Archive for the ‘client race reports’ Category:

Lora Elkins – Augusta 70.3 Race Report

I started this journey on April 17, 2013 when I met Laura Sophiea at Starbucks for coffee and a chat! I expressed to Laura my desire to do a 1/2 ironman and that Augusta 2013 would be my race!

For those of you who don’t Laura she is a wonderfully terrific triathlete coach. She coaches athletes from all over the U.S. to compete in triathlons specifically in the 1/2 ironman and full ironman distance. Laura is currently the world champion at the full ironman distance in her age group!! At the conclusion of our Starbucks meeting I figured “Laura knows best” and hired her to prepare me for Augusta 2013!

Boy was I nervous/excited!!

What have I done now. I had competed in triathlons, but only at the sprint distance! I trained with Laura from April 17 – Sept 29! What an amazing journey it was!! We developed a wonderful connection and friendship!! I had doubts along the way, but Laura was always there for me!! She said you have to believe, stay positive, visualize your desired outcome and most of all have fun and SMILE!!

I was ready and I was prepared.

The training was done and race day was here!! I didn’t know what to expect, but I SMILED….during the swim I SMILED, while I was on the bike I SMILED and through out the 13 mile run…I SMILED BIG!!! It was an amazing memorable journey!!!!!

There are so many that helped me along the way….

thanks to all the terrific people at Dynamo Multisport, Cat, Holly, Mary, Linda, Lindsey etc and Dynamo Masters Swimming especially the swim coach Maria Thrash!! She’s got some crazy drills and some killer workouts, but she keeps us laughing, makes us faster and is a terrific swim coach…one of the best around!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to my swim partner Libby Whelan who constantly challenges me at swim practice. Sometimes it is a war in our lane!! The lane of L’s….Libby, Lora, Laura & Lindsey! Those are some fast women!

Thanks to my Biking Interval peeps….Lynn, Libby, Sheila, Laura, Barbie, Alex, Anna. These women will flat out kick your ass. They made me dig deep week after week after week. I was so far behind….but I hung in there!! I’m still behind, but not as far!!!!!!!

Thanks to my lovely biking friends Laura, Tricia, Tracy, Mary, Jen, Gina, Veronica, Cathy for all the encouragement on some of my long rides!! They said you got this….you have been training so hard! I know I complained about how tired I was on some of those rides and couldn’t wait for it to be over so we could have a beer!!!!!!! You guys rock!

A special thanks to my running partner, Elaine Tyson “Lanier” who endured 5:45am track workouts and plyometrics every week with me!! These were some of my hardest workouts and to have someone get up and meet you at 5:45am is a godsend!! Love you Lanier..xo.

So much thanks to my entire family and all my friends for support and encouragement, it helps more than you can know!! Many thanks to my dear friend Barbara Chandler “barbie” who always cheers the loudest and has my back!!

Lastly to my significant other, Bill Hanks, who lets me be me and helps me live my dreams and accomplish my goals, whatever they may be…love you sweetheart!

Finally to my coach and friend Laura who I love dearly….we did it!!!

 

– Editors Note: Lora podiumed in Augusta!  Congrats Lora!! –

Amy’s IM Cozumel 2010 Race Report

Editors Note: Amy is one of Laura’s athletes, she recently qualified for Kona at Ironman Cozumel. Thank you Amy for sharing your race report with us!

Ironman Cozumel 2010
by Amy Gluck on Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 4:57pm

Two for one?

After returning from Hawaii, I realized I really needed to figure out what was next. I had not signed up for an Ironman for 2011 and things were really filling up. I didn’t want to have to train through another winter, I was sure of that. However, given the rather expansive amount of time my body takes to recover from an Ironman, I didn’t wait until too late in the summer either. The other thought that crossed my mind was, “What would happen if I went off my fitness from Kona?” I had just had my best race in Kona. Could I get that summer of training to pay off twice? I looked at Florida, but I was pretty sure 4 weeks wasn’t going to be enough time for me to even come close to putting myself back together and there was a chance it could be a cooler race. I looked at Cozumel. It was 7 weeks out. It was guaranteed to be warm. It was Thanksgiving weekend. Mexico is cheap (unless you book on a holiday weekend at the last minute – doh!) I took until the last possible day to make my decision and sealed the deal on Halloween – Cozumel, it is!

It wasn’t until I woke at 4am up to catch my flight on Wednesday morning that I realized, “I’m going to a foreign country by myself for a week!” I was so focused on the race, that thought hadn’t even occurred to me. This is something I never would have even considered in my pre-Ironman days. When I got to the airport, Spirit’s computers were down. The lines took forever. When I finally got to the front for the line – JACKPOT – no fees for luggage. They couldn’t charge us because the computers were down. The Glux Capacitor was flying to Mexico free of charge!

Training was going well in the days leading up to the race. The water was calm, clean, and warm. The winds that I had heard horror stories about were much milder than I had feared. My legs were still feeling a little stiff, but we’d find out the real story on race day.

Race morning I got up at 4am and ate my breakfast that I had brought with me. I started through my morning routine, completely focused on the day ahead. Maybe I was a little too focused. More than halfway through coating my pale body with sunscreen, I realized I wasn’t actually using sunscreen. I was coating my entire body with Chamois Butter! I wiped myself down with a wet washcloth and started over. I hoped my stupid mistakes were out of the way for a little while.

I hopped on the shuttle and headed down to T1. None of the volunteers could tell me the route through transition still (just like China). I put my nutrition on my bike and waited for the swim start. They surprised us with a quick dolphin show at the pier. After the pros took off, they quickly ushered us to the end of the pier and into the water where we treaded water for about 15 min until the cannon went off.

