IMTX Race Report- “But I also realize that winning doesn’t always mean getting first place, it means getting the best out of yourself”

“Everything we need for our dreams to come true is already inside us.”

This race I knew from the start was going to be Special. My little sister, Jocelyn, was racing it with me. It was her first Ironman AND her birthday race. It was her birthday the day before the race. As I coach J, I was there not only as an athlete, but also a coach, bff and support for my sister. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Thursday night we ran through what to have in the transition bags. Over how hard to race, nutrition for the ride and run, and every other question my sister had. Plenty of people had given her advice about racing, but she seems to trust what I think the most :D. Friday we went out for a quick spin on the bikes before the practice swim. Most of the day was uneventful, other than the trip to academy to buy J new goggles that wouldn’t fog.

Body Marking with Scott and J in the background

Body Marking with Scott and J in the background

Race morning we got up around 4 to start getting ready and eating. We traveled to this race with Endurance Sports Travel and while we had been doing most of the driving from the hotel to the race venue ourselves, we took advantage of the shuttle race morning. We got into transition right as they opened it and quickly got everything set up and ready. Soon it was time to walk to the swim start. Scott, J’s husband, was able to meet up with us on the walk over. It was really great to have him there to support and cheer. He kept us company and kept J calm. Going into the race J had broken a rib from a bike crash about a month before the race so she was most worried about getting kicked in the rib and then not being able to finish.

As soon as the pros were off and we could get into the water, we were off to hang on some paddleboards. I picked out a spot on the start line and J and I got to float together waiting for the start of our first full together. She’s the best company I could ask for before race. She’s always smiling, chipper and happy. You shouldn’t know she was nervous by looking at her. Soon time to go got closer and closer. Before we knew it Mike Riley called for the paddleboards to move. Well, the lady blocking us didn’t move quite fast enough and the gun went off a bit sooner than I thought it would. Great. I had to bob around her and I lost some valuable water space due to this. I had told J to stick on my feet as long as possible (I had done this at Munice last year and apparently I was gone in 2 seconds….) She told me this year she was able to hang for a few minutes. I had a hard time getting a good position and not locked in, but all and all it wasn’t the worse swim start I’ve seen.

Too busy for pictures

Too busy for pictures

The water is murky and gross, but at least due to the rains it was cool. If it had been borderline wetsuit legal, I probably would have cooked. I knew that it was about 1/3 on the way out, 1/3 on the way back and 1/3 in the canal. The swim was pretty uneventful. Swimming on the way out I kept catching people and just focused on staying strong (and trying not to swallow water). Before I knew it it was time to turn and head back. This is the part that sucked. I found it almost impossible to sight buoys on this side and we were swimming into the sun. I found myself no longer swimming too straight but I figured it wouldn’t be too bad since if I was too far right, I’d be closer to the canal.

About half way to the canal, I picked up a friend. He was an age grouper who was wearing green goggles. He basically stuck to my hip for the rest of the swim. It was super fun to swim in the canal. I mean as fun as swimming in brown water can be. I could make out people on the side which was cool. I could tell when I swam by T3 and gave a wave of my hand a few times. Ha! Soon it was under the bridges and up and out of the water. My friend Michael was pulling people out of the water and I thanked him for his help on my way to the strippers.

My strippers were awesome and got me out of my wetsuit in record time. Through to my bag and into transition. Quickly into my bike shoes and helmet and out on the bike. Transition is kinda big at Texas, but did my best to move quickly. As I was heading out I saw the clock was at 1:16. Subtract 15 for the pros and it wasn’t bad, but not what I was hoping for. No time to think about that, time to bike!

Heading out on the bike I was pleased to see I was not only getting my HR but also power! My friend Dave had let me borrow his powertap race wheel (THANK YOU!!) as I was worried that HR wouldn’t come in, again, and I’d be forced to race blind. My stomach didn’t feel great, but it wasn’t too bad. I was able to get a gel in and water down. I hadn’t preridden or driven the bike course despite living in Austin. So I was going to enjoy seeing it all for the first time.

bike1Soon I passed 3-4 girls and at least 2 were in my age group. That felt good. This time I did have a bonk breaker bar! Yum. This definitely was helping settle my stomach. But not as much as belching did! My HR was right where I wanted it and my power looked good as well. I felt good about the bike.

20 miles in after an aid station I hit a bad bump and lost my water bottle. Crap. Well, I had nutrition concentrated bottles and surely the next aid station would be in the next 10-15 miles. Suck it up. I clicked through the next 5 miles faster than I was expecting, (maybe I was hoping for water to come sooner!) And before I knew it, it was aid station time. On the way into the aid station there was a guy who was having some mechnical issues. He asked if I had allen wrenches. I did have a pack in my flat kit so while biking I reached back, unzipped my pack and got them out. I made sure to get my bottle water and at the end of the aid station handed over my kit. He asked if I wanted them back, I laughed and said no and rode off. I yelled my number and said he could find me after the race.

Between mile 30 and 40 a guy crushed passed me and yelled something. I couldn’t tell what it was, so I after dropping back legally, I threw some watts down to pass him and he let me know that some girl was sitting right on my wheel. Ugh! Really? I looked back and saw a bit of a line. I thanked him and decided to up my power a bit for a while. Soon there wasn’t anyone behind me.

Back to racing. Mo and Kyle were out on the scooter. This was Awesome! It was great to get some good race shots on the bike. And have them cheer for me! Around mile 40 the guy who I had helped caught back up and thanked me again.

Thanks Kyle for the picture!

Thanks Kyle for the picture!

Around mile 30? I think, I passed a pro girl on the bike who seemed to be struggling. I shouted some words of encouragement, but this definitely made me feel good about how I was riding. Water stations came pretty much every 10 miles which I was grateful for. I did call for my special needs 60 miles in, but it was taking too long so I just said forget it and rode through. I had a second bonk breaker bar in there and I later wished I had had that with me.

It was fun to see a few people out there on the course that I knew. I knew my family was going to be at mile 50 (about). I was rolling up and saw an older woman with a stroller. Um. I think that’s mom. But she didn’t seem to see me. Yup! That’s mom. I shouted out “Don’t miss me!” and blew by and soon saw my older sister and my dad. I almost started crying I was so happy. This was the first race I’ve ever had my entire family at. Their support means more to me than they’ll ever know. Especially my older sister. She doesn’t race, and tolerates so much from me and my little sister running family vacations around training and racing. She was also with me in Kona last year and spent her birthday with me. I got to see them another few times on the bike. At least the next few times around, they didn’t almost miss me :D.

Kyle again. Looking like a baller

Kyle again. Looking like a baller

The roads got a bit rough from 60-85. I had the hardest time keeping going on this portion. My heart rate dropped and watts and effort. I didn’t really know where I was but I was pretty sure I was leading my age group. I was hoping to bike a bit faster than I was so I tried picking it up for the last 35 miles. You get back onto a long straight road and it seemed like the wind wasn’t as much in our faces any more. For the next 10 miles I kept going back and forth with several guys. They didn’t like it when I passed them, but couldn’t keep a fast enough pace for me not to then repass them within a few minutes. At least time was going a bit quicker. I knew I’d be a few minutes off where I wanted to bike, but focused on keeping hydrated and fuel in me.

I was going through water before reaching the next aid station. Maybe not getting to hydrate for 10 miles was starting to catch up to me. And I was hungier than I would have liked. It was hard to find bonk breaker bars in the aid stations and I had managed to grab one, but after that I was only able to get a gel. It had caffiene in it so I was hesitant to take it. I used a shot of X2Performance before the race and used some more on the bike. I’m caffiene senesitive, so I like to really keep the amount I takein to a minimum. I needed the calories more so I took it.

