Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ironman florida 2012 ...the afterthoughts

i was going to do a cartwheel but thought i might kill myself so i played it safe and did a Matty-O double bicep pose instead.

after every race, especially the long one's like an ironman, you start to immediately make mental notes of things to do the same and the things that you definitely don't want to repeat. none on my list are do or die items but they hopefully will allow for an awesome race day and an easy, chillaxin post race experience. i also start thinking about what's next and can't wait to experiment with some new training modes without the fear of injuring myself before an important race such as an ironman. it's like a new found freedom.  

first thing i will do next year before dropping off my T1/T2 bags is to write my number really big with a black sharpy. if you drop off special needs bags, which i did not do, don't forget to put your number on those bags as well. last year was uneventful as far as retrieving my bags after the race, this year not so much. i still do not have my wetsuit, goggles, cap and other items like sunscreen, bodyglide, etc ...apparently, the humidity caused a lot of the race numbers (stickers) to fall off the bags. when i went to get my bag after the race, they looked and looked but couldn't find it so they asked me to come back in the morning because it would be much easier to find then. no big deal to me. i go back the next morning, which was much easier because by now, most bags had been picked up, but mine was still nowhere to be found. thankfully, when i first bought my wetsuit, i wrote my name and phone number on the inside flap. some wetsuits have a designated area to write in your info, some don't. if you have a place to write your contact info, do it! the race director and i were discussing my missing bag and that was the first thing he asked, "did you write your info on your wetsuit?" he said he was surprised how many people with wetsuits that cost well over $500, don't write in their contact information. truth be told, when we were heading back to the condo to pack up and leave, i told the J-Man, i really didn't care if i ever got that wetsuit back because i didn't like it anyway, so there. i couldn't think of a better excuse to buy a new (better fitting) one. maybe they all fit like crap, i don't know. i just know that i hate wearing a wetsuit. about an hour into our trip heading back home, i got a call from a 727 area code, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from my 813 area code. low and behold, a very nice triathlete, whom i have never met but we both have many mutual friends, called to say she recognized the name on my wetsuit as we are on several of the same email lists, and she would bring it home with her. our goal is to meet up on friday so she can unload my very smelly wetsuit.  

on that note, does anyone want to buy said wetsuit from me for a really good deal? it is a women's small/medium full xterra vortex, used exactly 4 times. see it below ...

the second thing i would do differently would be to safety pin not just my chip but my watch band as well. i lost my watch about 10 minutes into the swim and had to go watchless the entire race. did it hinder me? i would say no. in fact, after much thought, i think the way the weather played out that day, it was best for me not to have a watch. as soon as i felt the watch fall off, i told myself that, it was meant to be and to just carry on. i actually use the watch to time my eating and drinking so i had to improvise and use the computer on the bike as my guide, which worked out just fine. i found myself doing the nutrition and hydration by instinct so i probably could have winged it completely without any sort of timing device. 

the third thing i would do differently is to get a condo unit on a lower level. it makes coming and going much easier as you don't have to wait as long for the elevator. we were on the 18th floor. goal for next year is to get a unit no higher than the 12th floor. this is specific to this condo we stayed at, called The Shores of Panama, which i would highly recommend. i would also recommend Sunbird as well. i heard that LakeTown Wharf is great too but it is not on the water like the others i mentioned, but it's only a walk across the street to hit the beach. they are all within a half mile, so walking distance of the host hotel where the expo is and where the race starts and finishes. i would warn you to not stay at the host hotel ...icky and noisy! that's all i have to say on that. 

the fourth thing i learned was that i like eating shot blocks way more than powerbars so i am retiring the powerbars for good. gels and blocks from here on out. the only problem i see is that i really love the blocks so much so, that i have been eating them for no reason. they are addicting and i'm sure we will find out one day that they put some addictive ingredient (like the tobacco industry did with cigarettes) in those yummy shot blocks. that reminds me, i need to hit up Target today to buy more ...i am training for a marathon you know!

