, said hi to my family quickly, and got in the long line down to the water. I ran into Keena on the way down and she gave me some good comfort that the swim would be fine (the start of the swim was the thing I was most nervous for). Thanks Keena! I walked right in the water with a helicopter overhead which got me a little excited. I splashed my face, dove under and swam out about 25-50 yards making my way toward the inside when all of the sudden I guess the cannon went off because everyone started swimming.
I am happy to report that there was not near the washing machine effect I expected. I made some body contact, but nothing that overwhelmed or scared me. I will say however, that I think men are much worse swimmers direction and sighting wise than women. I swam next to several women with no issues, yet had many men run into me, or paw at me during the swim. I threw a few hard kicks here and there, but was nice for the most part :) I was a little concerned about the swim feeling like it was taking forever, and yes, some of the distances did feel very long and endless, but overall the 1 loop rectangular swim really did pass quickly. I had a lot of water to myself swimming the inside line of the buoys which was nice. I know many people had issues with the cold water (including 2 of my great friends Cindi and Gail whom the water proved very difficult for - so sorry guys!), but I actually was very comfortable the whole time. I did wear a neoprene swim cap with I think helped. The chin strap bugged me, but I was grateful for a warm head. I swam comfortably, sighted well, and didn't notice any issues till halfway when my hands and feet went numb. It didn't hurt, just meant I couldn't pull as forcefully as I wanted.
Eventually we made the final turn to swim our last 600 yards in and I was getting excited. This part was almost done! I've never swam 2.4 miles straight, but I was just about to. Finally saw the ground underneath me and stood up on my numb and wobbly feet. Hobbled through the transition bags smiling, past my cheering family, and into the transition tent

2.4 mile swim - 1:05

So this was a new area to me. I've never been in a transition tent and I can't tell you how great the volunteers were. First thing I noticed was volunteers helping ladies that wore swim suits completely change clothes. Nudity was new to me in transition, but was handled so graciously by the volunteers. I had been stressing about how I was going to get my arm warmers and gloves on with numb and useless hands. A volunteer took me into the tent, sat me down, and said "what can I do?". I toweled off quickly with a hand towel, she put my arm warmers and cheap pink dollar gloves on, I put my extra CO2 cartridge in my jersey, my shoes on, some Chamois Butt'r on again, sunscreen, sunglasses and aero helmet (thanks Jameson!) on, and was out of there.
T1 - 6:12

I ran down transition to the pro racks (I was right behind them - cool!), a volunteer handed me my bike (and buckled my helmet at my request due to my er...uh...disability). I rode past my family down a big chute and onto the course which consisted of a 22 mile ride into St George then 2-44 mile hilly loops into Ivins, UP Gunlock, through Veyo, then back down into St George. You can check out course maps here. I won't go through the whole course as 112 miles is a long way to give a play by play, but here are a few points. I was so happy. I was smiling and happy the whole ride. The volunteers were great, the weather was amazing (it had been howling the days before, and now, we had sunshine and barely had a breeze!), and well, you all know I love my bike. Mechanically, there were no issues except for 2 points on the course where smaller bike + aero bottle + aggressive positioning can equal trouble. About mile 22 at the bottom of a big hill I felt like my front wheel was rubbing. I was so afraid it was my brakes. I love my bike, but bike techs hate it. It can be difficult to adjust. I jumped off my bike (hate doing that!), discovered the front wheel wouldn't spin smoothly, then realized it was my aero bottle. It was rubbing the front wheel. I started to take the aero bottle off then realize that was my only way to carry water, so had to figure something else out. I was able to pull my handlebars up just a little, and that took the pressure off the wheel. So after about 30 seconds of downtime I was off again. Didn't have any other issues until mile 110 when it was rubbing really badly all of the sudden. I tried to ride in aero holding the bottle up with my fingertips, but it wasn't working. I desperately tried to pull off the elastics and chuck the bottle, but they were all twisted. Finally, after going about 10 mph for 1-2 minutes, I managed to push the bottle up near my shifters and proceed into transition.
Nutritionally, I had my Garmin set to go off every 15 minutes so I could fuel and that worked perfectly. I had a 3 hour bottle of First Endurance EFS, and a flask of Liquid Shot that I would alternate taking every 15 minutes. Worked great. I arrived at about mile 52 where they handed out special needs bags. I handed my bike to a volunteer and ran into a port-0-potty with my bag. Relieved myself quickly while pulling out the new 3 hour bottle, new LS flask, a fun size KitKat I packed, and put on some more Chamois Butt'r. Did not need the extra tube, CO2, poncho, or granola bar I packed, so tossed my bag to the volunteer, climbed back on the bike and I was off. Probably not longer than a 2 minute break. My EFS bottle was a little more frozen than I expected, so I hoped it would melt quickly as I probably only had a few ounces I could drink at that point. My timer went off and I went to take some of the flask, only to realize it was darker in color and tasted funny. It seemed rancid to me and I wasn't taking any chances. I was pretty freaked out, yet remained calm at the fact that I was now at a 400 calorie deficit on the bike, and was going to be on the run (I remember the one I packed into run SN was darker too). I happened to have a Hammer Gel in my bento, along with a pack of Clif shot blocks I threw in there just in case I got bored and needed a different texture to eat. Thank Goodness I did!! I drained all of my calorie sources (except the flask, which after a hasty email to First Endurance I was informed was not bad, but that they tried to pasteurize a batch and it altered the taste and color - uh, that would have been good to know! Could it not have been printed somewhere??), took half a banana at the mile 90 aid station because my stomach cried hunger a little, and refilled my aero bottle twice with water bottles from the aid stations. BTW, it feels really cool riding a bike through an aid station having a volunteer run along side you to hand you stuff :)
That was a lot of detail, I know. Simply put, the miles went by quickly, I felt good physically and mentally, and rode better than I ever have on that course (maybe better than any long ride). It is so so great to ride on a course where you trust the traffic closures. I was totally able to let go and go fast down those big hills which was so much fun. I succeeded with my nutrition despite what could have been a huge problem (I do still really like EFS). I missed seeing my family on the bike unfortunately, shed a few tears after riding past where I expected to see them. 6+ hours is a long time to be alone. But I did run into a couple friends on the sidelines cheering (thanks Rus, Lynda and Sarah!), and heard cheers from others I didn't know thanks to my name printed on my race number. My attire was perfect, I stayed totally comfortable the whole time in my vest and arm warmers (took off the gloves at special needs). My right shoe did rub the front of my ankle just a little, and my traps got tight, but that's about the only discomforts. I loved riding with an aero helmet -yes Sarah, you can laugh at me ;)
112 mile bike - 6:40