Soon I was winding back through the neighborhoods to the run start. Dismounted and into T2. I had debated wearing socks on the bike since last year I’d heard horror stories of people burning their feet. But it was a cooler day and they had covered most of the transition concerete. I gave away my bike and headed to the run bags.bike3

I soon picked up my bag and was in the change tent. The volunteer let me know I was the 4th amateur and I ran out of the tent soon with the girl who was right ahead of me. She wasn’t in my age group. Good. I had had 2 girls pass me on the bike and neither of them were in my AG so I must be running first in my AG. I knew I better get going fast since my sister was behind me and if I didn’t have 20 minutes on her, I was going to be caught.

I kept wondering how she was doing while I was on the bike, but my family wasnt’ updating me on her status. Within half a mile on the run you run by the T3 tent. It was SO Great to see my T3 family! Pablo told me I was running 3rd amateur and encouraged me to go after the girls in front of me. THe first time up the dirt hill  I was all smiles and cruising along. My stomach still wasn’t happy with me and I was worried about getting nutrition down.

My HR settled at lower than I thought I’d be racing at but this effort felt right. I stopped worrying about anything else and just ran. Before I knew it I was 4 miles in and I saw Scott for the first time. I asked about J and he said she was off the bike…It sounded like she was close behind me from his tone (I wasn’t wrong). The miles kept clicking off and I was able to catch 2 girls in the first loop. From the yellow bibs and their numbers, it was clear they were professionals. It made me feel good, but I was looking for the amateurs in front of me. As I was across the canal for the first time on the final mile of the loop, I saw the first and second amateur girls. I tried to measure how far I was down behind them.

It was at this time I heard J yell at me across the canal. Ha. Yeah, I didn’t have a 20 minute headstart and she was going to catch me if we both kept running strong. It was just a matter of how far I could get before she ran me down.

run1On my second loop, my stomach wasn’t any better and I kept trying to keep feeding myself. The T3 tent was great to run by again. It was the highlight of my loop. I had been running kinda back and forth with this guy Mike. For the second loop we settled in together and he said, Well, Meredith, it looks like we’ll be running together. I think we stuck together for 1/2 of the second loop. With about 14 miles in the lead female biker passed us letting us know to make space. Kelly looked great and strong on her way in for the win. Somewhere here I lost my buddy Mike. I wasn’t too disappointed because his watch beeped. Alot.

I had figured J would pass me 16 miles in, I was hopeful I could make it to 20, but gut said 16. I was heading into the aid station at mile 16 when she did just that. She looked solid and strong. I was so proud of her and told her i was pretty sure she was winning her AG.

Because of the out and backs on the course I got to see her again. a few times. On the last out and back of the 2nd loop I noticed a girl mark me. I hoped I had enough space and that she wasn’t in my age group, but I wasn’t able to see. Soon it was back through the Moxie area and I got to see Claudia! We chatted a brief second. I wasn’t sure if I’d see J on the dirt out and back but I did! I told her to go for the win! I didn’t specify that I thought there was only 1-2 age group girls in front of her and I was talking about fastest amateur. What can I say, coaching and racing is hard :D.

It was sad to leave the T3 tent for the last time, but Kate and Mark said they’d be over at the finish waiting for me! The last loop I just tried to keep going. I hadn’t walked at all and I felt good but as the run course was crowding up, I had harder and harder times getting through the aid stations. I got jostled and sometimes didn’t get quite everything I needed. With 2 miles to go, the girl who had marked me blew by me. Damn. She was in my age group.P1000036

run2Just keep strong and keep going. In past races I’ve counted down aid stations and miles during the run, but not this time. I tried to convince my legs to pick up the pace a bit. I’m not sure I was convincing. The last out and back on the run course. Less than a mile to go. The girl in my AG wasn’t too far in front of me, but enough that I didn’t have space to catch back up. As I ran back I was hoping that none of the girls I saw were in my age group. I picked it up just in case.

I realized about 2 miles to go that I would just about make it in under 10 hours. That was the main goal for the race. Break 10. It helped me keep going. With the last direction to the finish I heard my sister cheering for me. I smiled. Down towards the movie theater and back up towards the finish line. I had people hold their hands out to high five. I was so focused on getting to the finish I didn’t even try. With lazer focus (I didn’t see Kate and Mark but ran RIGHT by them) I crossed the line in 9:58:45. Mission accomplished.

As soon as I stopped I started to feel very hot. I was a bit concerned I might need an IV and all I wanted to do was get into the ice buckets. I managed to get cooled off enough. Finisher photo taken by Jessica (THANKS!) and meet up with my entire family.

Thanks Kate for the photo!

Thanks Kate for the photo!

IMTX was my 6th full Ironman, a PR of about 24 minutes, my first time under 10 hours and no matter how many more of these I do in my life, will probably be high on my list of the most special races I’ve done. I don’t feel like I gave everything i had to give, or that everything magically clicked, but it was the first race where my entire family was there to cheer and support, the first (full) I got to do with my little sister and that’s what it made it more special than any time goal or Kona slot.

I ended up 2nd in my AG. (By just 2 minutes) And 4th amateur female. The next day we attended the Awards and Kona slot allocation. J and i got a good picture with Mike Riley (the voice) and Emi (my niece).10363574_10104566538976160_7452946841000016881_n

I can’t WAIT to race with my sister in Kona! But next up, Eagleman!

Of course, big thanks to my sponsors, X2PERFORMANCE, Quintana Roo, Karhu Shoes, and Pure Austin Fitness. For all the support!

Thanks to Gilbert’s Gazelles who are always fun to run with, Jack & Adams for getting my bike race ready! And always being sure they have all the nutrition I need in stock. To John and Dave who let me borrow race wheels!  Huge thanks to T3 and all my friends who went down to the race to cheer. Wouldn’t be the same without the T3 tent and support! Super proud to be a part of such an amazing family!

Big thanks to my coaching team who got me uninjured and ready to the start line! (McRae Coaching) My nutrionist, Meredith Terranova, who has changed my relationship with food.

And, my family who supports me in more ways than I can appreciate it. I’m blessed to be able to do what I love and look forward to more fun racing this year.

I came here to get up my IMTX race report….but first…
First a quick recap on St. Croix. photo 4(1)

photo 3(1)I raced St. Croix 70.3 at the beginning of the month. Yes, 2 weeks before IMTX. I thought it was crazy, but I was just going to trust my coach. I went in rested, but not tapered. My mom traveled with me to spectate and sherpa for me. As always, she did an amazing job!

When I got my bike built up, my rear derailer wouldn’t shift. I run with Di2, so when you’re on an island, that can be stressful. My friend Garrett couldn’t fix it, but I ran into the NICEST South African man, David, who was there to do his first half iron man and his bike hadn’t shown up with the plane. He unplugged my derailer, blew on the wire and plugged it back it. We held the reset button, and Magic it worked! It did have me worried most of my ride though.

Race morning is pretty laid back on the island. There wasn’t any body marking and you just go in and find your AG rack and set up. I got a good spot and got set up. Soon it was time to swim to the start. I hung out with Garrett until he headed out with his wave. Soon I was in the water and going. The water was a bit choppier than last year but I stayed with another girl til we started hitting the waves of people. I lost her but felt like I was swimming well. Once I hit the turn buoy and headed in I was more determined than ever to not get lost on the course. It’s notoriously hard to sight. About half way back to the wall, I started sighting off a yellow buoy that was mid way on the course for the sprint triathlon folks to cut across. Eventually a kayaker told me I was off course. Great. Well, I probably swam an extra 200-300m, but it’s not the end of the day by a long shot. I found the girl I started with as we got close to the wall and came out of the water right on her feet. I was out of transition before her and heading out on the first 8 mile loop.