Swim: The swim in Cozumel reminds me of Kona with warm, crystal clear water and some interesting sea life. The only difference is that the beatings aren’t as severe in Cozumel. I had little contact on the swim, except at the turns which is to be expected. I had a few jellyfish stings, but there were plenty of other swimmers clearing the path in front of me. My swim was fairly enjoyable, so I expected the worst when I came out of the water. After swimming my slowest IM swim ever in Kona 7 weeks prior, my expectations were low. As I pulled myself up onto the first wooden stair, I scanned the pier for the swim clock. 1:06. Woo-hoo, a new PR – it’s on! I had finally broken 1:10 on the swim! Let me at this bike course, it’s tailored to my strengths.

T1: I quickly changed into my bike gear while my volunteer sprayed me down with SPF 80. I stopped in the port-a-potty and headed out to grab my bike. T1 is a maze in Cozumel. The racks go up and down winding roads with a few intersections and cul-de-sacs, but no set path through transition. I walked my route numerous times prior to the race, and then once more. I spotted my tree, found my bike, and followed what I had determined to be the shortest route out of transition.

Bike: This is my favorite part of the race, passing all those fast swimmers as I head out on the bike course. I was excited for the flat course and the intense heat. It’s a three loop bike course, so I set out to see what I was in for. To sum it up, the loop went like this: peaceful, headwind, crosswind, tailwind, town, x 3. The bike course was absolutely beautiful. Dare I say, it was more beautiful than Kona. The white sand beaches and Caribbean blue water was gorgeous. The only part that wasn’t particularly scenic offered a tailwind. This was a fair trade-off in my mind. The first loop went by rather quickly and I wondered how long I would be able to hold my pace given that I still hadn’t fully recovered from Kona.

By the middle of the second loop, we were catching up with the back of the pack. It got a little jammed up in one section and a ref came by and doled out about 20 penalties as fast as his iPhone shutter would snap pics. We all loaded up at next aid station and pulled in for a 4 min picnic in the sin bin. To be honest, I was relieved for the break. The flat course was killing my back and the faster pace was making it harder to get my nutrition down. I stuffed down my Clif bar and I was the first one out of there. I never saw anybody from that party again. I was “drafting” though, huh? I didn’t let it rattle me. I was determined to use it to my advantage as best I could.

I was so happy to hit the tailwind on my third loop. That’s a great way to end a long ride. I passed a few girls in this section. I was wondering where they came from since it was the first time I had seen them all day. Then, all of a sudden, one passed me back. Not happening. I passed her back. She passed me again. Sorry! I passed her back again. And so it went for the next 10 miles. As we wove through the streets downtown, it got a little trickier and each time I pulled in front, I was hoping to find transition in my sights. She passed me back….I passed her again…and there it was – transition – and I was in front. I was so ecstatic to be the first one into transition (for no reason, it really didn’t mean a thing). As I unclipped and hopped off my bike, I turned to give her a quick arrogant smirk. However, she never saw it. When I turned around, all I saw was her riding off to start her third loop. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I burned up all that energy racing a girl who was 30 miles behind me? What a dumb mistake. Maybe. I came off the bike in 5:27, a new PR (with my 4 min penalty included). I probably wouldn’t have hit that if she wasn’t pushing me. I had now PRed both my swim and bike and I was facing a relatively flat marathon course ahead of me. An overall PR would be so sweet!

T2: I grabbed my bag and found a chair in T2. There was one other woman in there with me. I changed my shoes and grabbed my visor and headed into the port-a-potty. I was having a hard time doing my thing with 2 GU’s in my hand. Before I knew it, one fell to the floor. Does the 10 sec rule apply when it’s the floor of a port-a-potty and I’m going to be sucking on the outside of the wrapper? It was over 90 degrees. I was going to have to put the rule in effect, regardless.

Run: As I hit the run course, I knew I was in trouble. My first mile was 7:36 and it was pretty painful. “That’s as good as it gets today,” I thought. A marathon PR was out of the question and an overall PR was in jeopardy. This marathon was going to be about survival. I tried to hang with a pro just starting her second loop. This was helping me hold a relatively respectable pace. The run course is fairly flat. The aid stations are every kilometer which was nice. The water was in plastic tube wrappers. It was hard to bite into them and drink them, but it’s easy to carry the water while running. I was undecided whether I liked them, or not. I spent most of my time grabbing water, ice, and “Coca.”

The first lap was hot, sunny, and desolate. I just wanted it to be over. The run course is 3 loops as well. I wasn’t sure if I had 3 in me. A girl passed me halfway through the first loop. I took notice. This doesn’t happen very often. Her boyfriend and/or coach was running along the side of the run course yelling to her and pushing her hard. She was in a good position in the race, but this was mile 3 of a marathon. This was a disaster in the making. I wanted to say something to her, but I didn’t have the energy (plus, I didn’t know if she was in my Age Group). Sure enough, about 2 miles later, I passed her as she was walking and I never saw her on the course again.

The sun was starting to set as I started the 2nd loop and there was now a little shade from the palm trees on the run course and the traffic was starting to pick up. It doesn’t matter what loop they’re on, it always helps to have people to pass. By the time I started loop 3, the sun was no longer a factor. It had cooled down considerably and was actually quite comfortable. I focused on completely ignoring what hurt worst and pushed on. The last (and first) mile of each loop offers wonderfully enthusiastic spectators. By the end of my third loop I really needed their energy and those Mexicans know how to party! With about a ½ a mile to go, a girl went flying by me. Was she in my age group? I couldn’t tell. The body marking had worn off, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t have an answer to her pass. If that was the last slot to Kona passing me, I still couldn’t have caught her. I had nothing left. I was on cruise control, aka damage control. I was quite disappointed with my marathon time. Given the conditions of the course, it is well suited for a marathon PR. I forced a smile as I crossed the finish line. 10:33 was not what I was hoping for.

