Friday, November 3, 2017

IMCDA #7 -- The Sunset Year

It's been two months since Ironman CDA. The last Ironman CDA. It was a late registration for me.  After a couple stressful and busy years, I wasn't sure if I wanted to tackle another long event or take the year off. But, as per usual, as the training progressed so did my desire to race. About a week after I finally pulled the trigger and registered, the rumors started going around about it being the last year for the event in my favorite town. Denial at it's best, I didn't believe it. They still had another year on the contract so surely they would honor that....

Turns out, choosing to race this year is something I'll forever be thankful for. Being able to run down the finish line on Sherman for the last time is truly a blessing. There are a lot of things that made this year so special. I had 3 athletes racing that day, my BFFs in town cheering all day with Shane and what I felt like was a million people rooting for me.

Earlier in the year I set a goal of getting on the podium. Being my 7th year at this race, I felt like I needed to put it out there to entice myself to work a little harder.  Go to the pool when I didn't want to. I know what it takes to be top in the age group, and I know the time and commitment it takes to get to Kona, so that was not the goal (although would have been a nice bonus!), but I wanted to finally stand on that podium in City Beach Park!

About 6 weeks out from the race I was outside hanging laundry to dry and my back went into a complete spasm. I couldn't straighten my back or get comfortable for days. Without my go to ART guy I didn't know what to do. I got 2 massage that week which helped me at least gain some mobility back and I somehow made it through the training. Every minute was painful, but I'm stubborn and couldn't fathom the thought of missing some of the longest workouts. Not something I would ever recommend to one of my own athletes, but sometimes we are all our own worst enemy.

I finally found a chiropractor that would see me without going through a million tests and xrays, etc. He took one looking at me and could tell I was way out of whack. My pelvis was rotated and my right side was 1/2 inch shorter than the other leg. I spent the next 6 weeks doing 2-3 visits a week and finally after about the 3rd week I had relief.... There were many times I wondered if I'd even be able to get through the race, particularly the bike as my right QL would seize up when climbing, but somehow the therapy and at home work I was doing worked and I went into race day feeling GREAT!

Race week was awesome. I had some quiet solo workouts where I took a few moments to visualize and remember how LUCKY I am to GET to do this. I also had some fun and laughter with friends. I spent time reading the book, "How Bad do you want it," early nights in bed and focused on hydration.



One cool thing we do at TeamBSC is ask for post race reflections.  I love looking back at my notes:

~Expectations going in:
My expectations going in were to have a strong bike and run.  
* My swim has felt the least pep and when my back went out it was THE most painful.  I could feel it pushing off the wall all the way into race week.  
* I felt like I've worked really hard on the bike and was determined (weather permitting) to PR this bike course.  I know I'm capable of riding like a 5:50-6 on this course with good weather because I have calculated my efforts on the highway out an back in training.
*  My run hasn't felt great this summer, but in the last 2 weeks I dropped a few more lbs (not intentional, my body just lost all the water weight and swelling + clean eats during taper) got down to wear I was several years ago and just felt FLUID.  Was hopeful I could run 8:45-8:50s until the end where I'd need to walk thru the aid stations and put me over 9' pace.

~How it all went- include pacing and fueling/hydration:
* The swim went better than expected!  I swam side by side Courtney the entire first loop which I think kept me engaged.  I got out a few second before her and I think the excitement of seeing everyone really got my HR up because by the first buoy on the second turn I was out of breath.  I saw Courtney swim up next to me so I stayed with her for a bit, but was working too hard so I pulled behind her and drafted for like 400 yards.  It was JUST what I needed.  It was weird because swimming in her draft made it so easy I was losing form, but it gave me a little break so I just went with it.  On the final turn a couple girls cut across me and got on her feet so I just swam next to her using her to push me.  Turns out she was annoyed by the girls so swam REALLY hard, hence why I had probably the most evenly split lap 2 ever at this. My time was like 9" slower than my best ever here so I'll take it! -- swim time 1:06 and change, 2nd AG

* Onto the bike my legs felt so fresh, I took it really easy to get my HR down from the swim on the first out and back (I wore my fenix the whole race, and when I got out on the bike it showed HR which said 161 and freaked me out so I flipped that screen off and never looked at it again).  I started my nutrition at like 15' in and just kept stuffing my face the whole ride.  I don't have a TON to say about the bike, other than I had NO pep.  My legs weren't tired AT ALL, but my power was low, and I felt like PE was too high to get the watts up (breathing) which was ODD.  I was frustrated that I wasn't hitting my target, but I didn't feel like I could go any harder.  ON loop 2 I got passed by Laura Yost.  She was FLYING. I tried to use her (and did) for a bit, but she was too far ahead.  Then, a little bit later is when Caila passed me, but I repassed her and it made me focus on pushing harder.  I passed another girl in my AG and just kept trying to hold steady.