As soon as I started the bike I realized my HR monitor wasn’t picking up. It wasn’t even pairing with my watch. Great. I pace off of HR. And I had a stomach full of salt water. I tried to let everything settle, but I just wanted to puke and couldn’t get food in. I wish I had thrown a Bonk breaker bar into my nutrition stuff since I had brought them to ST. Croix with me. Whoops.

bikestxEventually I was able to get my gel down and I gave up on my HR monitor working. The first 8 miles of the bike passed quickly and as we zoomed back into town the announcer said “here come some of the first age group females!” Good! I must have a good position at least. The beast was soon to come. I’d managed to get some more food in, but not the amount of calories I should have. Hannah, a girl I met in transition, passed me and complimented me on my swim. Soon it was up and over the Beast. It was not as bad as I remembered, but it still took about 9 minutes for me to climb it.

From about mile 20-35 on the bike I felt like I was sleeping. Couldn’t get my legs moving and my HR was lower than it should be. Not eating enough came back to bite me. I was getting more nutrition in at least now. My stomach still felt terrible. I got to see my mom around mile 30. That was a pick up. It’s where I wanted to quit more than anything last year. THe last 20 miles of the bike is just as hard as the rest of the course, if not harder. I had a few more girls pass me which was disheartening. I got into T2 and quickly transitioned again and was out on the run course.

Again my HR monitor wouldn’t work, so I’d be running on feel. I knew last year I averaged 8s, so I just kinda sat into that pace and went. Not too much to say about the run. It was hot. My stomach hurt. And the crowd support is amazing. I got to see Garrett twice which was helpful. My mom cheered loudly which also helped. Going back on my first loop Rinny passed me and told me to “keep it up, girl.” It was awesome getting to see her run. Out and back again. With around two miles to go a girl caught me and asked my age group. She was 40-44 so we weren’t going against each other. We tried to push each other and soon I went to running 7:30s and feeling very solid! My HR came up to where I should have been holding it and soon my partner dropped off. My legs felt great and I ran it in at 7s. Man. Where was this the rest of the race?
finish
I finished strong and cartwheeled over the finish. A solid day. Not what I wanted to do, but after looking over my splits from last year, I swam 3 minutes slower (getting lost), biked 4 minutes faster (and last year I ran a 12-28. This year I ran a 12-25…ha), and run 3 minutes faster this year. So improvements for sure, but not the day I was hoping for.

We can’t always win or have everything click, but I definitely felt like I learned some good racing lessons!

I got to enjoy the rest of the trip with my mom. We got to see the sun rise at the eastern most point of the US twice, snorkel all over the island, and see a biolumenicent bay.

I love St. Croix and probably will head back next year to face down that course.

Chatting with the nice South Africian, David, before the race

Chatting with the nice South Africian, David, before the race

Garrett and i looking at the swim start

Garrett and i looking at the swim start

Some point on the run

Some point on the run

“People worry too much about times. Time is just the outcome”

Well, here I am again! Writing another race report. I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since my last triathlon and 3 months since my last race (Bandera 25k). I never wrote up a report for Bandera, but it was fun to do a trail run and I got this awesome donkey for 2nd overall.

photo(20)

This past weekend I raced Texas 70.3 in Galveston. I was a little nervous going into this race as it’s the first real test of the season. Plus I hired a coach in December. It’s scary to turn over something that’s been under my control so closely for the past year and a half. Additionally, I’ve felt like my running fitness isn’t quite the same as last year and I’m up from my weight I raced at last year. After meeting with my coach, Chann McRae, on Friday before the race, I had my race plan ironed out and felt calm and confident. The forcast for Sunday was thunderstorms and there was talk of the swim being cancelled, but I kept with the plan (and my gut feeling) that it would be a triathlon and not a duathlon.

I’ve got my pre-race rituals and foods pretty much ironed out by now. Usual pre-race dinner. My mom came down to cheer me on, so she ate with me. She does make fun of me for the vegetables I eat these days (beets, brussels sprouts, kale). I find it funny that my mom gives me a hard time about eating veggies….

Race morning was fueled with my favorite waffles. Yum! Got everything packed up and headed down to the race site. I was staying in a big house with a bunch of T3 team photo 1mates. I headed out as most others were just getting up and eating breakfast. I got to the race site around 5 and got a killer parking spot right near transition. It was super windy and I was worried about things blowing around in transition. Got my spot set up and ready to go. Eventually when the time came, I got warmed up and started getting my wetsuit on. Brand new sleeveless Vendetta and it ripped a tear in the calf. Not a hole, but two years ago I had the same thing happen in Galveston so I was trying to be especially careful. I didn’t let this mess with my head and got back to getting ready.

30 minutes before start I took a shot of X2Performance and walked over to the swim start area. The pros went off 5 minutes late (I assume for weather?) It was still really windy and the water looked rough. My wave was the 1st one after the pro females. 6 minutes behind them. I was hoping to have a strong swim and maybe catch one or two out of transition or in the water. Soon the pro men and women were off and they let us on the pier. Before I knew it, it was time to jump in the water. Lined up and waited for the gun. Usually you can sight off the Home Depot sign across the Bay, but it was so foggy there wasn’t a way that was going to happen. The gun went off and we were going.

On the way out, it was swimming right into heavy chop. It wasn’t the craziest swim I’ve been in (St George 2012 by FAR was), but it’s second after that. I just kept calm and swam on! I was trying to find some good feet to get on, or determine if I was the feet to be on. Usually I try to muscle my way to the front in a race, but today I just tried to keep up with the lead pack and on the right course. I was swallowing plenty of salt water, but able to get some good breathing in as well. I saw a swimmer in a pink cap and another in a green cap. Either I was mistaken (wouldn’t be the first time) or others might be having a rougher day than usual in that choppy water.

When we hit the first turn I had passed a few girls and it was me and 2 other girls. This was a lot easier to swim through, but sighting was challenging as sometimes you couldn’t see anything but water in front of you. Most of these buoys went by fairly quickly. Sometimes I had to sight more often than I was planning to, but it was better to stay on track. I did well until the last buoy. All of a sudden, I looked up and was WAY inside the buoy line. Either the buoys weren’t in line or I got shifted way off course.

swimOne more turn and I was heading back in. I passed two more pink caps on the way in. This helped boost my confidence of how my day was going. Soon I was at the swim exit and running through the crowd. I looked at my watch 32 something. I had started my watch around 2 minutes before start so maybe I broke 30, but it didn’t matter. Swim was done, on to the next leg! I heard someone shout 2nd! Man, there was one girl that had gotten away. Got my wetsuit stripped and heard my mom cheering for me.

Quickly into transition and to my bike. I saw Jennifer Lentzke just getting on her bike. She’s my neighbor and a solid cyclist, so I knew I probably could pace off of her. Soon enough I was out of transition just a ways behind her. Within 1-2 minutes I had passed the girl who had come out of the water behind me. Heading out onto the bike course it was foggy and not a ton of visibility. My stomach didn’t feel bad, but I knew it wasn’t thrilled with the amount of salt water I had swallowed. My plan involved pacing off my heart rate which wasn’t coming in. Oh well, all of your equipment won’t always work. I focused down the road and tried to keep the distance between Jennifer and myself the same. Every so often I’d move my heart rate strap around and try to get a reading on my HR. It would pick up for about 5 seconds and click out again.

Well, at least I could check what it was occasionally and try to keep the same “feel.” There was a nice tailwind on the way out and I planned to exploit it as much as possible. I’d never been so alone on the bike in a race before. No one was passing me and all I could see ahead was Jennifer in the fog. It was like I was out there alone. About 10 miles in I threw up a little in my mouth and spit out to the side. Not the most pleasant experience. I kept fueling and my eyes focused down the road. I wanted to make it as far as I could before I saw the male pros coming back. I had lost sight of Jennifer and the last few checks on my HR were a little low. I was about 1/2 way across the bridge when I saw the pro guys coming back. Man, it looked windy! That won’t be fun…but we’ll worry about it when we get there. Just after the bridge I got rained on for about 2 minutes.