My volunteer sat me down in a chair and shortly thereafter, another girl was seated next to me. “Are you going to Kona?” she asked. I said I didn’t know. I had no idea where I had finished in my Age Group. “You were third in our Age Group. There are three slots. Are you taking one?” she continued. Clearly, she had friends or family on the sidelines giving her info. With the poor bodymarking, there is no way should would have known this otherwise. “If I qualified, I’m taking my slot.” I answered. She was clearly disappointed. “Where are you from?” I asked. “Belgium” she said as she hung her head. At that point I realized that I had just squeaked by. She must have been really gunning for me out there and I had no idea how close the race had become in the end. It was over with now and all I wanted was pizza. Lots of pizza.

As I made my way into the finisher’s area, I was greeted by my new best friends that I met as soon as I had landed in Cancun. We all took the shuttle back to the hotel, showered, and went for dinner. Allllllllll inclusivvvvvvvvvvve! I was finally able to take advantage. I don’t know how many plates of food I ate, but this may have been my most impressive performance all day.

Looking back, I decided that 10:33 is a time to be proud of, no matter what my marathon time was. Crossing the finish line of an Ironman is never a moment that should be taken for granted and should be celebrated regardless of the circumstances. I had two PRs that day and a slot to Kona. That’s plenty reason for celebration! Not only that, but I had an awesome time in Cozumel. I met tons of people from all over the world and I absolutely loved the race course. I’m thinking IMCOZ in 2011!

Amy’s Kona Race Report

Editors Note: Thanks to Amy for submitting her wonderful race report from 2010 Ironman World Championships!!

Hoping third time is a charm – Kona 2010

Three years ago, I arrived in Kona with one goal: to break 11 hours. I did not achieve my goal (11:38). The following year, I arrived in Kona with the same goal. Again, I did not achieve it (11:21). I now had a third shot at my long standing goal. Was I prepared? I had my best training season yet. I was hopeful.

Race morning was all business. I got up at 4:00am, ate breakfast, and walked down from my conveniently located condo, 1/2 mile from the pier. I headed into body marking, and then over to my bike to load up my nutrition. I found a spot in transition to stretch and mentally prepare myself. The commotion in transition on race morning is overwhelming which is why I missed the first announcement that Chrissie was out of the race. It only took a second before it was all the buzz. It was the only thing people were talking about. The questions and speculation were a great distraction from all the nervous tension. Follow-up announcements verified that it was true. There would be a new female World Champion this year.

Swim
The pros got a 30 min head start this year. As they took off, the AG’s headed towards the water. I waited 15 min before swimming out to the starting line to tread water for the final 15 min before the cannon went off. I swam out to my usual starting spot. The cannon’s deafening explosion initiated the usual chaos. We kicked, and clawed, and swam over one another as the surfboards ushered us around the outside of the buoy line. On the long stretch out to the turn around, my swim was going fairly well. I didn’t get any knock-out punches or kicks to the head. I rounded the boat at the turn around and headed back. I was really enjoying this swim. I was getting even less contact on the way back into shore. I swam with one guy most of the way back. Stroke for stroke, we swam. I was glad to have him to spot off instead of lifting my head to find the orange buoys. Apparently, he had the same thought. When I did finally look up to spot, I noticed he and I were swimming out to sea. We were quite a ways out from the buoy line. Those surfboarders won’t let you cut inside the buoy line, but I guess they’ll let you swim to Maui if you want!

As I was swimming along the pier and getting ready to exit the water, the moment of truth was upon me. I was about to see my swim time. What was it going to be? I had worked hard on my swimming. Was this going to be my best swim time ever? The anticipation was killing me! To assess my situation, I took a look at the stroke of the swimmer to my right. Hmmmm. Then, I took a look at the stroke of the swimmer to my left. At that point, it occurred to me: “This is going to be bad, this is going to be really bad.” Just as I suspected, I exited the water in 1:17, my slowest IM swim ever. Fabulous. What a great start to achieving the goals I set for the day.

T1
I headed into T1 donned the biking gear as my volunteer sprayed me down with SPF 80. I made a quick stop in the port-a-potty and headed out to the bike racks. Empty. Ugh! The good thing is that my bike was quite easy to find.

Bike
I headed out onto the bike course, hoping this would go better than the swim and I had a chunk to time to make up now. More than I wanted to break 11 hours in Kona, I really wanted to break 6 hours on the bike course. I hadn’t been able to do that on my 2 previous trips to the Big Island. My ultimate goal for today was to ride a 5:45. As I started out, my legs felt good, the weather felt good, and the wind was light. I rode through town and past the airport feeling great. The sun was beating down by this point and the temps were rising. As I rode up the Queen K, I tried to stick to my nutrition plan. I got my Mile 50 Clif bar down at Mile 40 – BANK! However, my EFS was getting really warm and not so appetizing.

I really wanted a cold Coke. That sounded amazing to me. I had rode past a few Aid Stations wanting to grab one but didn’t. Why not? Just one. It would be a great kick. I grabbed one at the next Aid Station. WOW! That tasted awesome. I grabbed another at the next Aid Station, and another at the next Aid Station. I always say, “If something sounds good while racing, take advantage.” As I started the climb to Havi, the wind really started to pick up. Mile 50-70 were the most treacherous. I was counting down the miles until I would be out away this terrible force.
Somewhere around Mile 55, I felt water sprinkling on my right shoulder. There wasn’t anybody around me. Where was this water coming from? The skies were clear and sunny, however, there was a storm off in the distance. The wind was blowing so hard, that I was getting rained on, even though the storm appeared to be miles off in the distance. It felt amazing. It was a refreshing cool shower under the blazing sun. I finally reached the turn around and braced myself for the perilous descent. Perilous, yet much appreciated all at the same time. I crouched down into my aero bars as low as I could get and went for broke. I was sailing down the hill 30+mph. I was passing women. I was passing men. Before I knew it, I was passing people I hadn’t yet seen during the course of the race thus far. I was making up some serious time which helped ease the terror of the white-knuckle descent.