The second transition wasn't quite as eventful and I was definitely more functional. Heard my sister and hubby cheering for me, came to a stop and handed my bike off to a volunteer. Ran past the bags again and into the tent. The volunteer dumped my bag out on the floor, I put my shoes and socks on (don't normally race in socks, definitely a must for a marathon though), wrapped my calf with the RecoverIce wrap I'd packed, grabbed my visor, Liquid Shot flask (the good one luckily), the empty flask I packed, my baggie of Endurolytes and pain meds (just in case) and was out. Stopped outside the tent for the volunteers to put sunscreen on me and ran on out to the marathon ahead of me.
T2 - 2:49

I was so excited to get to this point, I'd made it through the washing machine, off the 112 mile bike, and it was time to run! The first thing I should have noticed was that there was NO CALF PAIN - YES!!! I actually didn't realize it till after the race. I did notice however, how tired I was those first 3 miles. I was thinking about Coach Charity's orders to go slower than you think you should, take those first couple miles really easy. I still felt heavy and worn out though and wasn't sure how this marathon was going to go feeling that way. Saw several friends in those first 3 miles (Karie, Shaun, Heath, Sue, Sandy, Di) and expressed how "an open marathon is so much easier than this!". Fortunately though, I settled into a groove at the top of the first big hill around mile 5. Felt good after that. Kept a short stride, ran 9:30ish min miles that felt conservative to me. I could have gone faster, but this felt like a good pace to stay at until later when I could use up what fuel I had left.
Nutritionally I totally went outside my normal comfort zone. I don't take in product that I don't use, it's generally not a safe idea, but here I knew I'd have to improvise being 300-400 calories short, so I proceeded with the following: Every 50 minutes or so I'd take an Endurolyte, every 30 minutes I'd take in a sip of my Liquid Shot flask and water, and then on the other aid stations I'd fill my empty flask with Coke (slightly flat) and a have a few ounces of that with water and be able to take a few ounces with me. I've never used Coke, ever, but Coach Charity to the rescue again, had told me how good it was at settling stomachs, so I decided since I'd need calories anyway, I'd give it a try. It worked GREAT! No sloshing, no cramping, never felt hungry, I'm a Coke fan I think. I also started alternating coke and Gatorade (I know, I know, I always take bad about Gatorade, but as my 4 year old would say "You gotta do whatcha gotta do" the last 13 miles. I also snuck a bite of cookie in, a couple grapes (not the best idea), and a bite of orange and a Red Vine in the last couple miles just trying to enjoy the course (never did get to try chicken broth, they pull out the good stuff after about 12 hours). Despite my issues with the LS flasks, I'd say I nailed my nutrition. I never felt hungry, didn't deal with cramping, and my energy levels stayed steady. I only walked twice and that was for a few seconds during an aid station.
The weather was warm out the first half, so I put wet sponges on my shoulders/chest under my sports bra straps and that was nice. I also put a sponge at my left hip under my shorts and would dump a cup of ice down there every now and then to keep my left IT Band from acting up. At mile 13 I grabbed my special needs bag, ran into a port-o-potty, my second and last stop for the day. Put on a new RecoverIce wrap quickly and was out of there. Sucked down a melted Twix on the run and was on my way.