there are many thing i will not change, such as my training. despite not beating my time from last year, my training was solid, i never slacked, and in the end, i did have a good race. after getting very ill in february, it took a good 2 months before i felt like i could train without feeling super fatigued. i never really felt like my running returned to where i left off. the biking and swimming pretty much did, so not all was lost. still trying to dig up that lost running speed because the Disney Marathon is less than 8 weeks away. 

speaking of the Disney Marathon, my pal and virtual training partner for the race, Karen, at working it out blog sent me the Hal Higdon 8 week training plan for those who have recently run a marathon (sort of the same but my marathon was not stand alone) and have to get ready to run another one soon. so far, so good. i did my long run for the week, 8.25 miles (don't laugh) this morning and it was not easy. physically and mentally, it's hard but i like the way the plan is laid out because it seems to me that the way Hal has it all planned out, it will ease me through this "still recovering from an IM" phase without having a meltdown.  Click HERE to see the plan i am following. what i love most about this plan is that it's simple. i need simple. once i start seeing acronyms and 400's, 800's, i'm mentally checking out. give me miles and let me go about my merry way. 
as soon as ironman florida was over, i could hardly wait to get back to my weight training ways. i was able to incorporate the weights into my first 2 IM's but as i mentioned before, with the whole getting sick and i swear i had post virus fatigue for a long time after, i couldn't find the extra energy to fit all the swimming, biking, and running in, so the weight training went out the window and yes, it made me mad. i missed it. now with all that crazy training volume behind me, i have jumped right back into the weight training except now i have adopted a more "crossfit" way of training. i have never been one to participate in a class or group setting. it's just not in my DNA. i do not get along well with others ...kidding, maybe. anyway, so i have created my own at home crossfit workouts and i love them! i have been having so much fun creating my own workouts and kicking my own ass, it's ridiculous. the best part of all is that i didn't have to buy anything because i already have everything i could possibly need, just add creativity and you got a hell-a-good workout! in less than 2 weeks, i can already feel and see a difference. the neighbors that come out to get their newspapers at 5:30am look around to see where all the ruckus is coming from. good morning sleepy head neighbors! yep, that would be me jumping rope or doing walking lunges in front of my house! 

thanks for reading, much love and peace out friends!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ironman florida 2012 race report

sunset from our balcony
i can't bring myself to type up the usual, split into 3 days worth of swim/bike/run race report, but what i can do is present a summary of my race experience intertwined with other happenings and observations that occurred along the way.
  • rolled into PCB around 3:30pm on thursday. a little later than planned but it worked out great as it seemed most athletes had already done the mandatory check in, which had to be done by 5pm. i walked right in the check in tent, no line (unusual to not have a line at an IM event), got my wrist band, really nice gear bag, timing chip, swim cap, etc. 
  • after check in we went to our condo located a 1/2 mile from where the race starts and finishes. mental note, this condo is in a great location, will stay there again next year. by the way, it is totally worth it to rent a condo versus going the hotel route. it ended up only costing about $20 more overall and we had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, full kitchen, washer, dryer, linens, and a view of the gulf of mexico to die for.  
  • next stop, quick trip to walmart right across the street. this eliminated the need to eat restaurant food for every meal. i was able to eat like i normally would and during a race week, that is very important. walmart was also a lifesaver on 2 occasions. i don't race with my garmin (i'll tell you why later) but instead i just use a basic timex ironman watch and keep an eye on my overall race time. well, the dang watch decides to fall apart on my easy 2 mile run the day before. I was running with Summer and we had a good laugh when it happened. i told her, no prob, i'll either go buy a new one at walmart or maybe just a new band will suffice. the other save my life event was for unknown reasons, i started to breakout with itchy hives on thursday night, so J-man darted over to the W-Mart and bought me some liquid benadryl; disaster averted. 
  • so i don't race with my garmin. why? i have read on many forums about way too many people losing them in the swim. i would be so pissed if i lost a $400 watch. J-Man overheard a few people mention that they had lost their garmin's during the swim on Saturday. i don't mind losing a $30 timex ironman watch, which is exactly what ended up happening on Saturday. the new band made of velcro came undone and in the middle of all the chaos, i'm trying to secure it. i did that about 3 times and finally just had to say, F it, if it slips off, it won't be the end of the world. before the first turn buoy for lap one, the watch and i bid our farewells and i wondered how many watches were down there in the watch graveyard. 
Summer B and Shorty KC
  • friday, the day before the race was very uneventful, which is exactly how i planned it. did my 2 mile shake out run with Summer as i mentioned earlier and J-Man took his parent's around town and they did lots of walking, sight seeing type things. after the run, i walked down to the main IM tent to register for next year's race. last year, i waited until the day after the race to register and man was i glad i didn't wait until Sunday this time because it was the longest line ever. longer than last year. after that, i met up with a bunch of bloggers and made some new friends, then went back to the condo to grab Mandy (my bike), T1 and T2 bag so i could check them in before the 3pm deadline. 
J-Man sitting in his favorite beach chair

