Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Recap.

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Let me apologize in advance if this is super long. I am trying to learn everything I can and the only way I know how is to write in as much detail as I can recall and beg that you will point out ways in which I can shave time off. Please pick it apart it will not hurt my feelings I really want to get better.
Sunday September 25, 2011
Two alarms went off at the same exact moment 4:15AM. I had been awake for a while going over my gear and execution plan in my head. I was abnormally calm and focused for a race morning. I got up took a shower and began stretching out to make sure nothing was hurting. I attempted to eat my pre-race meal, a bagel with peanut butter and a banana, but I was only able to take in half of it. I checked my gear bag once again before Matt and I headed out. We stopped at McDonalds so I could get some coffee and then made our way to the transition area. He made sure I got everything out of the truck I needed and told me good luck for I would not see him again till after the race. He went back to the hotel to pack up our stuff and get my parents and aunt and uncle.
I put my ear buds in and turned up my Ipod so I could not hear any conversations around me. I have found for me that listening to all the pre-race conversations on how tough/easy a course is causes me to start thinking I may need to change my plan and this is not the time to do that. I had looked, read, researched, the course and I knew what it was going to be like in my mind at least and I wanted to stick with that. I had to get my age and number placed on me again because the previous days markings had come off in the shower ( I think I called that one). I made my way to row 61 and was relieved to see Koa still chillin on the rack. It had rained during the night so I wiped him off. There was a bike missing to my left and the girl who was 2 spots down asked me if they did not show up. Since we figured they were a no show she stated we should both move our bikes over to give us more room. Fine by me. We shared the space and the extra room was rather nice. I put the desired air in my tires, filled up my aero water bottle with cold EFS and placed a water bottle in the lower cage then began placing all my gear out. Once I was satisfied with my layout I grabbed my morning clothing bag and took off to stand in line at the wonderful Port-O-John. Pee #1 was out of the way so I went back and rechecked my gear. I kept thinking I was missing something but I never could figure it out. I finally got over the “what am I missing” issue and took off to wait in line for the transport bus that would take us down to the swim start.
While standing in line I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around while taking my ear buds out and there was a guy standing there. He asked me if I had done the Oly Tri in Greensboro. I told him I had and he said he remembered me from the race (seriously it’s a small world with 3200 other racers around he picks me out…creepy). We talked a little a bit about that race and he told me he had done this race several times. We parted ways once the bus showed up. I made the short bus ride to the swim start and I checked my watch to see how long I had before the start of my wave (8:52) it was only 7:20 so I figured I would go stand in line again to pee since I am so use to having to pee a million times before a race. Pee #2 out of the way so I found a spot and began stretching out and watched the first few waves of men swimmers start their day. They made it look so easy. I knew I had not eaten enough so I started eating on a power bar. I headed down to drop off my morning clothing bag around 8:15ish and ran into Beth (she won this sneak approach). We chatted for a moment before I found another line to take care of pee #3 (seriously peeing this much is annoying – dang you pre race nerves). I found a spot to put on my wet suit and then handed my bag over to the crew. I was sort of sad I had to give up my Ipod it was keeping my mind occupied.
The Swim
Around 8:30 I stared to make my way up to the swim start since they told us in the pre race meeting we may end up going before our original time. They were running about a 1 min fast so I was able to watch more wave starts. Finally they called for my wave and we all made our way down to the water. It’s funny at this point during my first Tri I was a wreck. Not today.
It was an in water start so we all jumped in and “hung out” till the air horn sounded. Man once that thing went off the water went crazy. It was almost like a whirlpool effect. People were going everywhere. It sort of freaked me out at first but I moved farther over to the left to try and stay away from the crowd which worked out for a little bit. Before I knew it people who can’t swim in a straight line or sight right where swimming straight into me. I stopped a few times to keep from getting swam over, let them pass, and continued on my way.
The water was absolutely nasty. There was seaweed and miscellaneous debris everywhere. A few times when I would go to breath I would have seaweed on my face –that had to look funny. Your fingertips would almost touch the growth as you were swimming. I was feeling good, sighting well, swimming a rather straight line, and making forward progress at a comfortable pace. All of a sudden a foot came out of nowhere and connected with my nose. It caused me to take in a mouth full of water which in turn made me immediately nauseous. The water was nasty! I was not sure what to do at this point because I thought I was going to loose my stomach content so I flipped over on my back and took a few deep breaths. The nauseous feeling went away in seconds I said a few thank yous and flipped back over and started my groove again. I feel right back into my normal pace counting two left arm strokes before taking a breath. The counting helps me focus on something other than swimming. I did not know how long I had been swimming but it did not feel like it had been very long. I decided to look forward and see how close I was to the finish and much to my shock and surprise I was within 200 yards. I checked a couple more times because I just knew I was seeing things there was no way I was almost done. Nope I was almost done. I think I started grinning here while still swimming because I knew I had done much better than I ever thought I would have with this part. I had passed people from previous waves how that happened I have no clue but I will take it. I came out of the water and could hear my family calling my name so I looked to the right and there they were on the hill jumping and clapping. This pumped me up tremendously because they knew how much I was dreading the water. We had to run up the boat ramp which (as I had called before) sucked. The run to the bike transition was somewhat long it seemed to take forever seriously it had to take 1-2 mins just to get to the wet suit strippers.
I am the one in the middle with my hat already off and a goofy grin!
I found my suit stripper and she yanked off my suit and tossed it to me as I was taking off to see Koa. There were no more running mats at this point so you were running on grass which was littered with gravel and the rocks were cutting into your feet. I got stuck behind a group of girls who were also trying to dodge the gravel so I slowed down. I would not have felt right running them over just to gain a few seconds. I realized I really needed to pee (yes again) and I was debating what to do while I was getting my gear changed out. I decided I might as well take the time to go here at the port-o-john in hopes that I would not need to pee again while I was on the bike. Yes this cost me time but I am just not the pee on your bike kind of girl… yet.
Swim: 1.2 Miles
Pace: 1:36/100m
Time: 30:34
Rank at this point: 1671
T1 Time Swim-To-Bike: 5:15
The Bike
I grabbed Koa and took off running to the bike start line. This was a mess people were crossing the line and stopping right there trying to get on the bike which caused a massive clog. I found a spot I could squeeze through on the left side and moved out of the way before I got on Koa and took off. I had spoken with Jason from Cook Train Eat Race about my nutrition plan for the bike leg and he had told me what works best for him and I had played with the same liquid calories strategy he goes by. As soon as I made it through mile one and the line of riders were not so on top of each other I took out ½ of a honey stinger waffle and ate it. Everyone kept telling me how important it was to take in lots of fluid during the ride so that my body would still function on the run so I stated drinking from my aero bottle of EFS. I had cut up 3 honey stinger waffles into four pieces per waffle and placed them in a zip lock bag which was in my bike bag just in case I felt like I needed to eat something along with the liquid calories. The first 13 miles were really uneventful. I kept drinking the EFS and I had one small piece of waffle every 30/40 mins.
I thought the riders would be more spread out but we all were on top of each other seriously there was no way not to draft. The officials would just ride on by on their motorcycles not penalizing anyone because there was no where for us to go so that we were not in the draft zone. Passing was challenging because we all were so tight. Every once in a while a spot would open up and I took advantage and passed as many people as I could. I was holding a pace, per my bike PC, of 18-20 which made me extremely happy. Then I stated to get worried that if I tired to hold this pace my legs would be done by the time I got off the bike and I would kill my run. I was going over and over in my head what to do but ended up staying at that pace… I realized I also needed to pee again GREAT so much for spending more time in T1 so I would not have to go on the bike course. Anyway mile 15 I reached down to take another drink and my aero bottle was bone dry. I had already consumed my 32 oz of EFS. Okay not going to panic I still have another water bottle. I reached down to my lower cage to grab my bottle and got nothing but air. WTH where did my bottle go?  I came out of the aero position and looked down. Gone… empty… no bottle. Why is it when you’re not thirsty but then you realize you’re out of fluid you feel like you have not had anything to drink in day’s? I knew there were two hydration stations along the way so I tucked back in and lucky me I only had to go a couple miles before I saw the first stop.