As the road evened out, I passed a large male (200+ lbs). His clothes were torn to shreds and he had some nasty road rash. He was clearly a casualty of the Kona winds. I was grateful for not being in the same position as I had some close calls that sent chills down my spine. Although I still had 30 miles to go, I no longer had to fear getting blown over. The rest of the ride in was a struggle, but I was determined to ride my “best case scenario” time: 5:45. As I rolled into transition, my bike computer read: 5:46:XX. Darn, so close. What I had forgotten is that my bike computer included the run out of transition. My official bike time: 5:45:59 – I’ll take it! (Although, this fact wouldn’t occur to me until I looked up my results after the race.)

T2
I quickly changed my shoes and stopped in at the port-a-potty. As I exited T2, the race clock said 7:08. I only had to run a 3:51 marathon and could break 11 hours. It was on!

Run
I was excited to get to the run. My run training was the best it had ever been this year and I didn’t get to reap the rewards in China. However, I had just PRed my Kona bike split by over 20 min, so I wasn’t sure what I had left for the run. The first mile tells me exactly what l have in store for the marathon. I felt pretty good. My first run split was right where I needed it to be. If my first mile is a 7:00 min. mile, I know I can actually “run” the marathon. Anything less and it’s all about survival. As I ran up Alii Drive, I tried to assess the situation. Who was ahead of me? Where was I in my age group? Did it really matter? No. However, it’s a great distraction and it keeps my mind from thinking thoughts it shouldn’t be entertaining like, “Why the ____ do I do this?” I was hitting my splits just over 7:30 pace. How long could I hold this?

I hit the turn around on Alii Dr at mile 5 and headed back, looking forward to seeing my sister again. (The best fan ever!) She got some pictures of me trying to smile. It was now time to head up the long steep hill on Palani to the Queen K. Good God! I had forgotten how long and how steep this hill really was. People were walking. That sounded like a great idea, but I knew it wasn’t. I knew I had to stay on pace. My memory of this run course was fairly flat. However, this was the point at which I decided I had a really bad memory.

My pace had slowed into the 8:00 min range now and I was only at the half-way point. It was looking like a marathon PR was out of reach. However, Louisville’s run course (previous PR) is as flat as a pancake and this was far from it. Heading into the Energy Lab is a double edge sword. I’m excited to get there because it’s the final turn-around. However, I’m keenly aware of the fact that every step down into the Energy Lab is another step up and out of the Energy Lab on the way back. I hit the turn around and headed back. I started doing math in my head. My marathon PR was out of reach, however, I calculated how slow I could run the last few miles and still break 11 hours. This was the mental boost I needed at this point. I could slow to a 10:00 min pace and still have time to spare. I knew I had it. I wondered if I could hit my “best case scenario” finish time: 10:45. There was a chance.

At Mile 24, I finally saw Laura getting ready to smash her age group record. Mile 25 is a cruel joke. It’s uphill the whole way. It took me a full 9:10 to get up it. That was more time than I could afford if I wanted to finish in 10:45. I flew down the hill on Palani, and passed: one…two…three… traffic lights to the turn down to Alii Drive. I think it’s been said once or twice before; coming down Alii Dr is the best feeling in the world! It truly is. As I kicked it in for a strong finish, the clock slowly came into view 10:45:54, 55, 56, 57….NO, NO, NO!! 10:46. DOH!! I finished in 10:46:10 – just seconds short of my goal. Oh well, I guess that means this isn’t my last Ironman…..

My sister met me at the finish line. I grabbed something to drink and started telling her a story when I heard Mindy’s name being announced at the finish line. I stopped mid-sentence and turned back towards the finish line to congratulate her. I never saw her out on the course the whole day and we were less than a minute apart. As we walked into the finisher’s area, James greeted us and Laura finished shortly thereafter. I was so happy to see everybody and hear their stories of the day. As a just reward, a bunch of us went to get showers and some sloppy Mexican food and head back down to the finish line to see Kona wind down for 2010. Oh yea, I’ll be back. For sure!

Editors Note: Congratulations to Amy, as she place 3rd in her AG at IM Cozumel and will be heading to Kona in 2011!!! Great qualifying race Amy!

Julie’s IM Canada Race Report

Ok so I wasn’t going to write this silly report but I am sitting here with two glasses of wine in me and my husband is eagerly typing away his report so here goes…….
I always begin every race with 3 goals and this one was no different:

  • Be safe, no flat tire or no mechanical issues
  • PR the race – beat Wisconsin time – 11:42
  • Make it to Kona.

It was finally race morning, I had thought about this very day for over six months…in my head I thought I had played out all the scenarios but deep down inside I knew what I thought would happen and what would happen would not be the same.

Got to transition nice and early but as luck would have it so did 3,000 other athletes. The line for the bathroom was way too long, luckily Sarah Salvades rescued us by giving us her key to her hotel room which was next to transition. Yes, Sarah you have no idea how you saved me at that point and did so two other times on this day. After our quick visit to the bathroom, Matt and I made it down to the swim start. BD convinced me to start the swim as far to the left as the officials would allow. Matt followed to a degree but eventually I left him behind and found Billy. Billy and I were beyond the swim start line and I knew this was going to be great. The start was finally here and after a short prayer the gun went off.

