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Monday, December 15, 2008

Ironman Arizona...Race Report

Okay, so most of you believed I could do it. I can honestly say- I was starting to wonder if I could as well. 3 Ironmans in 3 Mos- actually, in 57 days. That is a feat only Joe Bonness or Hilary Biscay would attempt, and be really good at. I had some great results thus far at IM UK, taking 4th in AG and finishing in 11:45- a brutal day, weather-wise, and the course wasn't too easy. Then, Kona- of course, beautiful scenery and demoralizing humidity- 11:54, finishing time. Going into Arizona, I was really really hoping to finish in under 12 hours- and praying that my body would hold up and I wouldn't snap an Achilles or strain my IT band and have to pull out. Who knows what you start to think going into a final race- especially when having raced for so long the entire year- and having 2 very long, intense races under your belt prior.

I drove myself to Arizona- Tempe, to be exact. I was having a dear friend of mine from the Midwest, Nicole, come and meet me there. Last time she was at a race of mine, I took home 2nd Place overall and $250. So, she had been good luck in the past. I could hope for better weather than both the UK and Kona- at least, weather that resembled Santa Clarita. Leading up to Arizona, after taking 1 week off after Kona and doing some easy swimming and spinning, I made up a "loose" training plan to lead up to Arizona. Basically- do what I felt like each day, and make sure that I got in at least 1 longer workout a week in each discipline. I ended up only swimming a few times, but did multiple indoor bike workouts- some of which were 2-3 hours, Interval training focused. My runs, I kept off the pavement and made routine drives to go run on trails and on the grass- like Santa Monica, San Vicente...

I got into Arizona and met up with Mike, a friend of mine from college. He took me out and had dinner. Then, the next few days, I just chilled out at the hotel and did some exploring of the course. I had my car, which was really nice- I was able to have that freedom to check things out and drop my stuff off when I wanted..didn't need to wait for anyone to give me a ride, or pick anyone up. I liked that- a lot less stressful.

The days leading up the race, I was actually nervous. Can't say why exactly, but I had some doubt that I hadn't yet felt this year. Perhaps my last "hurrah"- so, I didn't want to screw up my last race. I called my mom- asked for her advice, she gave me some good luck, and after I cried a few times, I felt better. Yeah, I cried. I was super nervous. Nic was getting in very late the night before the race, so I slept lightly until she got into the room at 11 at night. It didn't matter- I was mentally ready, and I told myself- this would all be over in less than 24 hours.

Woke up, drove to the start. Got my bike checked one last time. It was going to be a great day to have a fast bike if I did everything right. I was mentally ready to crush this mo-fo. I was embarassed at Kona- I am not kidding. I thought I should have ridden a lot faster, and I didn't want to do that again. I had worked my ass off on that thing, and I was determined to show myself that I could ride a sub-6 hour bike in an Ironman. No excuses today. I was going to ride hard, and if I blew up in the run, I would- the bike, I needed it for my own sanity.

The swim was a great start- Tempe Town Lake. Dirty, dirty...cold as hell... and a 'jump in' water start. I am the kid at the end of the pool who dips her toes in, then up to the ankles, then to the knees..then...maybe 10 mins later, "in". I hate a jump in start- that is just mean. But, I went in with a new (cute) friend- he counted down, and I couldn't help but jump in with him and follow him to the start buoys.

I love the music before the start- they have such goofy songs to play before the Ironman. I mean, it is a long long race- you would think maybe they would play something a bit more mellow...yet still intense...maybe a bit meditative- no, they play AC/DC 'Thunderstruck'- last IM in Wisconsin- Eminem. Cracks me up- but, got me fired up. Did one last 'P' and was ready for one last long day.

The swim was an out and back. Felt great the entire time...despite the lack of swimming I had done after Kona. I was still in great swim shape, and let me tell you- the roughest swim I have had. Mean, mean people- smacking my head, I don't know how many times. I am not scared- I will get up in that mess. I am an agressive swimmer myself, but honestly- I don't hit people 'harder' on purpose. Some of these athletes get so agro. Funny, it really is.

I headed back into the finish and ran up the stairs. Lots of volunteers there to strip the way. I can take off my own. I had swam in 1:01. Not too bad...Looking good going into T1. Got my bike stuff on, and ready to head off onto the 3-lap course. That was going to be the hardest part of the day- going 3 x's around the same course. But, would be predictable and easy to pace if I did it correctly.

I won't tell you about the entire bike. Just that I hated the first lap, and then it got better after mile 40 or so. Didn't have any malfunctions- Dominique fixed my Kuota up super fine after Kona, so it was running perfectly. I had a great 3rd lap- met a friend along the way, and a few 'not-so-nice' riders. One guy in particular had some beef with me b/c I talked smack about him eating on the bike and not paying attention. He said something to me in Spanish- I understood, but played it off like I didn't. I beat him into T2, so that should have said enough. Coach Nic was taking pics the entire time and she was there everytime I came around for the laps. Damn, I felt good today... Super sunny, and in the 80s. Perfect riding day.

I came in off the bike, and holy sh$t, I rode a 5:31. Yeah, it wasn't too hilly- but the wind was a challenge for us, and you had to bike it smart so that you didn't mash too hard- wondering how the run would feel. I got into T2- penalty/free this time- and changed into my customary marathon apparel. I didn't know it at the time, but I was 3rd in my AG coming off the bike. So, in good position for a Kona spot again.

The run would also be 3 laps. Good because there were lots of people cheering you on. Bad because it was the lap thing again, and it was a bit up and down in spots. Hard on the legs, really is- especially when it is all pavement. The first 6 miles were tough- mainly b/c it was still hot, and not shaded at all. I was holding a 8:45 pace- and then, mile 12, I was feeling a bit hungry and light-headed. Needed to eat a bit more. I had 1 Clif bar on the bike- 16 salt pills, and about 8 gels. Close to 4 Gatorade bottles..enough calories for what I was expending for sure. Just needed a wee-bit more. So, took it a bit easier until mile 20, then my goal was to get under 11 hours. I could do it if I really hustled- and perhaps ran 8:30 miles. It would be a lot to ask, but so darn close.

I was close. 11:01. I missed it by 1 min. And only got passed on the run by 1 other chick in my AG- so, I finished 4th. Not too bad for my 3rd IM in that short amount of time- 4th in UK, 4th in AZ. I had a great, great race, and I was super excited when I was done. Nic and I went straight over to get a beer and Quesadilla at Hooters- of all places, and then met Mike at Applebees for a Oreo Shake.

Onto next year:
*New Age Group: 30-34
New Orleans 70.3
Wildflower Long Course
Ironman France
Ironman Louisville

1 comment:

Kyle said...

I'm tired just reading about your season E...

Clancy, Mike and I

Clancy, Mike and I
SB Tri Finishers- Nice Tiles!