I perfectly executed my first drive by water bottle grab without incident! I jumped off the bike at the end of the line and stood in line for a second so I could pee again. Got back on the bike and waited what seemed like forever to wait for a spot to enter back into the line of riders. There were so many riders but I could not believe we were not spread out more. I finally found a spot and took off again with my aero bottle and cage full of water again. 17 miles out of the way and I still felt great. I knew this was where the rolling hills would start and last a while before the course would flatten out again. I jockeyed for a better position for a while since I did not care to be passed by so many people due to my having to pee grrrrrr. The hills presented themselves.. yay.. I hate hills. Honestly, though they were not that bad even for a flat land rider such as me. Only a few of the hills where killer but I refused to come out of my saddle and just spun on up. I was actually passing tons of people on the hill climbs. This worried me once again. While my overall pace had slowed tremendously due to the hills I knew if I kept up my over aggressiveness I was going to kill my run. I talked myself down off my desire to pass everyone in front of me and settled in behind – not drafting close- a line of riders to finish up the hills.
The miles just kept on passing with only one interesting event. There was a man standing at the end of his driveway with a card board sign that read something along the lines of “Go Home, Your not Welcome Here”. He was yelling at everyone as they passed about how we were such and inconvenience to the community and not to come back next year. Come on man really ONE day out of the YEAR you may have to drive a different way to the store calls for that type of stupid behavior. I rode up beside a girl right after passing him and said he must think he can’t do this she started laughing and said we should go back and show him he too can do this.
I ran out of water again right before the second stop. I kept going back in forth in my mind if I should get a Ironman Preform or water at the next station since my EFS was long gone and I figured I would try a Ironman Preform to get some calories and hope and pray it did not mess with my stomach. I executed another good on the go 2 bottle grab without incident. I was worried I was not going to be able and do that. I put more water in my aero bottle and placed the Preform in my cage. I tried the Preform and I did not care for the taste at all! I only took a few sips of it along the way because I just knew I would not be able to stomach it. I was so happy I decided to bring as many honey stinger waffles as I had they saved me! I never imagined I would go through so much liquid in such a short time. I was mostly overcast but very humid and the later the day got the hotter it was getting. It started to lightly rain around mile 45ish. It did not last long but it felt good while it was raining! The hills finally died and the course was flat again which made me super happy but I could feel my “stupid” race up the hill efforts in my quads. CRAP I knew this was going to happen. I checked my watch and saw I had been on the bike around 2 hours and 40 mins (approximately). I knew I could easily cover 10 miles in 30mins if I pushed it so I had a decision to make go for it and get the bike done in just over 3 hours or slow down and save it for the run. This was hard for me because I am so freaking competitive and all I wanted to do was pass the next person. But running is my back ground so I felt like I ultimately could make up more time there than I could with an all out effort riding. I don’t know if this was the right thing to do or not to be honest. Looking back I sort of wish I had just gone all out for it but I made my decision and I stuck with it.
The last 15 miles were once again uneventful other than a new PR on bike distance for me. The longest I had ridden before this race was 50 miles so I was super excited once I saw the 50 mile marker. At this point the sun had come out in full force and it was really heating up quick. I kept drinking water and took a Gu gel when I was within 2 miles of the bike finish. I made the turn to go into transition and there was my Mattie James and my dad yelling at me to keep going and I was doing great. I am not sure if the spectators know how much simple words of motivation helps push you along. It does WONDERS!
I made it to the line jumped off the bike and guess who needed to pee – ME AGAIN. I ran to my bike spot and sort of tossed Koa onto the bar (sorry buddy). I pulled my helmet off, placed my running hat on, yanked off my bike shoes, tried to put my socks on but my legs and feet were so sweaty they did not want to go on so I had to sit down and force them before I could get me shoes on, flipped my race bib to the front grabbed 4 Gu gels and took off to the Port-O-John to pee again… As soon as I got into the POJ I realized I had forgotten to take my gloves off DANG IT MAN. I thought about just tossing them but then I was like that is silly I have already taken more time to stop to pee I have time to run them back to my bike since it was not that far from the run start anyway. I was coming out of the POJ and someone let out a loud scream that sounded like they were right on top of me. I stopped dead in my tracks ears perked up still holding the door open as I frantically searched the area for someone being stabbed, shot, having a medical issue whatever I don’t know all I know is my instinct kicked in full force and the world slowed down for a moment. A second later a girl came out from the POJ beside me in tears. I asked her if she was okay and she told me she had just dropped her glasses into the POJ. I laughed because it was nasty and ultimately funny but also I think in sheer relief no one was hurt or in danger. Seriously you CAN’T do that to me I go into Cop mode. Ugh.. I wasted time for glasses ok glove-toss time to run.
Bike: 56 Miles
Pace: 15.83
Time: 3:32:13
Rank:  2418
T2 Bike-To-Run : 4:03
The Run   
I don’t think I knew how hot I truly was till I was off the bike and the wind from the bike died down. It took me a mile before my legs felt somewhat normal off the bike. I was almost 3 miles in holding an 8:30 pace per my Garmin when all of a sudden I realized I was getting tunnel vision which was turning into blurred vision. The pressure in my eyes was so intense I thought they were going to come out of my head. I felt my head and I was sweating which was a good sign but I knew something was very off. I made it to the mile three and I took a one of the ice cold sponges and held it on top of my head. The water was so cold and my body was so hot it actually sent me into a mini shock that took me a moment to recover from but the pressure in my eyes went away. 3 miles in and I am overheated already how do you come back from that?
There was a water station at every mile so I kept pushing along taking water to sip from and one went over my head face and neck. I made it to mile 5 and my cheering squad was set up and this pumped me up again! My dad began running along beside me and gave me some water. He was telling me how strong I looked and I believed him at this point it’s the only thing I could hold onto I may not feel strong but he said I looked strong so I will take it. I was passing people right and left. Around mile 7 one of the pro men was walking along giving words of encouragement (I only knew he was a pro because of the chatter around me) anyway he started running beside me and said “I love to see someone who looks like they know how to run – looking good girl keep it up and you will be done before you know it) he patted my shoulder and took off the other way before I could utter much more than thanks.
My dad coming out to cheer me on.
Mile 8 is about the time I started to fall apart. My socks and shoes had gotten really wet at this point and I could feel 2 water blisters on my right foot forming with a vengeance. I contemplated taking them off and running barefoot but looking at the street I knew that would not be much of a user friendly option. I would stop and walk for a moment and try to wiggle my foot around in my shoe to find a better position but nothing was working and each step was becoming more and more painful. I checked my Garmin and I my pace was in the 10 min mile which just broke my heart. I knew I was not going to be able and finish the run in under 2 hours like I had originally planed. It only took me a second to get over this because I was still super happy about the whole experience and the overall journey that had brought me here. It started to rain which was a welcome because it was so hot. It did however finish soaking my shoes and began forming more blisters. Not much you can do about that. I saw an old high school friend who came out to cheer me on along with my buddy Kevin who I met in my first Tri. He was going to do this race but he got a stress fracture 2 weeks ago during a long run. He was only able to swim which he used as a practice.
I saw my dad again at mile 10. He came up beside me and I told him I was hurting he told me to keep going I only had 3 miles to go. So I did I kept going and I kept saying over and over 3 miles only 3 miles I can do 3 miles in my sleep. 3 miles is nothing. My normal stride was off because of the issues with my feet but I managed to pick up my pace a little. I saw my cheering squad again at mile 12. I was so HAPPY to see them words can’t even express the feeling knowing I only had a mile to go. I knew I had more in me so I took off. I picked off one person at a time. I forgot about the pain and I found my normal pace for the last mile. I rounded the last corner and I could here the crowed cheering the racers on as they entered the final stretch. Man what a feeling it’s hard to describe! I gave it all the energy I had left. Finish Strong. I was so elated with this accomplishment I am not really sure it has fully sunk in yet. I do know one thing as soon as I crossed that line I felt like I was more than a runner I was a triathlete.
Run: 13.1 Miles
Pace: 10:35
Time: 2:18:41
Final Rank: 1957
I still have some work to do but I learned so much from this race and I plan on taking it all in so I can come back stronger for the next because there will be a next there will… always be a next.
Overall time: 6:30:46