At first BD and I were just moving along in the water, still standing as others were trying to swim next to us. I kept thinking, “I am moving faster than they are, sweet!” Eventually we had to swim.

The water was cold but not as bad as I thought it would be. BD took off hard but I need to start out slower and build so I let him go. After a short period, I found my rhythm. What a great swim, the water is so clear I could make out the type of wetsuit for the person next to me. I really never ran into traffic until after the first turn – what a change from Wisconsin.

While I swam, missed my swimming buddy Ed but told myself I could do it as he was in Louisville swimming alone too. The first boat came really fast and I thought, “You got this.” Than the first coughing fit started. Literally had to stop swimming so I could cough a few hundred times – ok so not a hundred but it sure felt like it. Yes, I had three of these episodes during the whole swim and was totally convinced my swim time would suck…really pushed the end to make up for the coughing episodes. Stood up on rocks and looked at my watch – 1:09 – wow that is really good for me. PR by 5 minutes. Little did I know it would take me another minute or so to get out of the water – mental note for Canada – swim right to the end as it is very rocky, do not stand up too soon.

Love the wet suit stripers; I think they have the best job. Someday when I retire instead of being a Wal-Mart greater I think I will be a wet suit striper at Ironman events. Too much fun.

The bike ride out of town was amazing and was fast…. slight downhill ride all the way to Ricters Pass. Durng this section, I had Laura’s note in my head “CTFO” on the way out, so I did, maybe too much but who really knows. Ricters Pass was nothing like the climbs in Georgia and I actually liked it. I saw 48 mph on the backside – how cool was that – think it was the fastest I have ever descended. Sotir, I thought of you, thanks buddy for the tips as I used them all. You are the descend champ.

Bike was going really well until I saw the storm on the horizon…. At one point the wind became so strong I wondered if I could even move forward. On one descend, I was going maybe 10 mph where I should have been going at least 30 mph….ugh! The wind lasted for a while – hour or so and it sucked. I tried to find big guys to tug behind but none came by. At one point, what I think was Pam Reed and group of about 4 other girls from my age group came by me and I thought about hooking onto them but was afraid as race officials had been around me all day so I let them go – little did I know but at that moment I let my spot to Kona go too. Bad choice.
Oh yeah, in the middle of the wind, we had rain and yes HAIL….it actually hailed on me…great. Finally made it Yellow Lake and the long climb – well actually I am not sure exactly when Yellow Lake climb began as it is a long and gradual slow climb but somewhere in this section I figured I had to be on Yellow Lake. You knew a race is cold when they hand out space blankets at the top of yellow Lake….yikes. I declined the blanket but honestly about half way down I regretted that decision as my whole body shoke uncontrollably and I thought I was going to loose control of my bike while all at the same time I kept thinking, “GO fast, you lost way too much time with all that wind ….your bike time is going to suck ….push hard…”

The ride into town was just like the start – slight downhill and fast. Only thought, “Yes, the bike is finally over. No flat tires, not bike issues and I am safe – goal number one achieved. Time to transition and run. I know how to run.”

Had to really pee off the bike so I literally changed and transitioned in the porta- potty – you should have seen the ladies faces when I just handed them my transition bag and told them I was all set. They laughed and told me I was the easiest one all day. All I could think was, “ I am sure my bike time sucked so I had to make it up some how.” Yes, I did not look at my bike split, as I knew it would end my day if I did – finally looked at two days after the race – 6:12 – I can do better.

Felt awesome on the run, yes, my feet were frozen from all the rain and hail on the bike but I knew this was only temporary – remember pain is temporary and it does not always get worse.

My first half of the marathon was strong – kept it all under 9 minute miles and did exactly what wanted. Towards the middle I waffled a little but eventually found the strength to pick it up again. Thank you BD for letting me chase you from mile 18 – 20. Also, thank you to Iron prayer, as all I kept telling myself was make it to top of the hill at mile 22 where the church is and you are home free. Last two miles of this race are the best – slight downhill and lots of people. I was home.
As I came into the finish I finally looked at the clock, 11:34 – ok so I achieved goal number two – PR by 8 minutes…. Not bad on a tough day but would it be enough to get the third goal? I thought not but who knew.

Mark was waiting for me as I crossed the line and the look in his eyes told me he had not made his ultimate goal either…darn, I really wanted this for him. Together we waited for the others to finish. Eventually, I ended up in medical, as my core body was way too cold and who should take care of me but sister Madonna. Apparently she had wetsuit issues and had dropped out of the race. What an inspiration. She sat and talked with me for some time and reassured me that the winds were tough and that IM Canada 2010 was the coldest one she could remember. God bless her.

In the end, I finished 12th in my age group and missed Kona by 3 spots. Did not make that final goal…at least not yet…yes, I signed up for Canada again – think I have some unfinished business in Penticton.

Bonnie, I need to swim under a 1:05 – think you might be able to help me….
Bike – just keep working and maybe train in a wind tunnel – LOL
Run – I can run – Just keep running – 50 mile run this fall – early spring marathon…..

Thank you to Matt and Rich – training with the two of you was awesome. Will miss our early morning bike rides. Rick and Ingrid Murray, Rich and Michelle Williams and Gayle – it was fun hanging out with you guys. Loved our wine tour on Monday, even if we did it on bikes. BD, Mark and Sarah your support and energy were awesome. Sarah, you truly saved me when you let me use your bathroom, took my arm warmers and rescued me after the medical tent when I could not find anyone and I just wanted a warm shower. Love those Mongo “orange” jackets.

