Two months ago today was August 2…I was racing Ironman Boulder and having the time of my life!!
Since Ironman Boulder, I have been lost. Lost without a big race on the calendar. Lost without a regular training routine. Lost because it hurt to run. Lost mentally. Lost physically. Lost. Just Lost.
I temporarily lost focus on my #1 dream and goal. While it is good to give the body a break from time to time, it is also good to find my focus again!
Ironman drives me, motivates me; it provides me with a structured routine and exercise that keeps me happy. In order for me to feel like I MUST be training, I need to have a big race or big goal…maybe that makes me weak, because I won’t just go workout for the sake of working out, but I know what drives me. Maybe I’m addicted to this sport…if so, there are far worse things that I could be addicted to 🙂 I have spent the last 2 years really building my Ironman fitness and want to continue to build that Ironman fitness…I want to see just how far I can go and continue to #pushmylimits at the Ironman distance.
So…Bring on Ironman Wisconsin 2016
The Iron Hippie and I are both excited to be racing Ironman Wisconsin again on September 11, 2016. This race will mark the 5 year anniversary of our first Ironman, which was on September 11, 2011 in Wisconsin. It will be fun to race again on our home course!!
What motivates you to get out the door and train/workout? Are you “addicted” to a particular form of fitness or an active lifestyle?
This last Sunday I raced Ironman Kansas 70.3 making this event my 5th 70.3 mile triathlon race finish. Ironman Kansas 70.3 was my first Half Ironman distance event on June 7, 2010, which I finished with a time of 6:46:24…It was time to go back and see just how far I’ve come in my training over the last 3 years.
Since then, I have completed Ironman Branson 70.3 in September of 2010 and Chisago Lakes Triathlon Half Distance in July of 2011 and 2012. I have gotten slightly faster in each discipline of the 70.3 mile distance (although it doesn’t look like it on the run below…bad run day). I set a new PR for the 70.3 mile distance on July 22, 2012 at Chisago Lakes Triathlon Half Distance with at time of 6:32:44.
Going into Ironman Kansas 70.3 this year, I knew I was feeling really good (both physically and mentally), but I had no idea that I was about to SHATTER my previous PR!!
We arrived in Lawrence, Kansas on Friday evening and went straight to athlete check-in before they closed for the day. We then went back to the hotel and checked in, unloaded our car and went to find some dinner, before calling it an early night to get some “good sleep” as Coach Julie calls it 🙂
I had every intention of sleeping in on Saturday morning, but I woke up at 5:45 am. Adam would be so disappointed, but he would also know that this was sleeping in for me!! 🙂 After some breakfast and lounging in the hotel room, I packed up my swim gear (for a pre-race swim), run gear (for a short pre-race run), and Mojo (to leave in T1) to head to the race site.
We left the hotel at about 10 am and drove the bike course before heading to the race site. Having completed this race in 2010, I had plenty of time to forget just how hilly this bike course was and wanted to get every hill and turn fresh in my mind for Sunday…Oh yes…my nemesis was at mile 50…
After driving the bike course, we ended up at the race site by 11:30 am. First things first…I needed to get Mojo checked into T1 and scout out my spot in both T1 and T2. As we were waiting in line to enter T1, I found out we didn’t have to put our bikes in transition on Saturday due to the 60% chance of severe storms over night (with the potential for hail and straight line winds). I was very pleased with this since the winds were already well over 20 mph and many bikes were being blown over. Some people decided to leave their bikes in T1 anyway, but I wasn’t one of them…Mojo would be spending the night with me in the hotel room…YAY!!
We encountered many athletes from our Zoom Performance team at the race site Saturday and thus talked to many people over the next 2 hours. By 1:30 pm, we hadn’t really gotten anything accomplished…except my race number tattoos in place…
…no pre-race swim, no pre-race run, no bike check-in (although I did see my spot for T1), no T2 scouting, lots of talking to people…and I was HUNGRY and drained of energy. I convinced my husband to leave and go find something to eat. As we were leaving the race site, who should we stumble upon, but Craig Alexander (AKA…Crowie)…
We left the race site, grabbed a late lunch (3 pm) and headed back to the hotel where I showered, got all of my race gear organized for morning, revisited my race goals, did some race visualization, went downtown for a couple of gourmet cupcakes and then went to bed (at 6:30 pm)…that 3 am alarm clock would be early…
In typical pre-race fashion, I didn’t sleep well…every 20-30 minutes I would wake up and look at the clock. At 2:55 am I woke to look at the clock one last time and decided it was time to get up and do this!! I had 3 servings of my “superfood” breakfast with almond milk and fresh strawberries and a glass of Trop50 Orange juice, got into my race gear, revisited my race goals, loaded the car (we were checking out before going to the race site) and off we went to the race site.