The Days Before Ironman Florida. Race Report Part 1

I know I did not post a race report for Half Ironman August. Let me explain why before I move forward with Ironman Florida. As I sat down at my computer to type out the August 70.3 report my mind could not get over the fact that I was disappointed in myself and I felt that the negativity I was feeling would come across in the report so I decided to just let it be and move forward. I broke my big toe in two places coming into T1 during Augusta and while I pressed forward and finished the race my time was no where near what I was currently capable of doing and while I know I obviously could not help the fact that I got injured I had high expectations of myself and I did not meet them so there it is I was disappointed as silly and ridiculous as it may sound. We are our own worst critic, right? I still managed to set a higher PR in the half coming in at 6:04:01 so I should not be so hard on myself but it is what it is. Now on to the biggest race I have ever done, Ironman Florida 140.6.

November 3, 2012 had been a date I had been thinking, dreaming, some would say obsessing over for almost a year to the date it would be the day where I would push my body through the largest endurance challenge its ever faced. Something I had dreamed of doing for a long time. People kept asking me what my time expectations were leading up to the race and honestly all I wanted to do was finish. Some understood this others thought I was keeping my goals a secret which I wasn’t. I really had no real set in stone race time goal. This is somewhat out of character for me but I just wanted to be an active participant in all the activities and challenges of the day. When I am in “race mode” I miss things because I am so focused on the next person to get in front of or I am focused on the beeping of my Garmin warning me my pace is lacking so by “active participant” I mean I was not worried about being passed or passing another and as far as the Garmin the pace warning was set to silent.

Mathew and I left Valdosta on October 31, 2012 and headed to Panama City Beach. I had taken the entire week off work because a less stressed Summer is a more focused Summer and I really wanted to be focused on the task at hand. We got to PCB around 2pm and went straight to Publix and loaded up on food for the four days we would be there. After we got all our things unloaded and put away we walked to the athlete check in where I was able to go straight in, I love it when there are no lines. It took me less than 10 mins to get checked in which is a PR in and of itself! I got to say the IMFL swag bag was outstanding. Not one of those silly string bags you get for doing a 70.3 its an actual race gear back pack. We were only about a 1/2 mile from the race site, if that, so we walked back to the condo along the beach which allowed us to see the conditions of the water… Umm can I say hello waves.

Check – In complete

On November 1, 2012 I got up and decided I would try out my new wetsuit and see how bad swimming in such large swells was going to be. This particular day the ocean waves were insanely large. I literally swam out about 200 meters and turned around and came back. I told Matt that I had to stop because it was making me nervous and the last thing I wanted to do was go into the race with a larger fear than I already have with the swim.  I then went for a short four mile run along parts of the running course. That was nice and just what I needed to clear my head. My parents got to PCB later that evening and we sort of just hung out at the condo for the night chatting and watching tv.

See the dang waves blah

November 2, 2012 I stated the day out by doing a nice easy run with my buddy and mentor Kc. She showed me around the transition site and gave me a few final tips for the upcoming day. Bless her for putting up with my novice questions and fears. After I got back to the condo my mom and dad wanted me to take them down to the race site so they could look around and do so IMFL gear shopping. We were almost at the tent when my mom moved over to get out of the way from a group of runners and her foot slipped off the sidewalk causing her to fall and twist her ankle. It was swollen within seconds and we all knew she would not be able to do any walking or spectating for that matter. I felt so horrible for her as I know she had been looking forward to this day as much as I had. I have to say every person that walked past us on the street as we were waiting on Matt to get my truck was very kind and helpful. She was offered food, drinks, cell phones, Gu’s and the general “you alright, or can I help”. I have said it before and I will say it again I have met very few triathletes who are not all about helping another even to the point where it affects their race. The rest of day I sort of walked around trying to calm myself down. I listened to a lot of music and just found a quite place to sit down and get my mind ready. Matt made me dinner around 5pm which I was thankful for because I was not able to eat again when the rest of my family did which I had planned on due to my anticipation being in the red by then. My buddy Sam came by the condo to see me and wish me luck which was a nice break from my inner thoughts. I figured I would not sleep since I hardly ever sleep the night before a race but I still got in bed at 8pm and oddly enough I slept till my alarm clock went off at 3am. I got up and had some water and a bagel with peanut butter. I was able to eat the entire thing for once. I got back in bed and went back to sleep for 45 mins before alarm number two went off and I got up and got ready to eat again and head down to the race start. I had a cup, more like 1/2 cup of coffee, and a banana before Matt and I walked down to the transition area. I located Koa and fixed up my aero bottle, my bike bag containing my food, and checked the air pressure in the tires. I found Matt again and he said he needed to go back to the condo and get ready for the day. For the first time in my life before the start of a race I got choked up at the thought of him leaving. I don’t know what my issue was but the thought of him leaving caused me to panic. I did not allow him to know this at the time, although he probably could tell, because I knew if he reacted in the way I was feeling I would loose it. So I said okay, kissed him, and hurried off in the other direction to drop off my special needs bags. I found Sam again at the Special Needs area and he helped me locate where I needed to drop off my items. I had about 1.5 hours before the start of the race and I am not sure where all the time went but just as I was putting on my wetsuit Matt calls my cell phone and tells me he is back and is looking for me. I met him on the way out to the water. This was the first time I had seen the water today and the waves seemed to have grown. And that panic feeling of flight or fight  came over me. For the second time I said goodbye to Matt while holding in the tears that were threatening to come out. I got into position on the beach and was standing there trying to get a grip on my panic. Then it happened. The announcer said we had less than 60 seconds before the start of the race and my mind finally shut up. I was in my zone. No more worry, no more panic, no more feeling like I had not done enough. I was simply at peace and I knew I could take on anything the day brought my way. And just like that the gun went off and the race was underway.