Finally, thank you to Laura Sophiea, my coach my friend. We began this journey 3 years ago and it is not over yet. We will go to Kona together. I believe in life things happen for a reason, not sure why I did not make it this year, but something tells me we will figure it out.

Canada 2011…..here I come – I guess some addictions do not need therapy. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

IM Louisville 2009 Race Report – Nikki P

IM Louisville

Have you ever shown up to a party and felt so out of place that the only thing you wanted to do what high tail it to the nearest exit.  That is how I felt the when I showed up on Thursday to IM Louisville.  First of let me put this out there, I never, ever, ever dreamed of being a triathlete .  I was always one of those people who “worked out” at the gym, but not really; ya’ll know what I am talking about. As I walk around and stared at everyone, all I could think of is I am going to get my bandonks kicked.  My mantra that day was I can’t swim, or bike well, maybe I can run 26.2; maybe…
So I did the only self-respecting thing I could do at the time.  I called my coach Laura Sophiea and had a meltdown.  All she said was, “You can do this Nikki.  You are mentally tough.  You made it through all of your training.  You will prove them all wrong”; meaning the thoughts in my head.  I went to bed that night feeling a little better, and woke up the next morning feeling empowered to do my practice swim.  As I jumped into the water, I felt calm as I repeated my mantra over and over in the water; this is something I worked on a lot to not freak out in the water.  As, I exited the swim, I felt great and was smiling.  This momentum me carried through the remainder of my pre-race activities Friday and Saturday .  Tip-always throw the junk out of your head and replace it with a positive(s).  Junk bogs you down; empowering thoughts can propel you to achieve your goals.
Flash forward to race day morning-Laura was now with me…I got up at 3:45, feeling anxious.  I reluctantly ate my breakfast because I felt like my stomach was about to jump out of my body; but since Laura kept telling me to eat, I ate and drank my water.  Laura and I then walked down to transition and she kept filling my head with positive thoughts.  I checked my bike one last time, looked around in amazement and left the scene.  I met up with Laura and friends again, and we did the long walk to the swim line up/start area.  The line was long and we had a over an hour to wait.  I took this time to mentally go over my race plan and have some quite time to myself.  Before I knew it the line was moving and time to jump in the water.  I said my goodbyes, and within 5 minutes, it was my turn to jump in the water.  I jumped in with three other people at the same time; they seemed to use the cannon ball technique, while I did more of a modified toothpick.
The water experience was a little weird, since you could see above water, but not below.  This being the case, there was some bumping and slapping in the water, but not much.  I felt good in the water, stuck with my mantra and did my best to keep moving forward in a straight line.  When I exited the water, I excited to get ready for the bike.  The thought in my head at this point was, the hardest of the race for me is over, now it is time to have some fun.  Tip for swim-do whatever you need to do to stay calm in the water.

T2 was a little weird at first, since I am not used to people helping me get ready.  I was thankful though because they keep you moving.  Once dressed I ran to my bike named, “THE HELLO KITTY”, and thought wow I am really doing this.  I got to the mount line and once again Laura was cheering, I could not hear exactly what she said, but I knew it was good stuff.  I hopped on my bike and was off.  Earlier in the summer I came down to practice on the course with my friend Neal two different times, so I knew what to expect.  This made it hard for me not to go balls out from the get go.  I also think this is hard for any person doing an Iron distance for the first time to really gage how fast they should start and when to really push it.  For me I wanted to do a negative split, so I was conservative the first half pushed a little harder to mile 100 and then really raced the last part.  I did do a negative split, but looking back I think I could have gone a bit harder on the bike…but don’t we all think that. Overall I did like the bike course and all the rolling hills that went with it.  I thought some parts were very narrow, people racing up and down a hill at the same time, but doable.  Tip for the bike: stick to your nutrition plan, no matter what, and always put chamois butter on before you get on the bike; wet bike shorts and 112 miles without it = ow!!!
T2 was  fantastic, I had people drying my feet, putting on my socks and shoes, and cheering me on at the same time.  I was really fired up for the run, since this is what I love to do the most.  I made sure I hit the bathroom; since I did not want to stop later, and away I went.  During the first mile I felt pretty good, but somewhere between 2 and 3 my stomach was not being nice to me.  As this was occurring Laura came up next to me on her bike.  I told her what was up, and she said, “Nikki, this is your rough patch, you will get through this, and once you do you will be ok.”  I ran on, and emptied my stomach twice, while running; I thought that was pretty talented…  Then right before mile 6, I knew I was in for it, and grew very upset that I would now have to stop at the bathroom.  I flew inside, and gave myself 5 minutes to get everything out; I hate losing time like this, but I had no other option.  When I got out I began to take in cola.  This seemed to help, but I had to get it every mile; because once you start cola you have to keep using it.  The rest of the run was good.  I did slow down a little bit after the stop, but I stayed positive.  Tip for run: keep running, stick to nutrition plan, and do not give into those pesky little thoughts that try to creep into your head.

As I approached the final mile, I was over the moon with pride, excitement, and gratitude.  I was high fiving, dancing around, whoo-hooing until I hit the finish line!  12:21:57  Wow, what a day!I

Andrew C. – Ironman Wisconsin 2009 Race Report

Ironman Wisconsin 2009.

Pre-Race weekend-

Overall, The days building up to the race were good, but mentally taxing. I was prepared to be more excited during the weekend, but even my time resting was a bit more tiresome than I thought it would be. I had a lot of friends and family come in for the race and being around lots of people who were all as excited as me and even more curious was difficult to handle at times. This being my first IM, I knew that there were going to be things to change and adapt for the future, but the most important one is going to be reserving my own private room for at least the night before the race and probably the whole time I am in the city.