There had been storms overnight, but they did not affect the race start. Arriving at the race site by 4:15 am gave me plenty of time to really get organized and get all of my gear into each transition…yes you read that correctly, the bike to run transition (T2) is in a different location than the swim to bike transition (T1), so I really had to think through what I needed at each transition location.
Everyone had to be out of both transition areas by 6:15 am. Because I had gotten to the race site so early, this was not a problem for me at all!! At 6:30 am, the professional men started their race, at 6:35 the professional women started their race and then the age groupers went in waves. I was in wave 12 and was allowed to enter the water at 7:02 am. Because this is a floating swim start, we had to swim out to the start buoys and float until 7:04 when the air horn went off. I love the floating swim start…it gives me plenty of time to acclimate to the water temperatures (and increase the temperature in my wetsuit a little 🙂 ) before starting the swim.
7:04…we were off!! “OH MY…This water is rather choppy!!” I was trying to do my bilateral breathing, but it wasn’t working. I took water in with nearly every breath. “Flip over on your back and kick…get your heart rate back down. Ok…let’s try this again, but breathing every stroke with 3 strokes on the right and then 3 strokes on the left…3…2…1…go.” That wasn’t working either…these waves were getting in my way and I was still taking in water instead of oxygen…not to mention all of the other athletes kicking and hitting around me in the same dilema all floundering for a little air. “Flip over on your back and kick…get your heart rate down. Ok…let’s try this again, but breathe only on your right side with every stroke. This is where you are most comfortable anyway, so give it a try…3…2…1…go.” Finally something that works…well occasionally!! “Nice and steady, straight swimming, breathe…Nice groove you are in!! Keep this up!!” I continued to stay mentally focused throughout the swim. As I approached the swim exit, the swim traffic really picked up as athletes of many different waves were all trying to exit the swim at once. I stood up, ran up the ramp, looked at my watch…”HOLY COW!! 39:05 with those waves…AWESOME.” I yelled to my husband…”39 minute swim…Wahoo!!” and continued on my way to T2.
At T2, I inhaled my Oreos, stripped my wetsuit, drank some water, geared up for the bike and was off…4:38 in T1…What was I doing?!?!?!?
Onto the bike…I knew this was a challenging bike course and decided to take it easy out of the park and up the first big climb. “Keep your heart rate low, stay focused, believe in yourself and your training.” I was staying focused and really excited about how I was performing on the bike…about mile 18 I dropped my chain on a hill climb, so I quickly put the chain back on and continued to climb…”Remember, focus on what you can control…yes your chain dropped, but it is back on and you have the ability to let it bother you or throw your frustrations in the ditch and leave them on the side of the road…” I chose to leave my frustrations in the ditch and move forward 🙂 I continued to feel strong and in control!! At the first turn around, I was excited to get around the cone and have the wind at my back…oh yeah…it was predicted to have winds at about 10 mph winds from the WNW, but they were closer to 17 mph with gusts over 20. “Wind…Kiss Me Harder!! Push me back to the next turn around cone…” I continued to feel strong and in control of my race. I was alternating Oreo cookies and Carbo Pro for nutrition every 30 minutes and drinking lots of water, so I felt really good. “Finally, the 2nd turn around and I can head back to Clinton Lake Campground…YEEHAW!!” At about mile 50, my nemesis appeared, but this time I was going to conquer it!! In 2010 I remember struggling to stay around 5 mph while climbing this hill…NOT TODAY!! I was able to maintain between 9 and 10 mph as I climbed…YAY!! I have gotten stronger on the bike!! Time to push into T2…
At T2, I quickly changed out of my bike gear and into my running gear (or so I thought)…2:57 for T2…WHAT AM I DOING IN MY TRANSITIONS?!?!?!?!?
Oh well…put it behind you, focus and get out on the run!! I usually struggle to keep my heart rate low when I start the run since I usually start out too fast, but I was able to keep my HR low and maintain a nice, even pace around a 9 minute mile for the first couple of miles. I was feeling really full off the bike, so I decided to just drink water and suck on orange slices for the first few aid stations, see how I felt by mile 6-7 of the run and reevaluate whether I would consume the Honey Stinger Chews I was carrying. This plan worked quite well for me and I ended up not consuming anything other than water and orange slices for the entire 13.1 mile run.
While running a race, I typically spend the first 1/2 of the race finding my groove (depending on the distance of the race)…both physically and mentally. During the second 1/2 of the race, I start to look for people to “pick off” while I’m running. As I pass people, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” chorus plays in my head…it has been known to escape from my lips on accident a time or two…
This experience held true on Sunday during the run portion of my race. After completing the first loop of the run (only walking through the water stops), I made a pack with myself that I would continue to push forward, finish strong and only walk through the water stops. This strategy allowed me to pass MANY people on the run and “Another One Bites the Dust” continued to play in my head. Remember that wind on the bike…well, it made for some good air conditioning on the run. Adam was in my head…”Kiss me harder wind.” With only 2 miles to go, I picked up the pace a bit and finished strong…1:59:18…YAY!!