blogger and friend meet up

Rinny sighting!
  • i used my left over special needs bags from last year and made up my T1 and T2 bags before i left Tampa so the only thing i needed to do was transfer everything over to the official race bags. i highly recommend doing this if you are like me. i am highly organized but start to lose my mind and all common sense when it gets closer to race day. 
  • i slept really well on friday night which i never do before a race, so i was very happy about that. i planned on waking up at 4:30am but some alarm (unrelated to any of the 3 alarms i had set) kept going off around 4am. J-man went outside to check and said it was an alarm a few floors above us and lights were flashing. he said he didn't see smoke or fire so i went about my normal race morning routine. i ate a 3 egg white omelet and 2 slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, then gathered all of my stuff (wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, watch, water, gel) and off we all went for our 1/2 mile walk to the start. 
  • i got over to body marking around 5:30am, then went to check on my bike, no flats thank you Jesus, stuck my cell phone in my aerobag, then met up with J-man and his parent's again, put my wetsuit on and walked down to the shore. it was already 73 degrees. first thing that jumped into my head when i looked at the water ...

"The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli."
- George Costanza, in "The Marine Biologist"

  • as angry as that sea was, i knew i would be fine. somehow i have tricked myself into believing, "it's just like swimming in the pool." laugh all you want but it has worked for me. i won't lie, it took about 1/2 mile for me to feel settled in but i never felt panicked or scared. the swells were incredible, which made sighting a little tricky and i felt incredibly dizzy. nonetheless, i kept telling myself to just keep moving ahead and that i'd be on my bike soon. as i mentioned earlier, my watch slipped off around the 0.4 mark and instead of getting discombobulated, i told myself that maybe it was a sign from above that it was best i didn't have a watch on today, so i just let it go and didn't think about it again. about a minute after going all Zen with the watch incident, someone grabbed my goggles and pulled them down, so i had to quickly get them back on, which i did without any problem. my eyes stung from the salt water getting in them but i quickly forgot about it and kept on moving forward. 
  • last year i saw a million, huge jellyfish, this year, only 1 itty bitty one. the water was not as clear this year and that was fine by me as i heard several people saw sharks under them at last year's swim. the 2nd lap was a little less crowded but i did manage to get a soft kick in the jaw on the way in. i quickly stumbled out of the water like i was drunk. normally i am always a little off balance when i get out of a swim, even at the pool, but this was a little more than usual. i made it up the long transition to the wetsuit strippers (love them) and ran through where the T1 bags were, was quickly handed my bag and then ran into the hotel where the women's T1 area was set up. thankfully, i had a volunteer all to myself, she dumped my bag out and i put on my helmet, sunglasses and race belt as she sprayed me down with sunscreen, she put one sock on my foot as i did the other sock, slipped my shoes on, said a huge THANK YOU and out i went to get Mandy. definitely not as smooth as last year but finally got Mandy and headed out, jumped on at the mount line and we were on our way.
  • all this time i had no idea what my time was but was somewhat disappointed when i saw the clock heading out on the bike and it read 1:45:??. i thought, my god, that swim really did kill me. thankfully, my mind wasn't that out of whack and i remembered that the time started when the pro's started so it was about 15-20 minutes ahead, so i cut myself some slack and didn't give it anymore thought. 
  • on the bike, i immediately washed my salty mouth out with water, drank some powerade and got settled in. as usual, i started eating about 15 minutes into the ride and thereafter eating about every 30 minutes and drinking every 10 minutes. i really made sure to not screw up on hydrating because it was hot and getting hotter and sunnier by the minute. i never had to stop on the bike, just grabbed what i needed from the volunteers as i rolled by them. the wind is always a factor at IMFL and did not disappoint. mostly the last 20 miles were the worst but i just tried to stay mindful that i had a marathon to run after so blowing up my legs on the last 20 miles to keep a 20mph average or to maybe make up about 5 minutes on time, would not be too smart. thankfully, i did not witness any crashes or near misses but as usual, did see lots of drafting and loved when they got caught, ha-ha!