I was close to the turn around and I saw Natasha heading back. There was a moment of recognizition before we went wizzing in opposite directions. Soon after I saw Jennifer heading back. Then the turn around. I took it easy since it was a bit slick and started back to town. I had made it out to the turn around in just over an hour and thought that the wind would feel worse than it did.bike

My speed was around 18-19 so it wasn’t slowing me down too much. On the way back I kept looking across the way at the athletes going out to see if I could recognize anyone. I saw Haley and Ashley, but looking across the way was distracting me from my focus. I wasn’t on that side of the street and I was going down the road. So I shifted my focus back down the road to the empty fog ahead. Soon I clicked pass 35 miles in. Wow. Really? No one had passed me yet. Maybe I could make it to 40 miles without getting passed once. The winds shifted to more of a side wind, away from a head wind. Allowing me to pick up speed. My heart rate was less good about coming in, even for short checks. When it did I was a bit under where I was aiming for.

Just shy of 40 miles, I got passed by a pro female. Just up the road I had spotted two cyclists in the fog. I planned to pace off this girl as long as I could and hopefully overtake the cyclists in front of me. No reason to try to make everything happen at once. Slow and steady pressure and I was gaining on the cyclists ahead. I was falling behind the other girl more and more each minute. I passed the first girl and the next was Jennifer. I gave her a shout and kept pushing. Soon the first AG guy passed me a few miles down the road. I could still see the other pro female down the road and eventually saw him pass her too. Back to almost being alone. It’s the weirdest feeling ever. In a race that big, and everything so quiet.

Soon I was about 3 miles from transition and turning through the side streets and I hear an on your left, Mer. Jennifer passed me and I encouraged her to smash it into transition. After a minute or two of being behind her (legal distance) I felt like I was creeping too close to the draft zone and decided to smash it a bit harder into transition. Just before the last turn I saw my mom cheering for me! Totally wasn’t expecting her to be by on the bike at all. Made me smile. Made it to transition just over 2:24. That was my goal of what I’d like to bike. An age group guy made it in right behind me along with Jennifer. Wow, only 2 people passed me the whole bike. That’s a first. Usually I hear “Nice swim” a few times….

Through transition fairly quickly and back out on the course. I felt good. I didn’t worry about pace and just try to peg my heart rate, which was now coming in no problem. (seriously if anyone has a recommendation of how to make it work better on the bike I’m all ears. I feel like the position of everything makes it hard…) On the way out to the first out and back, I got a few “Nice work girl!” And a spectator told me “first age grouper on the course…has to be someone!”

runMy legs felt amazing. I was most unsure about how the run would go. Solid swim, Solid bike, let’s get this thing done! At the first aid station a little girl was holding out ice. YES! I will take that. I thanked her and she turned to an adult volunteer and said “SEE!” I guess they didn’t believe someone would want ice. It wasn’t hot, but I’ll always take the opportunity to dump ice in my sports bra if it’s over 60! I got to see my mom again cheering for me on the run course.

On my way back to transition from the first out and back I was looking for the next girl in my wave (and probably age group). It looked like maybe she was a mile back and there were 2-3 of them. I hoped that none of them were runners and just focused on the road in front of me. I saw Haley on my way by transition and cheered for her. I got to see Scotty from TRG (Thanks for the awesome cheering every time I passed you) and April (who I had raced against last year here). Made it by T3 and I was all smiles. The run course was slightly different than the past two years (But the best I’ve had so far there! Great job guys, please keep this one!!!) Just around 2 miles in I got to see my mom again. I felt sooo good and as I was telling her so I started tearing up. I’m sure people thought I was lying but I was just SO HAPPY! I’ve never felt so good on the run.

The miles just seemed to click by nutrition worked well and I was able to get lots of calories in. After the first loop I was on the look out for if the other girls had gained on me. I couldn’t tell but thought it was a maybe so decided to push a little bit harder. I let my heart rate go up a bit more and tried to keep on my pace. I felt like I had been slowing a bit.

Half way through the second lap my mom told me the next girl was 1:30 behind me. Wah? That was closer than I thought. Maybe I missed someone. Well, time to keep it going. Jennifer pushed passed me around this point and I saw her pace and knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold that. The lead female’s cyclist went by just a short time later and started chatting with me a bit. Asked if I was Meredith and talked to me like he knew me? Sorry if I know you and didn’t recognize you. I had a few people who I had no clue who they were but seemed to know me! I’m blaming race haze! photo(21)

Keeping on the gas, still feeling good one lap to go! Saw a few other T3ers out on the course, like Dan and Matt. Always makes me smile to see T3 kits! The last out and back

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bit I was sure which ever girl was in 2nd I had put more time between us. When I saw my mom next I pointed behind me and ask how far? She let me know no one close 5-8 minutes. Good. Keep up the pace though! I thought. Soon just 1.1 miles to go. One water stop. I checked out my watch and figured I’d be finishing around 4:32-4:34.

Well, I wouldn’t break 4:30 today, but that would have shocked me! No idea how fast I was going to run but I figured 1:38ish. Got to see my mom one last time before pushing to the finish. Man. Did my legs still really feel this solid? I pushed across the line and saw the clock was at 4:44. So I probably was right around 4:34. Cartwheeled on the finish and bam. Done.

I pretty much headed right to the massage tent (hoping for no line!) and figured my mom would find me. Finally looked at my garmin and got to the total time screen 1:36:00. Wow, I didn’t run that much slower than last year! (officially I was 8 second slower than last year and still ran a 1:35 and change this year). I’ve never felt so good during a race or after before. Just solid and steady.

I listened to my body and followed the race plan. I wasn’t worried about times the whole way, I just raced and accepted whatever the outcome was. I ended up winning my age group and being the 15th female finisher overall. Very happy with the outcome! I’ll be heading to Canada in September to race at 70.3 World Championships!

Big thank you to all my friends and family who support me in my endeavours! It’s always fun to get back to my phone post race and have a million messages :D. Special thanks to my coach, Chann McRae, who definitely is helping me make some changes in my training and racing and Meredith Terranova, my nutritionist.

And of course, big thanks to my sponsors X2Performance, Karhu, Quintana Roo and Pure Austin who help me succeed at doing what I lovephoto 2