Part two was almost done when I hit the wrong, no going back, button and deleted the rest of my race report. So I will post this and be back once I have re-written the second half. It was getting long anyway. Stay tuned.

What Ironman Training has taught me.. thus far.

As I was running this morning reality hit me. I am nine weeks away from my first full distance Ironman. This is the start of week 12 in my 21 week training cycle for Ironman Florida and I can tell you I have found this journey has had the largest impact on my life thus far, that is besides my absolutely adorable supportive husband. Generally, I am in the best physical shape of my life which is sort of a given with the amount of training that goes into a race of this caliber, but I am more affected with the new found mental and spiritual strength I have developed. It’s hard for me to put these into words right now but I know, feel, and believe 100% I am right where I need to be, doing exactly what I am meant to be doing. I think that helps keep me focused and motivated. I can’t imagine anyone being able to get through the training it takes if they didn’t have some feeling of belonging present.

Other things I have noticed since I have started this Ironman training: I now have the ability to eat copious amounts of food.  Literally I will eat anything in sight including food off Mathew’s plate since I tend to inhale mine. He does not mind (I don’t think). Don’t even get me started on the amount of pancakes and PBJ sandwiches I eat, its embarrassing.

I have an odd fascination, all of a sudden, with green Powerade. I can’t get enough of that stuff but it HAS to be green. You can give me a purple one and put green food coloring in it and I will drink it because its green, flavor does not matter.

My time management skills have gone from good too off the chain. Every moment of my day, other than when I am at work, is planned out to fit my training/family schedule. I am glad I am a morning person. How in the world non morning people train for this distance is beyond me.

You would think I wash clothing for 5 people when its only Mathew and I. Laundry is NEVER ending.

It only takes me 60 seconds of non movement to go to sleep and yes I go to bed the same time most grandparents do, don’t hate. Mathew is constantly waking me up after I pass out on the couch. I blame him for getting a comfortable couch.

Coming back from knee surgery sucks! There is no getting around it. Its going to hurt but once you learn to except your body can take more than your mind says you can, you have the ability to turn off the pain, temporarily of course.  

On a more serious note. I think the BEST part of this whole experience along the way is the people you meet. I have had the opportunity to meet and become good friends with some great people that, I doubt, I would never have met, had it not been through this sport. Triathletes have got to be some of the most giving people I have ever come across. I have not met one who would not offer you all the advise you could handle. I recently was able to go on a traincation with these three wonderful ladies: Beth, KC, and Karen.  I am of the opinion that everyone should have the opportunity to experience a traincation. I have been blessed to have met Jason (thanks to Kc) and have been honored by being able to race as a part of Team CTER because of him. This may be biased but my teammates are pretty awesome, you should go check them out.

Well Augusta 70.3 is just a few weeks away and I feel I am more than ready. Its not my A race but I will be going out there and giving it everything I have to give for myself and my team. I have a goal in my mind that needs to be taken care of because I know I can crush it if I play smart. But my main focus will remain on the major task that is only 9 weeks away….

Haines City, Florida Ironman 70.3 Race Report

It has taken me a week and one day to find the time to sit down and get my thoughts on paper concerning Ironman Florida 70.3. Without further hesitation here we go.

 The Swim

Word to describe the swim: bliss Struggle.

The swim, which was planned to be a normal out and back loop, was changed due to the low water levels and ended up looking like a giant “M” literally. There were a total of 4 turns during the swim. I knew this would affect my time but I did not think it would do more damage than maybe 1-2 minutes worth. I pushed it out of my mind because there was a slight fear there would be no swim and I would much rather do the swim – bike – run rather than a run – bike – run. Surprising, being that I am a runner not a swimmer but I worked my tail off in the pool for this dang race and I wanted, needed, to prove to myself it’s no longer a big deal. My swim group was off at 07:15 and just before the start we waddled out into the water which came up to about waist level and hung out till they set us off. I was surprisingly calm considering the other races in which I was super apprehensive. Good right? Yeah, great if I could have stayed that way. I don’t know what in the world was going on but I got hit more during this swim than any other swim. It was, for lack of a better word, stupid. I kept trying to find my own space but it was near impossible. About half way down the first straight part some of the men’s group, which had set out after my wave, had caught up with us. I was already fighting for my area when a guy got right up beside me. We were both going along about the same pace in a relatively straight line. Which is fine but then one of us moved closer (not sure if it was me or him) and our arms kept hitting. All of a sudden, as I was taking my breath on the left side, I felt a thumb on my back and four fingers around my rib cage on the right side of my body. The dude had grabbed a hold of my side and was pushing me away from him. Instant reaction was fear, split second later was anger. In my head I was screaming WTF are you doing donkey.  As I was bringing my right arm back to start my stroke I grabbed his forearm and proceeded to apply pressure and twist. I know I must have caused some pain due to the speed in which he released my side and jerked his arm away. I know it’s a race and all but seriously why would you do that – jack wagon.  I could not for the life of me calm myself down after that. I am not sure if it caused me to panic or if I was just that angry. I may or may not have space issues. I struggled to get my breathing right again and ended up swimming off course twice. The whole rest of the swim was just a struggle. People were getting bottle necked at the turns which meant more contact and I just did not care for it.  I was so HAPPY when it was over! I felt going into this race that my swim time should be around 38-40 minutes.

Swim Time: 45:54      

T1: 6:20

I feel like such a terrible time needs to be graced with a reason as to why it took me a day to get out of T1. When I got to my bike I looked down and the person who was beside me had taken my gear, which was not in her way, and basically tossed it. I don’t know if it was by mistake or not. I was so happy to be done with the swim I did not even care that much. I did find my running shoes and hat and put them back in a pile so I would not have to look for them on my return. We were not allowed to swim in compression sleeves thus if you wanted to wear any you had to put them on after the swim. If you have never tried to put compression sleeves on wet legs try it but I suggest you’re sitting down so you don’t bust your face. I felt like it took me forever to get them on. I would have gone without but I did not care to deal with my calf muscles cramping up on me during the run so I spent the extra time putting them on.  You live and learn.

