Saturday, May 29, 2010

Daybreak 2010

My MIL Marla, SIL Emily, and my mom there to support me - thanks guys!!

Signed up for sprint again in hopes of defending my title from last year. That and sprints are short, fast, and easier :) There, I said it, think what you will. Yes they're hard because you're going all out the whole time, but the way I race olympic distance is just like a sprint, just longer, which means more pain. Longer than that is different, hard in it's own respect, but more endurance than threshold pain (until the end anyway). So yeah, sprints are fun, less pain but still intense races. I've only put a good solid 2.5 weeks of training in before Daybreak, so sprint it was. Less stress.

Anyway, like the course, spent several days this year on the bike, and ran it once. Race morning was cold, but the winds were still and the rain held out. They moved transition to on the road, not on the boat ramp, which was roomier. Longer run through transition, but that's fun - I feel cool then - so I didn't mind :) Got there about 6am and got set up rather leisurely. So fun to chat with people around me, and realize I know more people than I thought. Or they know me. Being with PowerTri will do that to you I guess. I even had a girl ask me my name, and when I said Leslie, she said "Oh Leslie Howlett, I know who you are". That was cool!
They kicked us out of transition a little earlier than I expected, but it's fine. I'll get on to the report now.

Swim: 10:03. Nice still water, cold, but not IMSG cold, and even if it was, my attitude for that swim was "I spent an hour in very cold water, I can certainly do 10 minutes!". I only got 4 minutes or so of warm up, but it felt good. I felt confident. We took off and a girl tried to stick with me for about 100 yards, but then I led the rest of the swim and felt so good. Felt fast, warm, sighted pretty well, it doesn't help that it's a dark day and there were boat ramps to watch out for. Unfortunately the swim was pretty short, probably only 500-550 yards.

T1: Don't remember my time, but it was slow. Slow because I ran all the way down the street, but mostly because I took the time to put my shoes on in transition, something I haven't done in forever. But I was concerned about my hands being too cold to operate properly while moving, so I just dealt with it. Funny moment though, I had one foot popped out of the wetsuit and went to take the other out, stepped on my suit for leverage, slipped, and fell on my butt......right in front of a camera :) Luckily I don't think he caught it. That TriSlide, it's slick stuff!

Bike: 31:53. SO happy with it. I remember last year going as hard as I could intentionally and huffing and puffing the whole way up. I still pushed it hard this year, but wasn't quite as out of breath. Decent cross winds on 111 on the way down. Dropped nearly 3 minutes off last years bike split. Sweet.
T2 went fine until I went to hold onto the tongue of my shoe to pull it on. Totally couldn't use my fingers with any force due to the cold. Didn't put anything on after the swim and while I wasn't that cold on the bike, my hands apparently were. Sat down (hate that) and eventually pulled them on (almost tried with my teeth) and headed out.

Run: 22:26. My feet were cold and numb for the first 1.5 miles or so. Didn't make for the best running form. Finally got some feeling back and finished up. I'm glad I had previously run the course with my Garmin so I knew where the mile points were. That's the only suggestion I'd have for the race next year, is mile markers as that run course seems long sometimes. I was disappointed to have a slower run time than last year. I hadn't thought about it till a friend brought it up this week, but there was a good 1/4 mile section of the course that we didn't run last year, so that along with a running without the best feet under me for half of it could account for my slower run time. Still don't like seeing anything above 21 something, but it is what it is.

I felt good the entire time, probably mostly due to the great base IMSG training gave me. I still have a little more work to do fast twitch wise, but it was fun. Fun to go short and all out, fun to win by 6 minutes. I thought the race directors did a good job. Course was well marked, and there were 2 additional aid stations on the run. Seemed to have a lot of prize giveaways and results were posted fairly quickly. The timing website screwed some stuff up online, but it looks fairly repaired now.

So Aaron Shamy created this video (he creates some awesome stuff!) from Daybreak. Enjoy!

And congrats to my hubby for finishing his farthest race yet, a 15k, in under my goal time for him!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Public 'Spectator' Announcement

I do not write this with any malice or to make anyone upset, quite the contrary. I worry that some of my awesome spectators think I don't notice them there or appreciate them or whatnot, so this is my response.

I LOVE spectators. How awesome that they decided to get up so early just to stand around and watch me pass by quickly. Thank You! I love to hear your cheers for me and others out there. That said, please don't get upset if I don't run right over and hug the middle of the race :) Ok, so that is exaggerating, but if I don't whip my head around to find out who cheered at that exact moment, if I pass you without seeing you or cheering back, please forgive me.
I'm trying to keep my balance coming out of cold water while removing a tight wet body squeezing wetsuit and locating my bike out of hundreds, then focusing on not crashing said bike into said spectators, and finally I may not notice you while I'm in my zone pushing 7 minute miles to finish a race up strong all while holding down the contents of my stomach.

