My first Triathlon
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70F / 21C
= 15h 41m 1s
Age Group Rank
Signed up for my third Ironman with my girls Linda
) and Amber
). Trained fairly well all spring/summer, but felt it didn't take quite as much priority as it has in years past. Flew into Oakland Thursday afternoon meeting Linda and Dave there. Drove to Santa Rosa, stopping at a beer garden for dinner in some crazy traffic
(re-inforcing why I will never live in California
). Put bikes together Thursday night
) and settled in to our gorgeous vacation rental home.
Friday I did a quick check run early
) before heading to the BT coffee meet up with blastman and triguybri. Headed to the athlete meeting, expo, check-in and run drop off. A grocery trip and quick change of clothes and then it was time for dinner with my whole family! I did NOT like my GF pizza - didn't eat all of it and left kind of hungry
). So good to see my family, who flew in from Kansas and Illinois by the way, and get a dose of overwhelming support before the race. Before bed I put on my wetsuit and Amber helped cut the neckline so it wouldn't choke me so much, it helped so much - wish I would have done that years ago.
Slept honestly only about 2 hours the night before the race, was hungry all night. Got up at 3:15 a.m. and snarfed down a GF bagel with peanut butter. Loaded the car up and Casey was kind to drive us to the race start. Set up transition smoothly, pottied, and said hi to my family. Got into my wetsuit and headed to the water!
Didn't realize we were the 3rd wave so it seemed really quick from the time the pro's went off. No time to be nervous or fret about much.
1h 20m 59s
01m 55s / 100 yards
All women 30-44 seemed like a lot for one wave, and the river is narrow so I was prepared for some contact at the start. Had a little, but nothing aggressive. From the very start I kept feeling what felt like strands of HAIR running past my fingers and on my face. I think it was seaweed but it was distracting.
Stood up to clear the fog out of my goggles about 3/4 of the way on the first out stretch but didn't dally - I know I'm faster swimming than walking. At the turnaround you really almost had to stand up so I did. Tried some dolphin dives but it was even too shallow do so those. The back stretch was with the current so went by quicker - it was fun seeing the residents out on their docks bundled up drinking coffee and watching us. I was tempted to wave at them :
Coming into the end of the 1st loop there was a big crowd on the beach and I tried to look for my family on each breath - didn't see them but I knew they had to be close by. Starting the 2nd loop I reached up and high-fived the flags above me, ha!
2nd loop was fun and uneventful. I just really enjoyed swimming and this first part of a very long day. It's my favorite part of every race and this was no exception. Coming to the end of the swim I was sad to exit the water but ECSTATIC that my watch read 1:20.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. I am freakishly consistent on my swims despite how much or how little training I put in. This was done on an average of less than 1 swim a week. Past Ironmans I've swam 2 and 3x per week and had swim times within 1-2 minutes of this one. Schwing.
Wetsuit stripper - check! Run
) to my rack - check! Wave at family - check!
T1 was MUDDY and COLD. Used my hand towel to mop off the river water and noted that my hair felt like it was coated in baby oil - no idea what that was but gross. Took a minute to pull on my Target socks arm warmers and the only gloves I could find in Santa Rosa the day before - they were green gardening gloves and looked hilariously cartoonish. I just went with it, whatever. I wasn't about to let my hands go numb for vanity's sake.
Picked up my sunscreen but my arms were already covered with arm warmers so skipped it. Shoved everything back into my bag and headed out.
It was weird doing T1 not in a tent out in the open!
What would you do differently?:
Nothing except bring my own gloves to start the bike. Feel like this is a good T1 time considering I had to walk my bike quite a ways to the Bike Out. I ran when I could but traffic backed up on the carpet and didn't want to get mud in my bike cleats.
7h 46m 4s
All smiles starting the bike and seeing my family - I was cold as the temps were below 60 degrees but knew I would warm up soon enough. This was the ride of blubbering for me - right out of the shoot I was so happy and tears started coming out of my eyes without my permission. I made a point to look around early and soak in the scenery as I knew I'd be too tired to appreciate it later on the ride.