“If you look good, you feel good, if you feel good, you race good, if you race good, you win.” – (Not sure who actually said this, but I heard Logan say that Paul did…and I might be paraphrasing… who knows)
I came into Ironman Arizona after a long season of racing. Yes, 3 Ironmans in as many months is a touch crazy, but sometimes pushing yourself you learn new things. One of my friends and occasionally riding buddies, Morgan, was involved in a cycling accident just 3 weeks before the race and I wanted to race IMAZ in her memory. I wanted to feel good during this race and celebrate the sport and her memory. Mission accomplished.
image-3Race morning, I woke up naturally at 3:50. 10 minutes pre alarm. Ate my waffles (last of my Mac Nut Mix I got in Kona). Packed my things and did my hair. We headed down around 5 am for the race. Parking was a bit of a nightmare, but not too bad. In my wisdom, I only packed my race shoes and the combat boots I wore, so I bought some snow leopard print house shoes at Walmart that I’ve been rocking (see pic to the left). I was staying with Amy, (one of my x2performance team mates who I met at St George last year) and her parents. We got down to transition and dropped off nutrition at bike and in bags. Finally found body marking (in transition?!?) and dropped off special needs (outside of transition on the opposite side of where I’d expect). The flow was weird. I took my shot of X2PERFORMANCE and started to pull on my wetsuit.
Amy and I waited in the LONG potty line. Finally finished up and pulled our wetsuits on in time to slip through people to get a good spot on the swim start side of the arch in transition. Once the pro men were off they let us in the water. Amy, Hillary (another x2 team mate) and me all started in the same area. Finally we were off! The sun really wasn’t bad but I was having trouble seeing out of my goggles. I think a little too tinted was the problem. I got kicked in the face early on and was swimming too far out from the buoys as sighting was hard. I kept Morgan in my mind and felt lucky to have this opportunity to race, despite not feeling amazing at the moment, we had a long way to go. Made it to the turn around and headed across the lake. Then back home again. I wasn’t bothered by the full sleeves of the wetsuit, but I think it unknowingly did a number on my low back. I felt like I was racing the swim for once and had more troubles breathing. The water seemed rough and I did get hit by one big wave from a boat. I made it in in just under an hour. I had a bit of trouble getting the wetsuit off over my watch and as I headed up the shoot I saw who I thought was Amy entering the tent. It turned out to be Hillary and Amy was already out on the course.
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My belly was a bit upset from swallowing half of lake Tempe. Started heading out of town and was in my small chain ring for probably 4 miles. Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 7.05.12 PMThink I should have hit my big ring a bit sooner. I waited 10 min before getting water and started my hydration plan. Not a ton of people out on the course and it felt slow. Was a bit frustrated that some chick started drafting off me on the way out. There was some wind towards the end of the course. It seemed worst the first loop. I never saw Amy, but was looking for her. I saw plenty of my other X2PERFORMANCE team mates!
About half way out on the first lap, a pro girl flew by me on her bike. That made me feel a bit better. Most of the time I spent out on the bike course thinking of Morgan and her fun loving nature, God and the gift he has given me to be able to do well in this sport, and my little sister, Jocelyn, who believes in me and I know is always cheering for me. At Haley’s boat party this summer, Morgan and I talked about how she wanted legs like our friend Jen Walker. Jen is a phenominal cyclist and athlete, so I tried to channel her legs as well.
My 2nd loop I got swallowed by a draft pack going out. I burned two matches trying to pass through different times. Failed. They acted like a constantly revolving pelleton.  I dropped back to avoid them. 3-4 min later a course marshal went up and sat behind them for 5 min. I hope they got busted.
My last loop I started belching more often and I slowed the calories down. My legs felt tired the first loop. Good the second and the third was a practice in boredom. The wind was the worst coming back that loop.
Got off the bike and right out on the run. Every step I took hurt. It felt like there were 2 boards stuffed in my back. Or like I was wearing a back brace. It felt locked up. I was worried this was going to be a long run. But I’m blessed to even be able to race. Trevor Wuertle came by transition as I was heading out. He missed his special needs bag and apparently needed it. A guy grabbed his bag and chased him for almost a mile to catch him to be sure his race didn’t get derailed.
Almost out to the first turn I saw Amy. It surprised me because I thought she was behind me. She looked great. 4 miles in I saw Keith  and he told me I was 6 min behind Amy. I felt good leg wise but they just weren’t churning out the times I needed. I kept going.
Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 7.05.34 PMI saw Sierra (another x2 team mate!) and Hillary heading out on their first loop. My back loosened up 10 miles in and I took another 1/2 shot of x2 that seemed to help me feel better
Through miles 10-17 I felt pretty good just not running fast. But 18-19 miles in I got passed by 661 who took 2nd. She had a stellar run. At this time I was still holding to hope I could put up a 10:15. 20-23 was a struggle for me. I walked 2 aid stations and I started to feel like my form was going and I was leaning forward. :/.
I had repassed Claudia 16 miles in but she blazed by me 23 miles like a bat out of hell. She looked solid! I walked one more aid station with about 2 miles to go and Dan (another x2 teammate) passed me.
I finished less than a minute behind him and reeled in another PR. By about a minute. Didn’t feel my best all day, but I enjoyed the sport. It was good enough for 3rd and my body definitely showed signs that its been a long season.
Amy ended up winning the AG and having a break through race! Just breaking 10 hours and being 4th amateur. Super happy for her and proud to be her teammate! Sierra also ran her way onto the podium (5th) with Hillary finishing 6th in our age group. The X2Performance team really showed IMAZ who’s boss.
I want to thank my sponsors, X2PERFORMANCE, Karhu, Quintana Roo and Pure Austin Fitness for all their support this season. It’s been amazing. I’ve podiumed at almost every race this year (Kona being the exception) and been able to race well, recover fast and be consistent. This wouldn’t be possible without my sponsors as well as my amazing nutritionist, Meredith Terranova. She’s helped me shed weight, lean up and recover well. Big thanks to Austin T3, Gilbert’s Gazelles and all my training partners who push and inspire me.
Recently I learned I’m ranked 2nd in my Age Group on the Ironman circuit and according to USAT 11th in my Age group. This is beyond how I could have dreamed this season would end up and I can’t wait to see what next season brings! I’ve been enjoying some down time, but soon I’ll start shaping my next season. Onwards and upwards. I hope to continue to perform to my best in this sport that I love. Life is short and we should enjoy the time we have.

IMG_1789So it’s been a while since I’ve gotten to be fancy with my food. Training for Kona was time consuming and even when I did get to make some fun dishes, I didn’t really have much time to blog about them! I did have time to search around for some new things to try. I love fall veggies and decided to try to find some ideas using what is in season. Pumpkin is a favorite of mine and an obvious fun thing to work with. Beets are messy and fun (as long as you don’t get red EVERYWHERE!) and after making beet chips, I decided to try my hand at something new.

I’ve made pasta two other times in my life. Yeah, two. I’ve eaten it plenty though! Gnocchi and the GF Quinoa pasta that I made. After watching masterchef juniors and seeing those kids make some amazing pasta dishes, I figured it was time for me to kick it up a notch. So I decided on Beet Pasta Ravioli filled with a pumpkin ricotta mix. I love chard and I’ve made pesto with it before (http://bakingbasketcase.com/?p=61 although I didn’t use the jalapeno or cilantro this time). Since it had pumpkin seeds in it, what better thing to top pumpkin ravioli with?

I’ve had multiple requests for the recipe, so here we go:

Beet Pasta Ravioli

Makes 6-8 servings
 

For the Pasta:

2 1/2 cups Pamela’s Bread Mix

1/2 cup beet puree (2 small-medium sized beets or 1 large beet)

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp salt

 

For the filling:filling

1 can pumpkin puree (or about 2 cups)

1 cup ricotta cheese

4 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp allspice

 

If you’re making the beet puree and pumpkin puree from scratch (which I recommend), then you’ll need to add an extra hour to your prep time. Wrap the beets in foil and place on a cookie sheet in the oven for 45min-1hour at 375 degrees. You can also put the pumpkin in at the same time. Cutting into smaller pieces for faster roasting.

Once soft, remove beets and pumpkin from oven. Rub the beets with a paper towel to remove the skin. Then cut into pieces and add to a food processor and blend.

Add salt, egg and egg yolk and mix until combined (about 2 minutes). Now add the flour and mix for about 30 seconds. The dough will start to come together. Dust a surface with flour and kneed dough for 5-10 minutes. You might need to add more flour (up to 1/2 cup depending how sticky your dough is). Once kneeded put dough on foil and cover with an upside down mixing bowl. Let it sit for 1 hour.

RollingdoughWhile the dough is sitting, it’s the perfect time to make the filling. Puree your pumpkin in a food processor. I did a whole pie pumpkin and it took several times through the food processor and adding some water for easier blending. Use 2 cups of the pumpkin puree (or if you’re using canned just pour the entire can into the food processor) and add the ricotta and spices. Blend. I’d recommend tasting it to ensure the proper level of flavoring for your taste. You can always add more if needed. Set filling aside.

Once your dough is ready, divide it into 8 pieces. One piece at a time roll the dough out on a floured surface. (or use a pasta machine if you have one). I rolled the dough out, flipped multiple times and adding more flour to the surface to ensure it didn’t stick. You want the dough thin, about 1/8th of an inch thick. You’ll want to get the dough into a rectangle shape about 6 inches wide and 14-16 inches long.
Cut the dough in half so you have two ~3 inch wide rectangles. From here you want to take a tablespoon of filling and dab on one rectangle about 1/2 an inch from the side. Cut the dough about 1/2 an inch on the other side of the filling. From the opposite rectangle cut an equal size piece of dough. Carefully place the dough over the filling and press around the seams to seal the filling inside.

