Dec 20, 2008

Ironman World Championship 70.3 2008

Race morning started like most race mornings - get up while it is still dark out after a night of tossing and turning. I ate something small, drank some instant breakfast shake and went to the bathroom about 4 times just to be sure. We left the condo before around 5:40am - I would have liked to leave earlier but I was up against to much resistance so I gave in.
We got in line for body marking which for such a long line moved rather quickly. They used the same kind of stamp/paint numbers they used at the Hawaii 70.3 - so my number took up my entire upper arm. What was surprising is that they did not do any number on the calf - no age or anything. I guess maybe because so many people are now wearing the long compression socks or calves..
Once in the transition area I got my bike set up, there were two open spots next to my bike so I had the end of the rack which was nice since every one else seemed so packed in tight. Kyle checked my tire pressure and we headed out to the beach to find our family.
It was not to hard to find my Mom and Jerry since she had made a huge sign..

Once again my wave started 3rd to last - and I think they said it was the largest as well so I got to see everyone else start and had plenty of time to put sun block on and get ready which is sort of a mixed blessing. My Mom was already super excited and I just wanted to stay calm as long as possible - which was really hard.
Finally it was my turn to line up in the coral. I gave everyone hugs and lined up. My Mom hugged me and I started to cry so I had to put my goggles on. The pre-race jitters/emotions got to me completely.

As Kainoa and I had discussed I seeded myself in the middle back. We stood there for a while and then they lined us up on the beach and they fired the cannon and I finally got to start. Kyle's dad - Tom took a video of it which is pretty cool. I swear I'm in there some where wearing my sleeveless wetsuit.
It was my first ever beach start - I did my best to run /trudge in until it was deep enough to start swimming and enough other girls were also swimming to start. I went pretty hard for the first couple minutes as planned but I was not able to keep with the main pack. But a second group formed and we all seemed to find our places switching back and forth in the lead. The water was still pretty flat and I was able to sight and swam pretty straight for me. I focused on keeping good form and was bale to get in a good rhythm out to the turn buoy. Then the guys wave that started 5 min after swam up on and over me. I managed to still feel good but was pushed around a lot more. The water also got a little less smooth so I managed to get some extra salt water up my nose. On the way back you swim straight into the sun coming up which made it hard to see the buoys but I just sighted a little bit more and still swam fairly straight in. By the end my arms and lats were fatigued which makes me feel like I had good form or at least was using my muscles. At some point on the way back in I must have swallowed to much salt water along with the waves I started to feel a little sick to my stomach but tried to ignore it and just get finished. I was lucky it felt like the waves helped in a bit and I was done with the swim.

As is always the case I felt a little disoriented but I did my best to run out of the water and up the beach. I did hear them announce my name which was kind of cool.

I also like the car wash style shower. I only managed to unzip my wetsuit before getting to the wetsuit strippers so they helped me strip it down and then pulled it off and sent me on my way to grab my bag and into the changing tent were another great volunteer helped me put my swim stuff into my bag as I got my bike shoes on. There were not a lot of bikes on the racks anymore but I kind of expected that since my wave was so late and I'm the fastest swimmer.

Once on the bike I started getting in some nutrition mostly to get the salt water taste out of my mouth. The causeway/hill was no big deal and I just settled into my aerobars. I have never raced or even ridden on anything like this bike course, no hills, no coasting, no recovery time. It was just plain weird.

My neck was tight from the start but nothing to bad. The first half of the course felt good and went by as I kind of expected. I got in my nutrition well and fallowed my usual half ironman plan.
You always hear all about the packs of riders drafting but it was weird I felt very alone on the course. I saw a few of the big pelton groups on the out and back portion but I was mostly alone the entire ride which made it a very tough ride mentally to stay positive. I started talking to my self a lot. I kept telling my self I need to keep my speed above 20 mph so my areo helmet was useful and then a bunch of random stuff. Then the second half I found a headwind which sucked a lot of energy and speed out of me. I saw a few ambulances on the last section and cars kept trying to drive in the closed lane which was kind of scary. and I never even had the chance to be tempted by the draft packs.
By the time I started getting close to T2 I had taken all my gels, gone through 2 and half full bottles of accelerade and drank a bottle of plain water so I would have to say my nutrition went flawlessly. I was ready to be off the bike and be around other people though.

In T2 the volunteers took great care of me by helping me with my gear bag and spraying me down with sun block while I put my shoes on and in no time I was on the run surrounded by lots of people on their second laps. Since it was hot at the first aid station I grabbed a cup of ice and pretty much never was with out it the rest of the run.
With in a mile or so on lap 1 I caught Kyle (who was on his 2nd lap). He was struggling a little bit in the heat so we talked and I shared my ice with him and kept an eye on him. The causeway/hill really sucked - it was so hot with the water reflection and pavement it took the rest of the loop to recover from it. The rest of the lap we went back and forth a few times and then he sped up and headed into the finish while I started my second lap.
On the second lap I was alone on the course again except for the Hoyts who were in front of me the entire lap. I tried my best(ok maybe not my best) to catch them but just did not have it in me.
My feet hurt, my left hip was tight and my stomach was not feeling great. I made the huge mistake of not eating a gel or really anything else because nothing sounded good anymore. I just kept sucking on ice and trying to cool my self off. I would drink half a cup of Gatorade at the most. I did try some coke at mile 10 or so and it turned my stomach. I have clue how I could look so happy because really I just plain struggled the rest of the way to the finish and just wanted to be done. I look kind of horrible in the pictures my mom got but for some reason I smiled for the event photographers. I guess I was just being more honest with my mom..

The last mile seemed to go on forever till I reached the round about and then the finish.
Yes I am a total sucker and got my finisher video mostly because it was such a blur...

Final times:
Swim 38:17
T1 3:40
Bike 3:00:30
T2 3:05
Run 2:10:54
Overall 5:56:26
Division position 49 of 51

Luckily Kyle was out of the med tent in tim eto meet me at the finish. I did not feel good. I started to cry I was very disappointed in my race and my run especially.
We walked over to a place to sit down since I did not want to go to the med tent. I put my head down and Kyle's dad went and got the nurses in the med tent and they walked me in. First I was hot so they put iced towels on me then I was shivering out of control so they put warm towels and a milar blanket on me till I stopped shaking. While they kept an eye on my vitals and they tried to get me to drink some water. After a little bit I was able to sit up and put on my sweater and milar skirt to stay warm and was able to leave the med tent.

Some closing thoughts and why it took me so long to finish this race report... Initially was hugely disappointed in my time/race but now I am happy with my times. I PRed in both the swim and bike and survived a hot run.. I am still disappointed that I gave up mentally on the run and let negative thoughts get the best of me. I really did feel like a little, almost tiny fish in a very big pond. But knowing this was the world championships I came with the goal to not come in last in my age group and I didn't. Even though I'm focusing on half Ironman distance races again I don't think I will be returning to Clearwater even if I get a slot. I'm glad I went but in all honesty the course does not really fit my strengths and is way to late in the season. So there you go I kept putting off writing the recap because it took me a while to figure out what really happened and why I was disappointed at the finish. It was a huge learning experience... Time to rest, recover and get faster next year.


NW Firefly said...

You are a WINNER no matter what your times show. I am so proud of you and your accomplishment of be an Clearwater Finisher! Congratulations! I am also glad that you have added this post. It is important to learn from life's challenges and this shows that you have done that.
I will always be your Biggest fan!
Love you LOTS!

Zach said...

Good report and nice race. Great job on the PR swim and bike! That's really cool that you were able to experience Clearwater and can now say you competed in the World Championships.