The first part of this seemed mostly downhill and I felt like I was flying. So lovely and so much fun! I noted there was no wind, which just tickled me pink coming from Kansas - land of the 30mph sustained winds. I rode in aero when I could but the roads were so badly maintained that the jostling made this nearly impossible on a lot of stretches. A few rolling hills through wine country. Loved passing all of the vinyards and reading what kinds of wines they made. Tourists were picking blackberries on the side of the road and there were groups of tourist cyclists and serious cyclists as well. So much fun! Saw Brenda and Todd at one of the turns and that made my day - cried a little after that out of gratefulness.
"The Big Hill", or Chalk Hill, was just before mile 50 and I knew it was coming but didn't know how it would feel. it was long
) and seriously steep, but I made it up safely with smiles. Had to pee bad but didn't want to waste time waiting at a porta potty so I tried hard to pee standing up on the bike
(no judging, judgy-mc-judgersons
). It took forever to relax enough and even when I did, I couldn't empty my bladder. So I pulled off and behind a big tree just squatted and peed with my shorts on. Gross? Yes. Time-saver? Absolutely.
Back into town to turn around and start the second loop, I was getting warm and the cloud cover had just burned off. At the special needs aid station I asked/yelled if they had sunscreen and they did, so I stopped to throw away my Incredible Hulk gloves and Target sock arm warmers - applied suncreen on my arms, legs and face. Perfect.
The 2nd loop started out okay but by mile 65 my mind and then body started to break down. I was getting tired, bored, and things started to hurt. Took 2 Ibuprofin and started eating chunks of Payday
). Peed in my shorts again at mile 75 and didn't want to get back on the bike. Guuuuh.
Just get to mile 80
(stopped at the aid station
). Just get to mile 90
(stopped at that aid station. Cried.
). So hard. Such bad roads. Mind in a bad place. Cried on and off to myself. Pull it together Lisa!
After mile 90ish a girl I'd been leap frogging for awhile with said something to me as she passed and we kind of talked/yelled back and forth as we passed each other each time - a good distraction and kind of fun. When we came up to Chalk Hill we encouraged each other up it - I really liked having her there. Once I was up that I knew I would make it and, you guessed it, I cried.
The last 12 miles were actually a breeze - kind of downhill so I was moving a bit faster and my spirits lifted considerably. They really did, and I was so relieved. Rode into transition seeing my parents and the kiddos and yelled "Ya'll! I made it!" to the volunteer as I dismounted.
What would you do differently?:
I hate to admit this, but if I want to get faster I need to train with people. I did all but two training rides solo, and the other two were with Linda and we averaged under 15mph on both. I struggle to push myself solo, and elements like 30mph winds and 95-degree heat in training rides deterioriate, well, everything. All excuses for being slow, but I know what I need to do to improve.
As for the race, I let my emotions get the best of me from every end of the spectrum. The negative side really pulled me down and I need to do a better job of managing those feelings and working through them during a race.
We were racked super close to the change tents
) so when I went that way to rack I was re-directed by a volunteer and had to go the LONG way to stay off of the runners path - booo. But OK. I'm not a rule breaker.
Grabbed my bag and went into the hot/stuffy tent with no chairs and no volunteers. Moved as fast as I could, changing shorts, top, socks, shoes, wet wiping, pulling on Cool Wings and visor, putting nutrition in my back pockets, grabbing handheld water bottle. Whew.
Dropped my bag back at my spot and ran out feeling good!
What would you do differently?:
Not sure - I thought this would be quicker but I had a lot to do.
6h 17m 32s
14m 24s min/mile
It felt so good to be off the bike! Waved and high fived at my family - they had so much energy and made me smile so big. Waited till I was out a half mile or so before pulling on my cool wings and wetting them down - those REALLY helped. The plan was, as always, to run the first half before taking big walk breaks. Except this course had 3 un-runabble hills so I knew I'd be walking those too.
Was running well and in good spirits the entire first loop. I was hot, and taking in Gatorade at each aid station, filling my hand held bottle with ice and water. I pee'd sometime in the first 3 miles, not exactly sure where
(I used a porta potty LOL
). The hills were exponentially worse than I imagined. LIke I said, 3 of them are simply un-runnable, and the rest is pretty much always going up or down. The first loop I could run in the slight inclines so felt great about that. Ran for a bit with a guy in an Oregon top, we chatted for a bit and he was super nice. He was on his 2nd loop already.