The Bike

I got to say I am really starting to enjoy my time on the bike. The bike course at first was nice and flat then about half way it turned into hills. Florida has some strange hills. I swear it was like you would climb up and expect to go down the other side just to realize it would get flat for a moment and climb again. What happened to what goes up must come down Florida? Overall I felt comfortable on the bike and I worked for every hill being that I am a flat land rider. I was averaging 18-20mph during the first part but that went away as soon as I got into the hills. I was able to successfully implement a hydration/ nutrition plan suggested by my buddy Jason from Cook Train Eat Race . I set my Timex to go off ever 15mins and I would drink a few sips. I had 4 PowerBar Energy Blasts (80 calories) at the 30 min mark and have a Gu Gel at the hour mark (100 Calories). This seemed to give me enough calories to keep my body going. This worked out for me very well. I never really got tired. The last three miles were probably the worst for me. My thighs began to start cramping up and I had to stand up a few times on the peddles to stretch out. I know that I was properly hydrated so I guess it was just from my efforts on the hills. As I was turning to make my way down the last hill before the transition area I noticed a girl on the sidewalk running with her bike on her back. I asked if she was okay and she stated she was but her bike was broken and she had to make the last four miles on foot. I was in AWE. This girl when faced with the decision to call it a day due to a malfunction issue said, not no, but Hell no, slung her bike on her back and ran 4 miles to the transition area. If that is not inspiring then I don’t know what is.

Bike Time: 3:21:26

T2: 4:49

T2 was uneventful. I was happy to see my gear was still in place from where I picked it up during T1. I had spent the entire time on the bike having to pee but I refused to stop. I tried several times to go on the bike but my mind will just not let me so I did make a pee stop during T1, sorry Jason I promise I tired =)

The Run

The run was as expected hot hot hot. I knew it was going to be hot and I had made a mental note to make sure I was drinking something at each aid station. I have a bad habit of sometimes skipping aid stations because I don’t like to drink while running but not today. The run course was one hill after another and once again they only seem to go up and not come down. Florida has a twisted mentality. I checked my watch around mile 3 and I was averaging a 8:34 min mile which is right where I wanted to be. My quads and hamstrings began to cramp up again and I would stop and walk though the rough twitches but as soon as they went away I would go back to running. This went on for a while. My knee, on the other hand, only gave me minimal issues on the larger hills which made me extremely grateful. I don’t recall what mile I was on but sometime during the second lap I face planted into the invisible wall. My body was just done. I tired to walk it off, took a gel, drank some nasty hot coke, but nothing seemed to help. At this point I knew I was not going to make my goal run time. I was disappointed but once again you live and learn. This course proved to be tougher than I initially thought it to be but it was a fun course, other than the swim, I really did not like the swim at all.

Run: 2:21:46

Total Race Time: 6:40:15

I think I would do this race again next year as long as it not a M  swim course. I went into this race expecting to finish around 6 hours or better but it seems the day had other plans for me. A few people pointed out that I was just coming back from my knee surgery so I should not beat myself up about my overall time, and they are right, I guess I just did not want to think of anything in terms of holding me back.  After taking the time to get over my initial disappointment I realized that I had made progress despite my time difference. Augusta is the only other 70.3 race that I have done and there is no way to compare the two courses because Augusta is 100% flat and Haines City is not. However, taking that into consideration lets compare my times.

Augusta: Swim: 30:34 : Bike: 3:32:13 : Run: 2:18:41 Total 6:30:46 Down current swim, and a flat bike/run

Haines City: Swim 45:54 : Bike: 3:21:26: Run: 2:21:46 Total 6:40:15 No current swim, Hill bike/run

I definitely feel stronger on the bike which I think can be seen in my time. I went faster on a harder course and I am absolutely satisfied with that. The run time was slower in Haines City but not by much when you take into consideration the degree of difficulty. So I am happy with my results and will take what I learned form this race and walk away a better informed athlete! Forward Progress.

My favorite part of the weekend, other than an awesome race, was getting to meet and hang out with my friends Kc, Jc, and Jenny! All three are amazing peeps!

A special thanks to my husband for his constant support and willingness to allow the alarm clock to wake him up at 0430 most days! You know you love me =)

Up Next: 11 Global Oly Tri – June 23rd.

Till Next time – keep moving forward.

Hello 2012 “The Year of Epicness”.

I set my sites on running my first 26.2 in 2011 so I did what many others do I started a blog in the hopes that it would keep me focused on the goal at hand. While I was researching which 26.2 venue would be my marathon debut I came across an Olympic distance Triathlon being hosted just miles away from where my family resides. I had been reading all about triathlons ever since I had started my blog and to be honest reading the stories of these triathlets left me in complete aw of their athleticism and physical accomplishments AKA they scared the “heck” out of me. The more I read the more I found their perseverance, determination, persistence, dedication and never give up attitude intriguing. So I figured why not try a triathlon along the way to my 26.2. So I did and as they say the rest is history. The tri awakened something in me that I was not getting from just running. A new challenge that not only tested me physically but also tested me spiritually and mentally. I knew the moment I crossed the finish line of my first tri that my path was about to be altered. I never did make it to the starting line of my first 26.2 in 2011 but I am okay with that because the new journey I took taught me so much about myself and I can honestly say I have a passion for the sport unlike any other sport I have participated in. 2011 was a good year and I am ready to start 2012 with the goal of completing my first 26.2 miles just after I finish the 2.4 mile swim and the 112 mile bike ride – crazy yeah but to be honest I like to be challenged. So goodbye 2011 and Hello 2012 “The Year of Epicness”!