You want to avoid the dough being too thick around the edges. You can cut off the edges if they get to be too big. As you form each ravioli set to the side on a floured surface. Once done, boil a pot of water and slide about 4 ravioli at a time into the pot. Cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Let cool for 2 minutes. You can sprinkle oil olive on them to enhance flavor and prevent sticking. Cook additional ravioli as desired.Inprocess

You can also put on a cookie sheet and freeze for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and stack the ravoli with parchment paper between layers in a freezable bag or container. Seal and you can store in the freezer for up to 1 month. When cooking, do not defrost. Just slide right into boiling water. Cook time will be closer to 4 minutes.Ravioli Cooking

Nutritional Information: Serving Size: 4 ravioli (makes about 28-30 ravioli), Calories: 256, Fat: 5g, Carbs: 47.4g, Protein, 9g

 

“Hope is not a strategy”

Let’s be honest. I’ve delayed writing my race report for Kona because I’ve got mixed emotions about it and partly I don’t want the journey to be over. Lucky for me, the season ISN’T over yet! I’ve still got Ironman Arizona on my schedule this year before I can really take advantage of an off season.

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Here’s the whole story of Kona, so hope you have some time to spare!

I flew into Kona on Wednesday night. My flight connected through LAX. My friend Jennifer was on the flight (her first longer than 3 hours) but we weren’t sitting next to each other. I ended up sitting next to Ron Mortenson. (Hubby of Apyrl who is in my age group and was at Louisville and a few other races this year). We ended up chatting the whole way to Hawaii. Small world!

Bekah came to pick Jennifer and me up from the airport. We got everything loaded up and seemingly good to go. However, first mulligan, I managed to accidentally leave my aero helmet on the plane. Whoops! We got to the condo (RIGHT across from the beach) and settled in. Not too surprisingly, I was awake at 3 am and figured this was as good of time as any to build my bike.

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I knew I was going to have to take my bike to get looked at since my back break needed some adjusting. (Matt couldn’t get the rear wheel in since the back breaks were so tight). But mostly the bike was good to go. I adjusting things so I could put the wheels on, it just disabled my back break. I took it to Mac later that morning (He let me know that I really didn’t need breaks….They slow you down. I, however, like safety)

Bekah, Jennifer and myself got ready for the underwear run. The Real reason everyone wants to go to Kona. Ha! On our way down Ali’i to town we saw Chrissie Wellington running down Ali’i. Yes, I was excited. After the underwear run, I pulled on my change of clothes and headed to check in. The lady helping me get all my forms signed was super sweet and her son lives in Austin. She was asking me about who was coming to support me and I almost started crying when I was telling her that my little sister couldn’t make it. All of the volunteers were super amazing. That’s something I never really had heard, but they are. I got the rest of my stuff and it was back to the car to get my bike and swing by the expo.

IMG_1627 Bike got dropped off and it would be 2pm before it would be ready. Whoops. I was planning to get to do some race prep earlier than that. I saw Dr. Sellers who worked on my tight psoases. Felt SO good, but they felt a little too fatigued/stretched on race day, so I probably should have done this a day or two earlier. Lesson number 2.

Dr. Sellers did work on my shoulders the following day. That felt amazing! And definitely helped not get too tight on the IMG_1626bike.

I made my way to the X2PERFORMANCE tent and met Garrett and Keith for some pictures. After chatting I wandered around the expo and ended up with a large amount of things to take home with me. I also saw Chrissie Wellington at the TYR tent and since she had a line of 2 people waiting to talk to her, I jumped in line and got her to sign my visor. She’s my favorite triathlete and such an amazing person and inspiration.

I finally got back to the condo and decided to head for a nap. Zonked out for a few hours and got up ready to go get my bike! Packing up I realized my aerohelmet was missing. I managed to not go into a complete panic (but pretty close!) and with Bekah’s help called around to the airport, airline, etc. However, since American has all of one flight that comes in every day, they are only open from 6-9:05pm. Just had to wait and hope.

We went out past the airport and did a bit of biking. Everything felt solid and good. Then it was on to the Energy labs to do a quick out and back run there. Solid. It wasn’t til we got back to town that American finally opened and called to let me know the helmet was there! Success! So another trip out to the airport and back. (At this point Bekah was getting tired of seeing the Queen K in the car).

IMG_1632Early to bed, early to rise again. Got down to the swim area Friday morning so I could get in and swim at 7. I like getting IMG_1634some prep (if possible) at the actual start time of the race. Gives you a good idea of how it will look sun wise, etc on race day. It was fun to swim out to the coffee boat and back. No coffee for me. Water and a breakfast biscuit though! After a quick ride and run, it was time to relax and put my feet up and wait to pick up my sister and get to bike check-in. The airport was uneventful (thankfully!). At bike checkin, I just happened to end up next to Hines Ward (and his coach Paula!) and the number 2 seeded male pro

I had my usual pre-race meal and went to bed early.

 

Race morning!

I got up early (about 3) and gathered up my things. Bekah and I left the condo early so she could get to body marking on time. I ate my breakfast (waffles, of course) and did my hair in the car. I tried to nap for a bit longer, but it just wasn’t happening. As soon as I could, I headed over to body marking. There’s a whole process to check-in on race day. First you go through body marking where tri tats were applied by volunteers. In this case, Bekah and Jennifer were in my number range! Bekah had warned me before that age wasn’t marked on your calf. Bekah got my numbers on and then it was to weigh in.

I weighed in a bit higher than I would have liked, but told myself to not let it bother me. Then it was on to get sunscreen and Vaselined up. But no putting on sunscreen over your numbers. They would have peeled right off. From here I went into transition. I had my bike pump so I went over and pumped up my tires. I loaned my pump to a nice Australian guy who was also here for his first Kona. After a few more times loaning out my pump, I went over to put my nutrition in my bike and run bags. You had to have an escort to access your bags and I was a bit scatter brained and had to go back to my run bag twice. Whoops!

From here, I went back to body marking to drop my pump off with Bekah and then just sat for a while. Waiting. I eventually got up and got in the line for the porta potties. I ran into my team mate, Garrett. We chatted for a while. Rumor was it was going to be a hot day, since you could see the top of the volcano. It’s not something you can often see in the morning. Not a cloud in the sky. I decided to go sit in line to get in the water. It was about 20 minutes before the pro start at this point. There weren’t too many people waiting at this point, but as time passed the area filled up. Soon Boom! The pro men were off. The pro women got prepped to go and a minute or two before the cannon went off, they started letting us into the water. I was a bit surprised, but not my call!

The water felt a bit chilly, but I swam out to the start line (I like trying to get a good spot) and settled in to tread water for 20 minutes. I positioned myself away from the pier, but not all the way to the outside buoy. I felt like it was going to be a good day. They kept telling us to move back (as always), but here they had about 10 paddleboarders who were zooming up and down the line, splashing as much as possible. It definitely kept people in line! Strangely getting splashed isn’t something people (even with goggles) really want done to them. Time kept ticking by. Soon we were a minute or two away from start. I stated both my watches and waited for the gun. At this point the paddleboarders stopped going up and down the line and people started “drifting” forward a bit. Soon Boom! We were off.