I just cleaned out my bento to count calories:  1715 calories.  4 NBS 2 with Amino and lots of water off course.  4 tylenol (felt crampy, pms early) and 8 e21. -- bike time 6:06 and change, 5th AG (split), course PR

* Run:  Felt ok coming out of T-2. I had downed some pre-load which tasted awesome and headed out.  Cailla passed me within the first mile so I just tried to get into my rhythm.  I just had no speed.  9:30s is where I wanted to run but I kept trying to push it down and nothing happened.  Super frustrating I just stopped looking at my watch and ran.  I had my own bottle so just grabbed water at the aid stations as it was at least 90deg out.  I had a headache which is odd for me considering how much I ate, drank & e21 so I grabbed some BASE salt and started taking licks of that every few miles and it went away.  Again, my legs still felt great.... did a gel every 3.5-4 miles (6 total) and started coke as I needed the caffeine around mile 18.  It tasted SO good.  That's when the pace went more like 9:40-10 because I'd walk thru the aid stations to get that adding 20 or so seconds. -- Run Time 4:11 and change, not fastest, 7th AG (split)


I had one million emotions over this run wondering if I was going to get that podium.  When I saw the other girls on the last out and back I thought maybe I could catch Rossolimo, but then Lindsay told me she dropped out and I was so confused so I just dug as hard as I could to get to that finish line.  Holding back tears the last 2 miles and just lots my shit at the finish line until I told Shane Rossolimo had pants on and he was like fuck she just finished.. My heart BROKE.  




I felt ok after the race, but then about 30' later while waiting for Courtney I started to feel the drunk spins.  I waiting for her then had to get to the shade and lay down.  I finally got up and was like I have to get home and eat.  I barely made it one block and barfed for like 5' (all liquid) in a garbage can on Sherman (classy!).  It made me feel like a new person and was totally fine after that.  Got home, had toast and chips and showered and back down to the race.



~What you were thinking/feeling during the race
Saddness it was my last time, frustrated that I had NO UMPH but also strong.  My legs never felt tired until the VERY end.
~Things you really did well
Didn't give up and fought on that second loop of the bike when I started getting passed.  Fuel and hydration was SPOT on.
~Things you would change if you could do it again
I'm not sure if there is anything I would change.  I couldn't have gone any faster on that day, but I also know I was prepared to go faster.  It wasn't lack of not trying, it was like I was stoned.
~Thoughts about how you want to move forward.  

I want to get my run speed back. I haven't had it for a couple years and it's frustrating. Continue to grow on the bike so I can be closer to those top AG girls.  Will definitely add a bike weekend in Tucson before Santa Rosa!  I need to get some strength back, but have to be careful with my back. 

That night I didn't sleep a wink. Pretty normal for me, but this time I just laid there with my laptop refreshing the results. I was showing 5th place AG, but I didn't understand what had happened to the above mentioned athlete who was leading the race all day until the run. I replayed the live feed and saw that she did in fact cross the finish line, but her chip and race bib were off. I just couldn't understand why? Still nervous, I showered, put on a "podium dress" and headed down to the awards.  They asked everyone to go line up together so the awards would go quickly, however, I just couldn't bring myself to go over there. I needed to hear my name called before I could relax and celebrate. 



I can't explain the relief when they called my name. My Hr was probably 160 and I was overwhelmed with joy. The last chance I had to get on this podium and it actually happened.  I chatted with the gals in my AG after (all amazingly talented and incredibly nice women) asking what had happened and they all said that "she" had not finished? I still don't know what had happened, but I have seen her name pop up on other races, including a win at a most recent IM.

While the race didn't go exactly as I planned, I fought and somehow managed to get my goal. I controlled what I could (my nutrition, my attitude, my fight) and problem solved the things I couldn't (my early PMS, my feeling of blah). A bitter, bitter sweet ending to this amazing little race. I really hope that someday it comes back.