The day before…

The day before any big or new distance race, for me, always seems to be filled with so much nervous excitement. I think I stress more this day than I do the day of the actual race. Mathew and I drove from Valdosta to Greensboro, Ga on Friday so we could hang out with my family Friday afternoon then make the hour drive to Augusta, Ga early Saturday morning so I could take care of all the pre race requirements. The race expo and registration/race packet pick up was scheduled to begin at 11AM and we figured we might as well get there then and get all that taken care of before it got “busy”. We were not the only ones with this plan. The hotel was packed with compression wearing, fit, toned, lean, muscular, M-dot tattooed, water/sports drink caring, last race T-shirt wearing amazing looking athletes. I know this sounds stupid, I promise, but just looking around at these people was intimidating. I was standing in a VERY long line waiting my turn to pick up my race packet just taking in everything and I noticed a lady a few people up in front of me who was “wringing” her hands in what I picked up to be a nervous behavior. This particular lady was a bit larger than most of the 100’s of people around her and I could see her looking people up and down as her eyes moved along the line of racers. I don’t have a clue if she was feeling the same intimidation I had previously experienced but I really wished I could have given her a hug and told her how proud I was of her for being there in this line. All I am saying is if I felt intimidated by the extremely athlete people then I can only imagine how she felt and I was so proud of her for being there doing what so many don’t think is possible. After spending an hour in line I finally got my race kit and made it to the pre-race meeting just after it had started. I was able to pick Beth from (Discom-BOB-ulated Running) out in the room and since we had sort of a challenge I made sure she did not see me…yet. After the meeting I headed over to the Expo to look around and realized that was not going to happen due to the small size of the room which was packed with more people than a Fire Marshal would be happy with so I waited around till I saw Beth walk into the room. She knew I was in there due to the exchange of text but I was able to sneak in behind her. I was going to go in for the sneak attack leg hug but I really did not want to get kicked or hit in the face so we “re-introduced” ourselves before we exchanged leg hugs! Go check out he page I am sure she will be doing a race re-cap as well! (Beth I am so glad we got to meet). 
Once all that was taken care of I found my mom and dad and we headed out for some lunch. Being that the hotel we were staying in was only a mile from where we had lunch we decided to go ahead and check in so I could look over Koa one last time before taking him to the bike drop off for his first slumber party. I knew something was wrong when my dad came out from checking in and Matt was not close behind him. I had already taken Koa off the truck and was messing with my gear. I realized Matt had been in the lobby for a long time so I called him and he informed me the hotel had messed up our reservations (made in June) and they were booked with no room for us. The hotel began calling other area hotels trying to find us a room. They finally found one a few miles away that said they had one room left and for us to come on over. The Jameson Inn (Original hotel) told Matt they would pay for the room due to mistake being their fault. So I put my bike back up and we took off to the other place. Once again I realized something must be wrong because people were coming and going and Matt was still in the lobby. I walked in and he looked at me and shook his head. I asked what the problem was and basically there was a new person working the desk who did not understand how to read the computer and they were also booked. My stress level went from medium to low high. We drove back over to the Jameson and Matt explained to them what had occurred at the hotel they had just sent us too. While Matt was dealing with that I went to my parent’s room and hung out with my mom. Apparently the Jameson Inn had done the same thing with another lady’s room and she was at the front desk being rather crude. Matt on the other hand stayed cool calm and collected which went a long way. Crude lady was sent packing and Matt was told 20 people had yet to check in their rooms thus he was given a room due to the length of time we had made reservations and his “nice” demeanor. I felt sort of bad for the last one that got there to check in only to find out they did not have a room. Augusta was booked! 
I had Matt check Koa over real well for the 100 time and we headed to the race start to look around at the swim and drop off the bike. I was able to meet up with a good friend of mine who lives in Augusta. She brought her husband and daughter to the bike check in to check out the atmosphere and wish me luck. She is a runner – a good runner at that. I have had the privilege of running with her and she made me work for every mile we covered… Maybe she will try a Triathlon next =) I dropped Koa off amongst the gaggle of other bikes. Goodness there were some good looking bikes out there! It did feel rather odd leaving the bike there. The officials were asking those that were there to go ahead and get marked to save time in the morning so my number and age were placed on my arms and leg. I sort of thought this was pointless because I knew I was going to be taking a shower before the race but they said if it came off they would just redo it in the morning. Matt, my dad and I walked down to the swim exit so I would get an idea of where I was going once out of the water. The exit was a boat ramp and and I remember thinking running up that after swimming a mile was going to suck. I stood at the end and looked back to where the bike racks were and man it was a long way away. I am not sure if that is normal all I know is the Oly Tri was not that long of a run from swim to bike. I had a moment of panic when I “saw” how long the swim was… I sent KC a text and she reminded me to focus on one buoy at a time just as I had been doing in the pool one 25 meter lap at a time. I know I have swam the distance before but it just seems longer when you can see the whole distance rather than laps in a pool. Anyway, I knew she was right so I put it out of my mind.
My dad and I checking out the swim course.

By this time it was getting rather late so we headed back to the hotel to pick up my mom and my aunt and uncle who had made the trip to watch the race. We all went out to Bonefish grill for dinner. We had to wait an hour before we could get a table but it appeared to be that way every place we passed. I struck up a conversation with a husband and wife who were there for the race (the husband anyway). He was from Tennessee so we got along GREAT! This was also his first 70.3 but he had done several Olympic distance triathlons. I love hearing race stories from other athletes! 

It was a long day. It all worked out in the end which I am rather thankful for! It also wore me out which helped me get over my pre race jitters and sleep. I set my alarm for 4:15 and I was OUT. Next post… Augusta 70.3 Race Day Recap. 

Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Week

Well time flew and Race Week is here. I love race week. It’s a week full of nervous excitement. Am I nervous? Yes but it’s a good kind of nervous. I feel that I am as ready as I can be at this point so I am looking forward to getting out there and “playing”.
I have been struggling to come up with my race expectations. I have a strong competitive side but I also am trying to be realistic so I don’t set myself up for a crushing let down. So my main plan is to go out there and have fun while at the same time attempting to push hard and see where I fall in the end. I will be ecstatic just to finish but I would love to do so in the 6 ½ hour range for my first 70.3. Regardless I am going to go out there with a smile and have fun. I believe it takes experience in order to come up with the best execution plan so I am going to pay close attention to how I feel so I can note where I need more work. Therefore, my dream finish time can be more achievable when I pick out 70.3 race #2. I look at this as a Win Win situation. Now to get out there have some fun and learn!
Taper week has been going rather smooth for me this go around. My first tri, back in May, I was a nervous wreck so I did not taper as well. I have more of the calm before the storm feeling now. Probably because I sort of know what to expect now more so then I did then. I do have a new personal rule I will share:
  • No heavy lifting, esp. legs 1 1/2 weeks before the race.
My old “rule” was the week of the race = no more lifting. Well going by this self made rule I lifted hard and heavy last week (non race week) and have been paying for it in my legs the last 5 days. So that being said I changed my rule and have learned my lesson. I took Tuesday off completely from all activities just to give my legs another free day to stop hurting.
I have changed up my gear since my first tri. I have already introduced you to Koa (Here) my new ride.
We are getting along rather well. I am still adjusting to the aero position but it gets better / more comfortable with each ride. I have not been professionally fitted to my bike simply due to lack of time. It would have been much easier had there been a place here I could have taken it to have done. But I have been tweaking it the best I can and know how. I did a lot of reading on proper fitting and measurements were taken and the bike was adjusted and readjusted. My poor hubby would get home from work and I would be waiting in the garage with the tools so he could do his magic. Bit of background – Matt built bikes as a job when he was working on his bachelor’s degree. So he knows all about the parts and such of the bike not really about fitting someone to it but he has LOT’s of love for patients with me and my “that does not feel right” “that’s needs to be more this way”. Fun times.
I got an interesting package in the mail last week. My dad knows a pro surfer who found out I was doing the Ironman August 70.3 and had his sponsors over at O’Neill send me a sweet wet suit. He promised it would “make me faster”. I thought that was rather awesome! 
Yes I have a tendency to wear my hat a bit sideways.
My Dad sent me some new Brooks T7 running shoes a few weeks ago and I have been enjoying them. So I will probably wear them in the race. My mom sent me a new 2XU outfit. Seriously, I know everyone says this but my PARENTS are AWESOME. They are some of the most supportive people I know and I am so grateful I have them in my corner. 

In 4 days I will hopefully have figured out my Identity crisis (here). My race number is 2817 if you care to stalk me on race day just click (Here).

Good luck to anyone who is racing this weekend! Till next time Keep Smiling!


Taking a leap

I spent two full weeks going back and forth on what I felt I “needed” to do vs. what I felt I “wanted” to do. Thus, I finally came to the conclusion that I tend to over-think things and I should just go where I felt lead. So I signed up for the Augusta 1/2 Ironman that will take place on September 25, 2011. I know I am no where near being ready for such a beast of a race but I can’t help the pull I feel of such a challenge. I honestly don’t have a clue where to even start training for such an event. I know what I need to do running wise since I have trained for the 13.1 miles in solo form but 1. I’M NOT A SWIMMER and 2. While I have enjoyed learning the whole cycling thing I’m not very strong there yet.
The finally push for me came to me in the cartoonist light bulb moment – you know the thoughts you get that just click right into place regardless of the countless hours you have spent searching for the correct answer. You see I have been helping a group, all middle aged gentlemen police officers, with their fitness desires. Some are wanting to be stronger, others just wanting to be healthy and feel better, and a few who just want to be able and run their first 5K (which a couple have done now =)). Anyway, I have written some lifting plans and I run with a group after work for as long as they want to run and at their pace. I have been doing this for about 8 months now. Anyway, I can remember at the beginning all the self doubts and fears they shared with me about starting a fitness plan. I did not always know the right thing to say but I would try and I know they look to me for support and motivation when it comes to their fitness. I don’t know why I am not an expert at all in the area I just love anything to do with fitness and I guess that just tends to radiate off me at times. Anyway, it hit me.. Here I am telling these guys that sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zone in order to achieve something we want to achieve and yet I was struggling with the exact same thing I am preaching to them about. So there I was thinking how can I attempt to help them overcome their fears of training, distance, pace, whatever if I can’t first say I have overcome my own. Just seems to be slightly hypocritical of me to do. So there you have it sometimes those light bulb moments are for the best. Ironman 70.3 Augusta I’m coming for you!