Time to go. Swim swim swimmy. It wasn’t as bad as other swim starts have been for me. Maybe because the people on the start line were all more evenly matched in terms of swim skill? I’m used to getting away from most of the mess in about 500m. However, not today. I did my best to get out and in front, but there were bodies everywhere. I started praying that I’d be okay and stay calm. I prayed that I wouldn’t get hit or jostled too much. I started singing in my head. I’m sure the swim is beautiful. But most of what I remember is being surrounded by blue caps and looking up every now and then to sight. I remember seeing some large hotels. Keep going.Meredithswim1 I finally settled into a pace and kept hoping that I’d see the Body Glove boat (the turn around point) soon. Finally, it was here! I was still swimming pretty wide on the buoys to keep out of too much of a violent swim. I had a hard time getting around people and was constantly surrounded on either side by guys. The band of my watch had come undone a bit and I could feel it drag in the water. I tried to fix it, but soon it got lose again. I hoped it would just stay on.

swimexitHeading back to shore. You could make out the pier. A few times on the way back I felt the waves move me gently. Breath. I never felt like we were pushing pace too hard. About 1/2 way back I started to feel my left arm. I’d put plenty of body glide there, but it still got rubbed raw. Soon the chocolate milk bottle on the pier got larger and suddenly without any warning people started to GO again. It was like a sprint to the finish. Something I’ve never had happen in an Ironman swim before. About the last 500-800m people just started going like they did at the start. So I went with them. There was another pink cap to my left. I tried to stay ahead of her. I’d seen another 1-2 ahead of me, so I knew I was pretty solidly in front in the age group pack of swimmers. MGtrans1-7

Soon it was up and out of the water. It looked like I swam just about a 57. Solid day. I was aiming for a 55/56 and both Mo and Matt had told me there wasn’t anyway I’d swim under an hour. Through the “showers” to get some of the salt off and I grabbed my bike bag. It was easily identifiable with the orange duct tape on the handle. I saw Bekah and Jen on the pier and shouted “F Mo!” to one of them. Into the change tent for a quick strip of the skin suit. Then out to the bike. Threw my helmet on and headed out of transition.

IMG_1638A guy almost collided with me as we ran for the bike out. I had left my shoes on my bike and made it to the mount line and jumped on. Soon it was out towards the warehouses before heading up Kulakini Highway. It was amazing going through the turn from Palani to the highway. So many people, just like the Tour de France. I thought I heard my name, but no time to look around. I knew this area was all up and then a turn around before you head back down. I’d felt slow here yesterday, but I just seemed to fly. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Soon down and then up Palani to the Queen K. Time to settle in. It’s a long way out the Queen K. I took a few glances at my watch and it seemed like I was flying, but told myself to get while the getting is good. You never know how the day will go or when the winds will blow up. I checked a few times as I was convinced we must be getting a tail wind since I was going so fast. But from looking at surroundings, it didn’t appear to be the case.

I felt like I was getting passed like crazy. It’s kinda demoralizing a bit how often I felt like I was getting passed. Mainly by guys, but still. Tried to stay focused on my own race. About 20 miles in I got swallowed by a drafting pack so I started soft pedaling to fall back and not get caught up in that madness. I felt like about every 10-15 minutes I saw a course official go by. It was good to see that they were trying to be out there an monitor. Just about 30 miles in I hear a “Well someone has a swimming background.” I look over, it’s Garrett. I was pretty happy I held him off until 30 miles in. He had some girl on his tail but I stuck to my race and kept going.

Aid stations come about every 7 miles. I try to stay hydrated. Keep my salt down. Eat. Every aid station I douse myself with water. Cold is better than hot. Soon we hit the turn left and then a few miles later, it back right and heading to Hawi. I’ve ridden this area of the course before. I didn’t feel like it was really a “climb” then. I didn’t really feel that way here either. There are some definite ups, but it’s not like its one long 7 mile climb. It feels good to have some more familiar surroundings. I realize I’m not really needing to pee. I try anyway. Not super successful.

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View from Kulakini Hwy

About 3 miles from Hawi is when I get hit with headwinds. Suck. At least it’s only a few miles til we turn. Soon it’s into the town, turn and head back down. Over half way through. I skip my special needs back and head back to town. 60 miles in I’m on pace to go 5 hours. When I was 56 miles in my watch had said 2:30. Fastest 56 miles I’ve done. This scares me a little, but i don’t feel over extended. It doesn’t feel like I have a tail wind here either. The winds aren’t too bad from the side at least.

Back down and a left. Here it is a bit of a climb back to the Queen K. I hate this stretch of road. Almost to the turn and Neilia comes by me. She’s lost her front derauiler and making me look like I’m standing still. I try to go with her. We’re about 80 miles in. It’s here when I realize changing my bike fit a month ago just wasn’t enough time to get used to the position. I’ve hit the end of my endurance in this bike fit. Crap. We get back onto the Queen K and I keep going back and forth every few minutes with a guy in a Sailfish racing suit. Why is this important? It’s not. But the previous day my parents had told me to swim like a sailfish, powerful pedals and fast feet. Apparently sailfish are the fastest swimmers. It’s small stuff like this that makes me smile.

BikeWe start to hit some head winds and soon I’m climbing up the scenic overlook hill and donkey crossing hill. I did this stretch Thursday. I don’t like it anymore now than I did then. They’re deceptive hills but there is good cheering through the water stop here. It’s looking more and more like I’ll roll in more like 5:25. It’s still in my goal range, but a bit of a let down after getting so quickly through the first 60 miles. One of the water stops has a cyclist down in the middle. They move us to the other side of the road and then let us back over. The ambulance is headed out. Not good.

There were 2 more drafting packs that swallowed me up and spit me out. At the penalty tent I had seen 3 people stopped. Several people passing me have red marks through their bike numbers. I’m assuming this marks their penalty. Some of the water stops were littered with bottles. Once or twice I thought I was going to be taken out by one as the wind caught them.

Soon I was passed the airport. Crossed over the run course. No pro men out here yet and passed the energy labs. Looking across the street it was nice to see the 20 mile marker, Too bad I wasn’t already there on the run. Made it back into transition. Off the bike and hand her off. Baby Jane had done her work. I came in under 5:30. Happy.

Through the transition area to grab my run bag and into the tent. A quick change of socks, Vaseline on my arms and grabbed my nutrition and I was off. I accidentally forgot my salt for my run in my bag. Whoops. I had extra in my bottle from the bike and some in my special needs, but not sure how much extra I had left. I ran out of transition and within the first 20 m of the run I had a guy run between me and the fence and shove me as he slid by. No reason for it. A girl who exited transition with me commented on the rudeness. We ran up through Palani and then down around onto Ali’i Drive. My stomach felt terrible. I wanted to puke, but knew I wouldn’t. I tried to get a handle on my pace and figured I was running about 7:45s. A bit too fast. But I had a feeling I could work with this girl next to me for the run.

DSC_0045After about 3 miles I chickened out and dropped back a bit. I wish I’d kept running with her, but I was worried about my pace, if I could keep it, etc. And my stomach wasn’t feeling any better. Soon I hit mile 4 where my sister and Bekah were cheering. It really helped to see them. A bit further and I hit the end of Ali’i and turned back. The girl I came out of transition with gave me a smile. It was good to see Garrett and Neilia as I headed out. Neither of them were too far in front of me at the time. I caught Garrett back into town as he was walking. Neilia just kept gaining time on me.

As I made it closer to town I saw Claudia and Jen Walker.  Soon I was at Palani and climbing to the Queen K. Desiree had told me that this hill sucked, but I thought of her pushing Beau in the stroller up Wilke and was glad it wasn’t that hard. We had good cloud cover on the run and I never really felt hot, but I constantly was putting ice everywhere and pouring water on myself. Heading out to the Energy Labs I had a front row seat getting to see the pros come in. That was definitely pretty cool. Not that I could recognize them by sight for the most part. I was a bit jealous that they were finishing and I still had time to go.