heading back with 1/2 mile to go
  • i was so glad to finally get off of the bike. weird thing that happened was there were about 7 volunteers standing around waiting to grab your bike as you came in and i walked right by all of them like i was invisible. someone yelled at them, "someone get her bike!!" then they woke up and someone grabbed my bike and i hauled ass into the hotel to get my T2 bag. uneventful here, just put on visor and running shoes, a quick spray down with sunscreen and a quick pee stop at the port-o-potty.

  • i knew within the first 5 minutes of the run that it was going to be brutal because of the heat and that i would have to come up with a plan of attack to make it through without looking like the walking dead by the end. the plan was, walk through every aid station, sip some water, dump rest on head and arms, drink a few sips of Perform or coke, dump one cup of ice in tri top, and hold some ice in each hand. repeat again at next aid station. i did this the entire time and it helped tremendously. i learned the ice in the hands thing recently. studies show that holding ice in your hands is one of the best ways to keep your core temp down. who knew? the first lap was hard with the heat but the second lap was better with the sun finally starting to set. i saw lots of people i knew along the run route and want to thank all of them for the shout outs. they helped me so much and lifted my spirits. i got a lot of compliments on the Betty designs tri kit i was wearing too. 
HOT! The weather, not me.
  • the last mile was the best. as much as i wanted to do a cartwheel across the finish line, there was no way my legs would tolerate that. i would have surely ended up on my ass, so i opted for the double bicep pose instead. i also let all the racers in front of me go ahead to give me my space this year because last year, i was dwarfed by all the people around me, so it was hard to see me finish.
  • guess who never once knew what her race time was, even after she finished the race? me! i had to ask the person who was catching if she happened to see my finish time. honestly, had you asked me what i thought it was, i would have guessed 13 hours, so i was pleasantly surprised when i turned around to look at the clock and see 11:41. i knew it was a few minutes under that time and was thrilled considering how hard the day was. 
  • as much as i would have liked to have beaten last year's time, i was not at all mad or disappointed. i proudly claim my time of 11:39:47.

here is the comparison of last year's race and this year's:

2011:                                                                 2012:
S - 1:20:30                                                        1:21:42
T1 - 8:26                                                               8:36
B - 5:43:16                                                        5:41:29
T2 - 4:49                                                                4:59
R - 4:08:28                                                        4:23:01
Finish: 11:25:29                                                 11:39:47

i had a great time this year and can't wait to do it again next year but hopefully with cooler temps!

much love and peace out!