I love to hear you cheer, I love it when you take pictures, I love to hug or high five you after. Just please don't be upset if I don't notice you every time during the race, and don't run over immediately after. I'll get there. And while I'm sure it's been a long day for you out spectating (MOST especially if you've had my 3 dear children in tow), it's been a long day for me too, so forgive me if I'm not super chippy or if I look tired. I'm so glad to have people who love and support me both in person and online, chat with me before and after races, and cheer for me even if they don't know me. I always try to smile and say 'thank you' to supporters, volunteers, and other athletes. So please don't worry that I didn't see or hear you - I did and I smiled both inside and out :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

KIDA Relay

KIDA Relay -great race for a great cause. Benefiting Kids on the Move, an organization helping kids with disabilities with their mobility. And what a fun race! Think Ragnar for triathletes! I was on a PowerTri team with Jameson King, Ian Nelson, and Sarah Jarvis. Awesome (and fast) people. We rotated through riding a 25 mile loop around West Mountain in southern Utah county from 8am-8pm. The boys put in 3 loops and Sarah and I put in 2. But man, that was some good tempo work! We all rode those loops hard, great practice for Oly tris. The winds picked up toward the evening making all of our last bike loops a bit challenging. I did however get to enjoy a nice tailwind on the back side of the mountain for about 10 miles. I was also pleased to drop a few minutes off my time the second, and more windy loop.Then came the run. Wow, I didn't realize how worn out I was. Finished my first 6 mile out and back in like 45 something, and crashed in the PowerTri trailer we were now calling home as the winds were howling and the rain was headed in. We all made it through 1 leg each of the run before the race had to be suspended and then called because of heavy winds and rain.
Ian, Jameson, and I and our home away from home

It was disappointing not to be able to finish the entire 24 hours (we got 16 at least), but the weather will do as it pleases I guess. Slept like a baby on the wood floor of the trailer, then we all packed up and headed out early Saturday morning. Had a great bbq later that week where our winning mixed team won $350 and some cool swag. The two teams ahead of us were all male teams. First finished in 187 points, second in 183, and we finished 3rd overall in 179 - NICE!
A pic of my team members exchanging our wristband

I rushed through the report, but man what a fun race. Anyone that can bike 25 miles and run 6 (with rest in between too) should totally put a team together for next year. It was so nice to be able to lay down in the hammock, or lounge in a camp chair, listen to the motivational speakers they had, eat the yummy snacks and dinner provided for us, and just hang out with everyone. Seemed to beat traveling in a van in my opinion. Such a fun race!

You can view a longer report I wrote, and more pics on the PowerTri blog here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


First real protein shake workout since Ironman, and oh how good it feels! I took the recovery thing out a little longer than I wanted, but life got busy, and that's ok. My little family and I went camping Sunday-Tuesday up a local canyon and it was great! Didn't bring a wetsuit, didn't bring the bike, yes, I did bring my running shoes though :) Got a great 6ish mile run in up the canyon, on a trail, then back down the canyon. Felt great! The first couple miles I felt like I was sucking wind and that was a little un-nerving as I didn't want to think I'd have to rebuild any fitness, but by the end I was holding a strong pace and feeling good. My hubby also went on a run. He's more of an ultra style runner than I am. Not in distance per-say, but in the kinds of runs he likes. He likes to climb mountains. He likes to bushwhack, he likes to pothole through snow. I LOVE me some trail, don't get me wrong, I just like trails that let me open up and run fairly fast. But anyway, I expected him back in 2 hours, and 3:45 later I was about ready to call in search and rescue, kind of scary, but thankfully he was fine, just very worn out from all the exposure. Lesson to be learned : Run only out and back on a trail you're unfamiliar with.

I haven't gotten up early to workout except maybe once or twice since Ironman, but today woke up at 5:30am (thank you early sunrise!), loaded the bike in the car and drove to the course of my next race. Mmmm, GREAT tempo ride! Rode the course twice, with it's 2 l..o..n..g uphills each time. Rode aero all the way down the big hill for the first time. I feel so much safer and confident in aero on the new bike. Those cross winds seem so much more manageable with an aggressive position. It was a beautiful sunny early morning, had a great ride that makes me think I haven't lost all my fast twitch through IM training (which I know I haven't, I still worked a lot of speed through IM training). Can't wait for this race season to get started!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I have a bazillion pics I'd love to post, but it'd take up way too much space, so here's a sideshow for you. You can scroll over any picture to pause the show. Enjoy!

Moved the slideshow to the sidebar. You can check it out there :)

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