I was overjoyed with my finish!! While I didn’t quite reach my sub 6 hour time goal for this race, I did meet every performance goal that I set out to accomplish and I still had a 27 minute PR on a VERY challenging course…What could make this day better?!?!?! How about a finisher photo with Hines Ward (professional football player for the Pittsburg Steelers)…
When my husband asked Hines which hurts worse, getting hit by a linebacker or completing a 70.3 distance event, Hines immediately responded with, “Definitely this!!”
Yesterday morning I went to the pool and swam 1800 yards…1100 of which I was drills where I was to be mentally and physically focusing on my swim stroke…trying to really master some key areas…rotation, hand placement when entering the water and not allowing my arm to drop when I rotate to breathe (mostly my left arm, although both arms drop when I bilaterally breathe…which is what I’m currently working on). My coach told me to swim for 45 minutes with the first 30 minutes working on drills (both with fins and without fins) and then complete 10×50 with perfect stroke. Using this as a guideline, I decided to complete the following swim workout:
100 swim (warm-up)
200 torpedo (with fins)
200 single arm drill with rotation (with fins)
200 catch-up drill (with fins)
100 torpedo (without fins)
100 single arm drill with rotation (without fins)
100 catch-up drill (without fins)
100 torpedo (with fins)
100 single arm drill with rotation (with fins)
10×50 perfect stroke
I was really focused at the start of my drills and then…my brain began to act like a ping-pong ball bouncing around during a game of table tennis…UGH!!
“The torpedo drill…The belly button should face the wall while the bottom shoulder is in line with the bottom of the pool and the top shoulder is sticking out of the water and perpendicular to the surface of the water, hands in the ‘saddle,’ head rotated so the eyes are fixated on the line on the bottom of the pool. Rotate the head to take a breath, then rotate the head back so the eyes can fixate on the line on the bottom of the pool. Rotate the entire body so the shoulders move around the head forcing the belly button to face the opposite wall…I wonder what route we should ride for our two hour ride this afternoon…FOCUS…why is my swim cap not staying on my head this morning…FOCUS…Make sure to get the shoulders in line with the bottom of the pool so the belly button faces a wall…Since the winds are from the ESE, we should go that direction on our ride first…FOCUS…oops…I didn’t rotate enough and got a mouth full of water on that breath…FOCUS…”
“Time for the single arm drill with rotation…The belly button should face the wall while the bottom (left to start) arm is extended out in front of the body with a ‘catch’ position, top shoulder (right) is out of the water and perpendicular to the water’s surface with the top hand (right) in the ‘saddle’ and head is rotated so the eyes look through the (left) armpit and fixate on the line on the bottom of the pool. Rotate the head to take a breath, then rotate the body so the right arm is extended out in front, the left shoulder is out of the water and the left hand is in the ‘saddle.’ The head should be rotated so the eyes are looking through the right armpit and can again fixate on the line on the bottom of the pool…why are my goggles leaking?!?!? They are brand new!! Maybe I don’t have them adjusted quite right…FOCUS…make sure the extended arm doesn’t drop when you rotate to breathe…I think it is time for me to go back to my latex swim caps…these silicone swim caps just won’t stay on my head…FOCUS…make sure to rotate your body so your belly button faces the wall…I wonder how many people will show up to ride with us today…FOCUS…”
“Time for the catch-up drill…with the belly button toward the bottom of the pool and arms extended out in front like Superman, stroke through on the right side while breathing, then stroke through on the left side while breathing. Continue to alternate sides while focusing on hand placement in the water…10 and 2…I’m getting hungry…what should I have when I get home from the pool?!?!?…FOCUS…did my right hand just cross over???…FOCUS…I can’t wait to make those gluten-free, sugar-free cookies that I love when I get home…FOCUS…this swim cap is awful…FOCUS!!”
“No fins…UGH!! Ok…Torpedo…here we go…I think I may drown without my fins…FOCUS…make sure your belly button faces each wall when you rotate…it is suppose to be a really nice day today…FOCUS…I HATE drills without fins…FOCUS…so much for rotating far enough to breathe air and not water…FOCUS…”
“Single arm drill with rotation…this isn’t so bad without the fins…FOCUS…I think I know what route we should do when we ride later…FOCUS…make sure your belly button faces the wall when you are on your side…fins would definitely help me stay afloat…FOCUS…”
“Catch-up drill…I’ve done this one a lot without fins…FOCUS…I am not a fan of this swim cap…why won’t it stay on my head…FOCUS…make sure your hands are entering the water at 10 and 2…I am going to do my first triathlon today, even if there is a break between the swim and the brick…FOCUS…”
The rest of the workout followed the same format…Sometimes I have really good mental focus and sometimes my brain is a bouncing ping-pong ball and you don’t know which way it will go next!!
As for that triathlon I completed yesterday…stay tuned for part two…My First “Triathlon” of 2013…