Saw the family starting the second loop, got my first wristband and chugged back out knowing the 2nd loop would mentally be the toughest. Ate a mint-chocolate GU more out of obligation than desire. Ran into Oregon guy again and we stuck together for almost this entire loop! He was so nice and we were on the same pace/run/walk schedule. We talked about lots of stuff and are both in PR so that was cool. Near the end of this loop I let him go at a walk break so he could try to beat 13 hours. Nice. Sometime in the 2nd loop I switched from Gatorade to Coke, and took in a few grapes that tasted heavenly. Stomach was getting weird like it always does and I was not feeling any nutrition AT ALL, but was doing great taking in water. Also ran into my Chalk Hill girl around this time and we decided to try and run together - she was hilariously funny to me!
Coming into the turnaround I got my 2nd wristband and a glow necklace and my family was there and they'd started a "GO LISA GO" chant with the crowd - SO AWESOME!!! My Mom cowbelled so much her hand started to bleed! They were so uplifting it was hard to be so tired and see them so happy for me. ONE MORE LOOP we all told each other. ONE MORE.
Me and Chalk Hill girl chugged along together, chatting about random-ness and laughing together. The sun started to go down and it cooled off a ton. My IT band was starting to give out and I knew that was trouble.
At mile 20 I stopped to pee for only the second time on the run and when I came out I saw Amber coming the other way. She was cutting it close on cut-offs and told me she wasn't going to make it. I teared up with her a little as I know it was hard for her - gave her a big hug and had to keep moving. After that, my IT Band just quit on me. I slathered an entire pack of Bio Freeze on it and it did NOTHING. Just had to manage it the best I could. I also started to eat a Salty Caramel GU and my gag/vomit reflex was activated. Somehow I nursed most of it down but it was not enjoyable.
At the last turnaround I had to turn on my light to see - it was pitch black out there and the roads were not smooth. I felt bad for people without lights. 4 miles to go and I knew I'd be walking most of it. I'd try to run but only make it 20 or 30 steps at a time before having to stop. Finally relented to just walking around mile 24 - I walked with a volunteer for a while heading to another aid station and chatted with her to pass the time. Around this part of the night I decided I probably don't want to do another Ironman. Possibly ever. Not in a bad/negative way, just that my body is not made for this. And I'm OK with that.
At mile 25 I really tried to run here and there to get to the finish line as quick as I could. My spirits lifted considerably when I saw streetlights and knew I was close. Once I saw the finish chute I started a slow jog - I knew this wouldn't be like an IM-branded finish line but to my surpirse there were actually quite a few people out there! I saw my Oregon buddy he said "Lisa! You're finishing!" and I said "Yeah! Who are you??" before I realized it was my buddy and he'd showered and came back to see the finish.
Around and around and around the chute and here I am - crossing the recognition matt at my 3rd Ironman. I checked to see if anyone was behind me
) and waved at my family on the right-hand side all smiles. The announcer called my name and I ran through the finish line tape
) and finally got to stop moving.
What would you do differently?:
Magically have my IT Band not hurt or seize up. Other than that, my run training was great, even getting in two 3-hour runs. My mind and endurance were both there, but my leg did not cooperate.
It was super easy to find my family and give them all the biggest hugs ever. I got my medal and shirt and then a chicken breast. My Oregon run buddy came over to congratulate me and gave me his space blanket - apparently they'd run out?! I was SO grateful for that as it was freezing out.
Saw Linda come in only ~10 minutes behind me and we went to find Amber who unfortunately didn't make the run cutoff for the last loop and was vomiting. The guys had packed up our gear so all we had to do was climb into the Jeep and head home.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Endurance on the bike, hills and IT Band on the run.
You can't beat the venue for this race - though vinyards and great views. Some of the cons, though, are that the roads on the bike are so bad they really affect the race in a negative way. I didn't think there were enough aid stations on the bike and there was enough traffic to make me feel uncomfortable and unsafe in many places - as well as construction around mile 45/90. The run is "more than challenging" hilly - with un-runnable hills but plenty of aid stations
(no chicken broth though
I wouldn't do this race again, but it was a good Bucket List kind of experience.
Last updated: 2012-10-19 12:00 AM
01:20:59 | 4224 yards | 01m 55s / 100yards
2-loops in the Russian River
70F / 21C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:46:04 | 112 miles | 14.40 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:17:32 | 26.2 miles | 14m 24s min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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