The expo in Madison is awesome, but expect lines. I don’t know if this compares with other venues: the expo itself was nice, but limited. The Chicago tri expo is still #1 to me with the sheer amount of great stuff available. I would recommend arriving Thursday to Madison and maybe even checking in then to have a day totally off in between being at the expo and around all that energy. The bike/ gear check went smoothly, although I was on my feet for a while. Thursday also seems like a lighter day in terms of the amount of people who are there at the race site so it seems like people would be up and in line less than I was.

In preparing my nutrition, I wanted to be on the safe side of too much rather than too little. This mentality might have cost me during the race, but I am still glad that I prepared that way. I planned for 2 bottles of perpetuum for the bike, with a third in my special needs bag in case I lost one of my bottles during the ride.

The swim.

There is not a whole lot to say about the swim. There was a small wait getting down to the start, but overall the swim was very smooth. The first and second turn on the swim were very physical, but the race seemed to settle after that. The swim was especially brutal for me because my goggle strap broke twice from people kicking it. I was forced to tread water and tie the straps together, but they still worked and the swim was fine after that.

T1

The run to T1 was long and required a run up the helix into Monona terrace. The run is awesome though because there are so many people cheering. The transition is inside the terrace and was very smooth.

Bike.

This was by far the most difficult part of the race for me. Weighing in at 200+, I knew it was going to be hard and the heat of the day did not help. I kept my HR at 155 during the 40 miles of the loop and it went quickly. I think that I began my nutrition too soon though, because at about mile 30 my stomach was feeling full and over done. As a result, it was difficult for me to keep drinking fluids. The second loop I began cramping very badly. I took about 25 endurolytes during the whole bike and I probably could have used more. The second time around the big hills were tough, but there are a ton of people on the hills cheering and it can help a lot. I drank lots of water on the second lap, trying to recover the fluids that I didn’t take on the first lap, but they didn’t help my cramps much until the run.

T2

Finishing the bike is a great feeling- especially because the last 5-10 miles are very flat. The very end however is tough- biking up the helix to Monona terrace on tired legs. T2 is the same as T1, and things went smoothly during it for me.

Run

The run was both good and bad. I started out feeling great and having to hold myself back to a 9 minute pace. However, all the food and water that I had just consumed at the end of the bike would greatly affect how I felt and ran. I stopped at a bathroom at mile 2 and thought that would be it. But the next 8-9 miles I was constantly stopping in the bathrooms. It killed my times, but I actually felt good- I just had way too much water in me. I was able to run consistently, but slow. The people along state street are great support and help the mental downer that sometimes comes during the turnaround to loop 2 because you are 100 yards from the finish, and then have to turn around again.

Overall, while I was disappointed with my time, I was happy to keep a good mental attitude and as a result, loved the whole race (maybe not all the terrible cramps). The truly invaluable thing that my training did was prepare me for all the things that go wrong during the race. On my training rides, if something would go wrong, I would think that this might happen during the race and I need to be ready for that. So, during the race from my goggles, to my cramps, to my frequent bathroom stops, I kept thinking that I was going to keep going and finish well if I was able to keep going. I met a lot of really great people on the marathon and finishing was an experience that I will never forget.

Kelly B – Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

September 12, 2009

After having a few disappointing races I have been determined to have a good race. As you know Laura coached me and I did ALL the work – mentally and physically!

It was a beautiful cool morning at the start Jon, Peter, Roman, Julie Bedford and I all met at the toll booth and had Neil, Laura, Jim Stromberg, Mark Savedes and Julie’s family there cheering us on. You were all in our thoughts especially Tom as we all wanted to have a good day for him.

Jon and I started the swim together on the inside – we had a great spot away from all the chaos. He quickly took off and I being nervous about going hard and hyperventilating decided not to go with him. It was a very nice peaceful swim until you got to the corner bouy’s then madness hit. I was pretty much on my own and happy that way. Jon said he saw me going around the start buoy for the second lap but I didn’t see him and assumed he was ahead of me until he passed me early on the bike. Victory!

The bike was interesting. I was suffering from major bloating which felt like it was resricting my breathing and a pounding heading. Despite all of that, I blocked it out of my head. My legs felt amazing and it was cool and no wind. I checked my heart rate because I had a feeling I was getting a little carried away and noticed my HR monitor filled with water and quit. Oh no, I felt lost! The Wisconsin course is very fun – twisty, turny and on fresh legs easy to get carried away! I told myself not to go too hard but without HR I threw my advice out the window. I started the second lap with a Starbucks Double shot (wonder who’s advice that was:-) This took the edge off of my headache but I didn’t get the boost I had hoped for.  The second half was noticeably more challenging especially with the temp creeping to 83 and a decent breeze picking up. I hung in there determined to break 6 hours which I missed by a few minutes.

I was so ready to get off the bike and get running – I thought 4-10k’s no problem! I started with a lot of stomach bloating and pain that stayed with me through the bike. For a few miles I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but hoped it would work itself out which it eventually did. I was taught to try and block most thoughts out of my head which I was able to do – I would start trying to make deals with myself and told myself to be quite and just think about one foot in front of the other and was able to plug along with very little walking.

It was truly a great day! I ended up tenth in the AG and Hawaii went to fifth but I am still extremely happy with a PR by an hour! We are all truly blessed to compete at the level we do. Thanks to the calls and emails from everyone both before and after the race. It is great to be apart of this team! Gi Mongi!

Kelly

Race Report – IMLP 2009

A great race report from Asher! Thanks for all the information on your experience at IMLP 2009!  [Editor’s Note: Asher asked us to edit this to be shorter, but we said, no way, it’s all part of the day!!]