Lake Oconee Olympic Triathlon Race Report.

After a few days of mentally absorbing this race I have finally found some time to sit down and write out my race report. I had gone over to the race start on Friday May 20th in order to pick up my race packet. While I was there the crew was setting everything up so I stood around for a little while and tried to make mental notes on where everything was so that when I arrived the next morning I would not be walking around looking lost. I went down to the water where they were setting up the big yellow inflatable marker. I stood there for a while being mesmerized by how far out the marker seemed. I remember thinking to myself over and over “I have to swim that far twice there is no way”. I have said it before and I will say it again I am not a swimmer by any stretch of the imagination. I have gotten better but I am far from being consistently good. Anyway, when I realized I was mentally panicking I turned around and walked away. I found out the transition area opened up at 5am in order for those participating to set up their gear. So I left and attempted to push the swim portion as far from my mind as possible. I went back to the house and had a grill out with my family and some friends that have driven in. I cooked the meal Jason from Cook, Train, Eat, Race sent me, The Blue Line Runner Risotto, which was a HIT I must say. I hung out and talked with everyone before going to bed around 9:30.

Like most people the pre-race excitement had me tossing and turning all night. I got up before my alarm went off at 4:30 and showered, dressed, and headed downstairs to have my cup of coffee and some chow. I think I was only able to drink 1/2 the cup and eat one piece of toast with peanut butter, agave nectar, and a banana. I was just to nervous to eat anything else. My husband, Mathew, had come downstairs by this time and asked me if I was ready. I don’t think I even answered him just shrugged my shoulders and walked to the truck to make sure my transition bag and bike were there.

We got to the park around 6:15 and there were only a handful of people there which I found surprising. I sort of thought we were running late since it opened at 5. Mathew inspected my bike gears once again for me since I had some issues with the front gears the day before and put the right amount of air in my tires (he is just the BEST). I got my bag and bike and walked into the transition area. As soon as I got in I noticed they had names on each spot in order of your number. I was number 21 so I found my spot which was on the outside right by the bike exit (remember this part). I got my spot all set up and one of the race crew walked over and put my numbers on me. I almost had to show the lady my ID when I told her I was 28 not 18.  I did not have a clue you had your age put on your left leg I am still not really sure why its there…  The only thing I can figure is so that you can look for others in your age group in case you are attempting to place in your AG. (For those of you that know why you are marked with your age can you tell me?) My family, all 13 that came, kept asking me why I had a 28 on my leg and 21’s on my arms =). For some reason the race crew had missed # 20s spot so when he got there there was a little issue with spacing. We were on top of each other and instead of turning his bike opposite of mine he turned his the same way which literally left them touching each other. I thought about switching mine but If I had I would have messed up #22.. so I just left it alone.

Once I was done setting up my little spot I started walking around and stretching. I glanced at the water once but looked away and tried to just remind myself I was not trying to win anything just finish. As I was walking around a camera man came up and asked if he could have an interview. I thought he was joking at first why in the world would he want to interview me. But he was being serious so I stood there and answered his questions. Once he learned this was my first Triathlon he went insane with questions and kept commenting on how “hard” (his words not mine) this course was. Seriously that is not the best thing to hear when your trying not to be nervous. After all that was done it was time to get into my wetsuit and head down to… the dang water. Here we go!

Swim: 44:21
The part I was the most nervous about. I just wanted to get it over with. So as we are standing there waiting on the instructions there was a lady standing next to me who taped me on the arm and said “do we have to swim to both of those yellow things?”. I was looking at her and realized she had just said “both” I was sort of confused because I had only seen one but I looked at where she was pointing and there it was another yellow marker off to the left of the one I had seen. CRAP. I turned around and located Mathew in the crowd I think he saw the fear in my eyes because the next thing I know he was at my side. I pointed at the marker and said I think I have to swim to both of those things… Twice. He said yeah but there is no need to worry you have this gave me a hug a good luck and walked away. To late to worry now I just have to do it however I can find the way to do it. Honestly, I am sort of glad I did not know till seconds from the start I think had I seen it much sooner I would have checked myself in for a mental evaluation. The buzzer went off and we hit the water. I got hit a few times I hit a few people I think that is just par for the course. It seemed like it took me forever to settle down. When I finally felt like I was settling down we had to exit the water, run around a flag, and get back into the water for lap #2. I was still worn out from lap #1 but I got back in for lap #2 which hyped me up again and I found myself trying to settle down once again. I don’t know what else to say about the swim other than I have got to get stronger at swimming. Surprisingly I was not last out of the water. I was SOOOO happy to be done with that part! As can be seen by the smile on my face! I did a whole combination of swimming techniques some of which were made up on the spot but all I cared about was moving and not drowning.

T1: 2:42
I had gotten my wetsuit almost all off before getting to my bike but I had to sit down and pull the rest of it off. I had to almost crawl under my bike to get my bike shoes because they had gotten hit, moved, or something by #22. I doubt he meant to we were just that close. My family was standing there talking with me about the swim as I was putting my shoes on. That helped calm me down a little. I told them I would see them in a few and started to head out. Well me and my brilliance ran all the way to the run exit until I realized my family was yelling at me that I was going the wrong way. Yep, remember when I said I was right by the bike exit well I screwed that one up. I went to the opposite end had to turn around and go back to the other end. Sigh, I could not help but laugh at this mistake! Live and learn.

Bike: 1:41:41
That was a tough 25 mile ride. Lots of hills but wonderful views. I was hoping for a time in the area of 1:15 but once I saw the amount of hills I knew that was not going to happen. There was an officer at each intersection during the whole ride to stop traffic for us. I made sure I said thanks to each one of my Brothers and Sisters in Blue not that they knew I was one of them I was just very thankful I did not have to stop. There were lots of turns that were at the very bottom of hills which meant I had to slow down before the turn only to be faced with an instant uphill clime. Due to this I was forced to use my front gears which I have never needed before. Well I must say I found my bikes flaw. When I tried to switch the front gears it was a mess I had to spend time trying to get the gears back in the right place which meant my legs were working on double time. I had discovered this flaw while on a ride the day before with Mathew in the hills. He worked on them as much as he could but said ultimately it was due to the low end of the bike. I see a new bike in the very near future. I was trying to save as much of my legs as possible because of the six mile run I still had facing me but my legs were already beginning to burn esp in my thighs. I passed a few people on the bike leg and was passed by one guy who came out of nowhere (Kevin you will meet him later on). I was impressed at how fast he seemed to be going. I had only taken one water bottle with me and I had finished it just before I turned into the camp grounds. I used one Gu as soon as I got on the bike which gave me the rush I was hoping for and lasted the entire ride.