At mile 13 I tried the coke. It didn’t help my stomach. It seems like it takes forever to get out to the energy labs. There isn’t much to look at on the way out. You just keep looking for the solar panels near the road. I was out of salt and ready for my special needs bag. Finally I was heading into the Energy labs. About half way into the labs I saw Ken Glah. I had traveled with Endurance Sports Travel to St. Croix this year where I qualified and Ken was there. I said Hi and thanked him on the way by. It felt good to recognize someone. I hit the turn around and back through special needs. Finally. I got to where my bag should be and it wasn’t there. I stood there and repeated my number a few times to the volunteers there. They couldn’t find it. They told me my bag wasn’t there. Crap. No bag, no salt. Well, this race wasn’t getting done any faster. I said “F*** it!” and ran off. There were some young kids working the area. I ran off thinking. Man, I’m gonna have to write in my race report that I cussed at children. I’m such a jerk. Then this little girl comes hauling up before i make the turn to head up the road out of the energy labs and hands me my bag. “So sorry about that!” My heart melted a bit. I stuffed everything in my sports bra and headed for home. Matt’s always told me to put something in my special needs bag that makes me smile. In my case, it’s a heath bar. I didn’t eat it, but it traveled with me to the finish line where it was eventually consumedfun1

Going out of the Energy Labs I saw Apryl and Chelsea. Always good to see friendly faces on the course. Soon I was seeing the mile markers in the 20s range. Always a good thing. I seemed to be passing some people on the run now, but was also getting passed myself plenty. I tried the chicken soup. My stomach was still angry. My tongue felt a bit swollen maybe from the salt? Maybe just from the day. I tried coke again. No dice.

finishI had a few girls in my age group pass me and I started to get a bit frustrated. They looked so fresh and fast. Up the last rise and soon headed down on DSC_0210Palani. Down the hill and through the crowd, you still have about a mile to go. It’s out passed 3 more streets than you’d like and back to the finish line. Coming into that finish line is like nothing else. The line is raised and flags line either side of the finish. Sweet! 10:23 high was on the clock, I was going to PR for the Ironman distance. I threw my water bottle and cartwheeled across the finish. I got a lei and a towel on my shoulders and was walked through the transition area over to where the athlete area was. I was a World Championship Finisher! Felt pretty awesome.

I picked up my metal and got in line for massage. Bekah came and found me as she had access as a volunteer. I got my massage, drank lots of chocolate milk and we headed out to get my sister. I was able to get my stuff out of transition at this point. Bekah took it back to the car while we waited for a table at a restaurant. I had a virgin pina colada with strawberries for dinner. I knew after St. Croix my stomach would hate me if I had real food.

Definitely an amazing experience. One that I will treasure forever. A big thanks to all my friends, family and sponsors that supported me in this amazing journey. Your support is greatly appreciated and felt.

Thanks to my sponsors, Karhu – for the fastest shoes around! X2PERFORMANCE – for the awesome supplement that helps power my day, Pure Austin Gym – whose sauna was key in my heat training. Made sure I never felt uncomfortable on Ali’i drive! And Quintana Roo for the fastest, baddest bikes around!

IMG_1646Special thanks to my sister Megan who walked 12+ miles on race day just to watch me race. To Bekah, my roommate and sherpa extraordinaire, who gave me miles to get to St. Croix where I qualified and solidified the dream of Kona. She also traveled with me to Kona and puts up with my crazy schedule of racing and training. Big Thanks to the Terranovas, Paul who gave me training tips and advice for the big island (and introduced me to heat training and my sweat safety cocoon). Meredith who has guided my nutrition for the past year and has helped me to some pretty amazing results both in racing and weight loss. And to my sister Jocelyn who is my best friend, sister and biggest fan and believer in me.

 

While in Kona, I also got to snorkel with Mantas (awesome!!!).

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From the snorkel boat

and at the Captain Cook monument.

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Yoga on a tree at Capt Cooks

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More yoga

 

And eat snocones!

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So I totally didn’t update over the weekend. Whoops :)

I just got my tune up today at lunch (massage). And am looking forward to another sauna session tonight. I was at the quarry this weekend and some women were discussing Diane Nyad. They were saying that she probably could have had “a lot more fun” over the past 5 years if she hadn’t been so “obsessed” with this goal of hers. (swimming from Cuba to Florida)

I honestly was a bit shocked. I think Diane’s story is empowering! I pointed out that she probably wouldn’t have spent her time swimming, unless she really liked it. I work out about 25 hours a week… because it’s fun. Because I enjoy it and I get a lot of reward for it. I’m sure there are some post success blues that Diane feels after finally accomplishing what she set out. But without that, would the high feel as high? Sure, there’s the question of now what? But I’m sure she’ll find some new challenge to take on. People like her always do.

I’m a bit nervous of how I’ll feel post Kona, but I’ll be in Hawaii! It’ll still be fun.

I get post race blues. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop dreaming big.

Dream and reach for the stars! Don’t stop til you get there.

 

 

It’s kinda bizarre sitting here in my office thinking that next week at this time I’ll be picking up my older sister from the airport and putting the final prep on my day before the big dance. I went for my last long run today and enjoyed running around scenic and Mt. Bonnell area. I love eating hills for breakfast! Plus getting to run with my running buddies is always fun. They put up with me and my ridiculousness and I appreciate it. Thanks Clint, Roger and Bryce :D.

I went for a dip in the Quarry at lunch. Really mainly to get outside in the sun as much as anything else. Sitting at a desk all day makes me hate life.
I feel so happy in the sun!

Recently a few people have asked how I got into this whole thing anyway and while I’ll spare the complete story, the journey to Kona has a lot of beginnings in a friend, Marla Briley.

I met her during the doggie duathlon before CapTex in 2009. She invited me to train with her and some friends as she got ready for Lake Placid in July. I was totally in :). She introduced me to what “The Rock” was and early morning swims in Barton Springs. When I got severe bone bruising in my hips, she’s the one who suggested to see Dr. Sellers and Dr. Phil David who fixed me up. I was back to running in 2 months after being told I’d never run again. She gave me a torn up set of aerobars that I used through my first Ironman. She invited me along on my first Cuernavaca loops, and the dam loop for that matter! She’s the one who suggested joining a group like T3. I’m still training and coaching with T3! This led to some solid improvements in my training. She’s also the one who recommended I should start seeing Meredith Terranova as a nutritionist. The changes that Meredith has helped me with really have made a HUGE difference in this season. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without meeting Marla.

So I guess I have to thanks Sasha (my dog) and Cricket (Marla’s) for being part of the reason that we met! It’s just weird how one decision can affect a giant part of someone’s life.1375692_604986876211940_714973027_n

It’s kinda bizarre. In big training, I LOVE getting up and getting my workout on. Now that I’ve started to taper, I’m way more interested in sleeping in and not super excited about any workout. Ha!

Last night when driving home from work, everything seemed a bit quiet. Today seems about the same. I tried to get up and swim in the Quarry this morning, but I found it too dark to really easily sight :/.

I did find out my number is 2051! Kinda bizarre because at most Ironman events my age group is on the lower end of the number spectrum, but I have a good feeling about this number. Also looking through the females listed in my age group, one of them is a pro female? Not sure what’s really going on there, but it doesn’t change my race!

My plan is to go and kick some butt!

My sister sent me a care package which I finally got yesterday! Super excited to get it as it had some protein bars she made. Along with dried mango, essential oils, and a few other care items. She wrote out note cards with inspiring messages for me to read each day. I’m being good and NOT reading ahead (although I totally want to!!)

She also made us matching anklets with my power color (BRIGHT ORANGE!). I’m definitely planning on wearing it on race day.

Anklets and first notecard!

Anklets and first notecard!

 

Paul sent me some amazing photos from the race in past years. It makes me worry a little bit about the swim! But it looks amazing! I’m sure it will be a completely surreal experience racing my first Kona. I hope to truly be able to enjoy it. I feel completely humbled and lucky to have this opportunity. I can’t express my gratitude enough for all my supporters!