I realized by this point Kona wasn't really an option, but I didn't really worry about catching anyone anyway, by that time I was only concentrating on me and what my body could do. I was so positive and smiling and cheering that first half, but by mile 16 or so it was time to get serious. I was starting to feel the marathon a bit but was still ok, but now the winds were gusting at times, the hills were still there (and these were some BIG hills). It was time to work. I wasn't out of breath or struggling, but I just didn't feel like I had the energy to talk, or cheer, make much eye contact, even giving a thumbs up seemed straining. I saw my husband on top of the bluff that last time with about 6 miles to go, asked what the clock time was, and decided I wanted to try to break 12 hours. It would require 8 min miles, which was sort of doable. I picked up the pace, got a little grumpy with my hubby who was asking me whether I wanted a hamburger, cheese fries, a steak, something like that after the race - "Not Now!" I thought. I had to be deep inside myself right now. My stomach felt me pushing the pace, as did my legs those last 4 miles or so, the quads hurt. I realized with about 2 miles to go I wouldn't make it under 12, so while I kept up my pace push, I tried to enjoy those last 2 and just finish strong. We finally got to the end of Diagonal Street, went through the round about and I could see the finish. It wasn't quite as glorious as I'd heard, but it was good. I tried to slow at the end to let the 2 guys in front of me go, but they ended up slowing too, so I don't have very good finish line footage, and Mr Mike Reily barely said my name let alone "You are an Ironman". None the less, I finished, and I was thrilled! I raced an incredible race, was happy the whole time, performed as I had trained, didn't deal with my leg injury or the awful head cold of the week, just had a fantastic day. One of the best up there with my wedding day and children's births.
26.2 mile run - 4:13


6th in my age group, 4th Utah woman, 40th woman overall, 252nd Ironman overall


JonathanMarathonMan said...

wow....amazing details, and nutrition seems so complex in an Ironman. You need to teach me more about that ! Pleased you could pull the photos off ASI since it wouldn't let me do it, kept saying they were copyrighted etc.
Great pics, love the smile with the medal, you look so happy. Great, strong marathon. well done Ms. Ironwoman ;)

Megan said...

Thanks for the awesome race report. I'm so proud of you!

Jarvis Family said...

You showered and shaved the morning of the race? Wow, that is some serious dedication!
I am so glad the swim and bike went so well. And that you were happy! Is not it funny though how emotional it gets as well? I think I was crying during mine as well for (almost) no reason!
I am not laughing at your aero helmet. You looked great in it and rode so well. BUT I WILL laugh at you if you show up to Salem with that thing. Until you pass me on the bike - then I won't laugh anymore! :-)
You did fantastic on the run. That is a smoking fast time for that course! Congratulations on a great race! You are am amazing athlete!

Heidi said...

That was fun to read! Congratulations Leslie!!

Heidi said...

Great work. Incredible, actually. Have you even thought about when you will do your next one?

Becky said...

I am so amazed! Really and truly, you are incredible, Leslie! Thanks for the report. I've been dying to read it!

Nurse Heidi said...

Love all the details. Planning for that sort of a race is just an enormous task compared with smaller ones and it sounds like you had fabulous support on the course. I'd never thought of the fact that you'd be so stiff and cold coming out of the water, but it totally makes sense!

Congrats on a totally amazing race, friend!

Leslie said...

Jonathan - they're called screen shots ;) I don't feel too bad though, mom is buying the CD :)

Sarah - you crack me up!

Heidi - don't tempt me, I'm DYING to do another one!

Crystal said...

Great race report! You are awesome. Congratulations on a great finish!

Jenni said...

I totally LOVED reading about your experience! I was telling Nate today I would love to go watch an Ironman in person. I could never do it myself, but I bet its fun to see.

Jill said...

I finally got a chance to read your entire race report; I wanted to soak up every word! I'm so proud of you, Leslie. I was watching you online with my pink wrist band on and just cheering all the way for you! Way to go girl, you totally are one studete and I'm so glad you came into my world - I'm inspired daily by all your hard work and determination. COngratulations, you ARE an Ironman!!! Yahooooo!!