T2: 1:13
I ran into the transition area and attempted to lift my bike into place. My bike is very light but for some reason at this point it felt like it weighed 50 pounds. I started laughing because I had to use both arms to pick it up and place it on the bar. Maybe I was delusional I don’t know. I had noticed that the sun was out in full it had to be near 90 at this point because it was HOT out. I grabbed my race belt, garmin, running hat,  and switched into my running shoes. Mathew and my mom where there cheering me on. I took off once again.

Run: 1:08:30

I am very thankful for the bricks I had done during my training because that feeling of running right after a ride is insane. It took me a moment to get into my stride as soon as I found it I instantly knew the run was not going to go as I had planed. I had not gotten a mile into the run before my left thigh went into fits of cramps. I had to stop mid stride and try to stretch it out. A guy, Kevin (The fast bike guy), came up and stopped to check on me. I told him I was okay just had a cramp and for him to keep going. He told me that if it was okay by me he would walk with me for a little while because he was not feeling so well after drinking so much lake water =). I started walking and after about 200 feet I felt like I could start running again so we started running. I was doing fine for a little while till my thigh began cramping again. So for the rest of the run part I had to do a run walk ratio depending on when I had a cramp. I was passing people and I almost cried each time I had to stop and walk out another fit of cramps. I can’t recall a race in which I have ever waked. Running is my thing and I was counting on that to finish the race strong. Of all the races I have done this was by far the most difficult hill race ever. I would find it extremely challenging just as a 10K alone. I got to the 5 mile marker and told myself I was not going to stop anymore for any reason until I crossed the finish line. I saw another runner a little bit in front of me and I set my sights on their back and took off. As I rounded the corner and the finish line came into view my dad, also a runner and wonderful supporter, was there telling me I was almost done he ran right beside me making sure not to touch me. I was in intense pain my left thigh was in knots and I had acquired a new cramp on the back of my right thigh. I know my stride had to look funny.. My dad, family, people I don’t know went wild yelling at me to keep going. So that is what I did I kept going till I crossed the line.

Overall Time: 3:38:25

I had such a mix of emotions after crossing the line. My family was all there giving me hugs, water, and congratulating me. Mathew greeted me with the biggest smile, a dozen yellow roses, and a necklaces that is a triangle that says TRI in the middle. Seriously, I love that guy to death!  My mind was just numb I don’t think I could comprehend that I had just finished something I had once only dreamed about. A finishers medal was placed around my neck and I remember thinking of all the medals I have acquired over the years this one felt truly earned. I felt like everyone was probably ready to go back to the house and get some lunch since they had been there watching me all day but my cousin Amy kept saying “no we can’t leave till after the awards ceremony”. I kept saying there was no need to stay since I just wanted to finish and was not going to be getting any awards. She insisted so we hung out for a while. We made our way to the tent for the awards ceremony and cheered for those that were getting awards. Then they got to the female age group 25-29 and I was talking with Mathew about something when I heard 2nd place goes to Summer Bailey. My first thought was wow that’s odd there are two Summer Baileys… Then it hit me they were calling me. My family went wild and began pushing me forward. I was in shock. The lady who I had met at the swim (the one who pointed out the second marker) came over and hugged my neck telling me how impressed she was with me. She was also doing her first Tri and I had informed her it was my first time as well back at the water. As I was walking away I could hear others saying can you believe that was her first Triathlon.

If I was not in shock already I received an email Monday form the race directors stating there had been an issue with my time chip and after a recalculation I had not come in 2nd place in my AG but 1st WHAT… So they are sending me a gold medal in the mail.
Its been a couple of days since the race and my mind has yet to comprehend what I just did. All I know is that I want to do it again. I want to be faster, better, stronger for the next time. For all of you that wished me luck before the race Thank you. I could not have done it without you! Now to figure out what to do next.

I’m Ready!

It’s been a week. Or shall I say its been an interesting two weeks. Last week was supposed to be my final “big numbers” training week but I was sidelined for the most of the week due to a sudden, out of nowhere, uninvited infection. Doctor told me I had caught it just in time before it turned to strep so I dodged a bullet there. Anyway I did not get much training done because I was so afraid I was going to make myself sicker and I did not want to chance not being able to participate in the Triathlon.
This week was set to be my taper week. I am not the best at tapering and I have found it’s even harder for me when the taper week falls after such a low almost no performance week. I was able to make it to Greensboro, Ga on Tuesday afternoon and have spent the past 4 days training in the hills and checking out the bike and run race routes. I have learned a few things since having arrived.
First, expect the unexpected. I did not even remotely think I would need a wetsuit by this time of year esp. in Georgia. However, when I got in the water I realized it was freezing.  The temps have been in the upper 90s but there has been a cold front that moved in around the end of last week and has stayed. Anyway I got in the water and I rather quickly removed myself. This was on Wednesday. So I did what anyone would do in my situation, panic, I sought out some advice from an expert in the field, KC of 140 Point 6 Miles of Awesome.  I don’t know what I would have done without her help. Within an hour she had sent me to the Xterra website and told me her recommendation, the Vortex 3 full sleeve, along with finding a coupon allowing me to get the wetsuit at ½ the price. It does not get better than that! Today has been the first day it has been warm and by warm its back in the 80’s and the weather people are saying lower 90s for race day. Depending on what the temp of the water is tonight I may not even get to wear the suit. But I dang sure have one now if the water temps don’t reach 78.
Second, Valdosta, Ga is FLAT. I had done some training on hills around there but let me say the hills there are the flat part here. I drove the bike and run course and I could not believe I was about to attempt anything other than driving a car on such hills. But it is what it is and I am not going to let it hinder my attempt.
Third, there are some amazingly supportive and inspiring people that will go out of their way to help a “stranger”. Sure I help people but it’s my job, I get paid to do it. What I truly find inspiring are those that do it just out of the kindness of their heart. Since having joined blogger I have been very fortunate to have “met” some of these people. I feel as if I have been accepted into a community of others that share a common interest and are not out to say “Hey, look at me I’m better than you” but more like “Hey, how can I help you get to where you want to be”. I find so much inspiration from these people and if you’re reading this you more than likely are one of the people I am referring too. Kc, as I have mentioned before, has been one of the most inspiring, motivating, helpful people I think I have ever met. Another blogger, Jason, who writes the blog Cook, Train, Eat, Race, go check out his site he was kind enough to produce this menu for me yesterday. Amazing!!! There are so many more to mention. For each of you that have sent me motivation Thank you it has kept me focused and consistent in my effort at reaching my goals.
I have so much more to share but I need to head over to the park and pick up my race packet. My family has driven in and we are having a grill out tonight burgers for them and spaghetti for me with Jason’s The Blue Line Runner Risotto!
Hopefully, tomorrow I will have finished something I have dreamed about doing for some time now. If I’m last I don’t think I will ever care because I will have finished. With that said next time I sign on I hope to have EARNED a new title.