If you’re short on time to read this then … I made it! Thank you!
And for everyone else that should be working but is seeking a temporary diversion read on :)

Sunday July 26 2009
I woke up at the brisk hour of 4 a.m. to start my day. Ate a bagel, took some vitamins and started gathering gear for the drive into town. We found a great parking spot close to the transition area and then damn! I forgot my nutrition bottles for the bike (I put them in fridge which I’ve never done before so that’s why i forgot). Luckily Katie drove back to the house while Jess sat in our killer spot in a lawn chair – passerby’s just assumed she picking a very weird place to spectate from. So we racked our bikes, hung our transition bags and headed out for body marking. Saw some other Detroit Iron racers and supporters and chatted, then headed to our tent near the water (this is where we instructed everyone to gather). Saw the whole team and the whole support crew which was cool, and then we sang Happy Birthday to Mike Blackburn at which point even the strangers around started singing too! A few more minutes of standing around and then oh ohh – gotta find a porta potty. Yikes, those lines are really long! Should have planned that better. Oh well. Now the directors start herding us into the water. Next we queue up the national anthem, then the heart rate climbs a little waiting for the cannon to go off.

BOOM! Dive into the water and start swimming. Two strokes into it and I get elbowed in my right eye. Ouch. I keep swimming and make a point not to get caught up in the initial sprint. I’ve made that mistake my past two Ironman races. So I’m swimming nice and steady, concentrating on long, smooth strokes, except when it gets congested then I modify it to short, defensive strokes. But once the crowd clears I get in my groove and start finding feet to follow. Surprisingly I’m seem to be passing most people. Cool. Then the turn comes where all the swimmers bunch up and it looks, and feels, like a mosh pit. More defensive swimming, then the second turn and finally calm waters again. I swim back to shore, exit the water from this first lap and see that my split is 35 minutes. I jump back in the water for lap two. And now I’m feeling confident that I can hang with the good swimmers so I decide to try swimming the buoy line (there is an underwater cable anchoring the buoys that you can see, which is highly desirable because you don’t have to sight yourself). I end up swimming the line for the entire second loop and am stoked about that. I finish the swim, climb on shore and see 1:09:xx on the clock. I can’t believe it! That is easily my best swim time ever. For comparison, my first IM was 1:19 (in wetsuit in salt water), and my second IM was 1:24 (in wetsuit, in a river). So this really made me feel good.

I ran down the mats towards transition and see all the girls and Kyle. Grab my bike bag and sit down in the transition tent (boys and girls have separate tents). As soon as I sit down I see Brian Gabel right behind me. Cool – I see another DI guy! And then Jared sits downs right beside me. Very cool! And then Jason sits down next to him. Awesome! It’s rare to see one another in the transition areas so this was neat. So now we head out on the bike. There is a rolling two or three mile climb out of town. And then it’s a six mile screaming descent. I top out at 47 mph or so – The fastest I’ve ever been on a bicycle. And this descent was a sustained 40+ mph ride. There was a slight mist or rain and the raindrops were stinging against my skin. It got really scary when I had to cross the painted lane dividers as those get slick. So I survive that and start making my around the first loop. After the big downhill it mostly rolling hills to flat grades, It includes a long out and back which is a good chance to see other guys from my team. It seems I’m up towards the front of my group, so that’s cool. I’m trying to delay the point that the others catch me as they’re slightly better riders. So we finish the out and back and start the long, long, long ascent back into town. It’s a 12 mile ascent I think but it feels like forever. I spend almost all of it in my granny gear. It is definitely tough, but I’m discovering it’s doable. My confidence is rising in proportion to my rise in elevation. Also, it’s a alongside a mountain river and the view is beautiful. It’s a great distraction while cranking away. Near town are a couple of hills called Mama Bear and Papa Bear. People are lining the street on Papa Bear just like they do on the Tour de France. This is way cool! I’m mashing and grinding and gritting my teeth to get up this hill, but I have to smile too because of everyone cheering me on.

I ride through town to complete the first of my two laps. I almost completely wipe out directly in front of the announcers stand, but thank the gods I didn’t. I head out for loop number two. About half way through this I realize I’m running out of nutrition. Somehow I didn’t plan this out right. I must have been sucking down more than planned due to the hills. At the last aide station I grab a gatorade bottle (I’m desperate – my legs have been on the verge of complete seizure the last many miles). I hit a bump and the bottle goes flying. I have just six miles left so I figure I can leave it. That was a mistake. Six miles is still a long way, especially when it’s all uphill. Only much later during the run will I realize how big of mistake this was. Eventually I finish the loop but I know I was slower the second time – it’s turn out I was 15 minutes slower. I was expecting an equal or shorter time. Oh well.

I head into the transition tent to get ready for my ‘run’. I go to put on my shoes and discover that I can’t tie my show laces. Each time I bend over my legs seize up immediately and painfully. Well this ain’t so good. But the race gods are generous this day and have placed in the tent certified ART massage therapists. They give me a quick rub down and I’m feeling much better. This may explain my leisurely 15 minute transition time! So head out on the course. I run about one block and then have to start walking. I tried running but couldn’t. My shins were feeling fine (this was my primary concern) but the rest of my revolted. I discovered at mile 5 that I was badly dehydrated. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to rehydrate while you’re still active. In a cruel twist (the gods were having fun at my expense) the dehydration caused my stomach to knot up, which prevented me from taking in fluids. Do you catch my 22 drift? So I kept walking – thirsty, cramping, and not drinking or eating, but still walking. Eventually everyone else on the team pass me by. My close friend Mike that I started this adventure with catches me at mile 18. He’s alternating running and walking, but with my giraffe-like stride we end up at the same pace. So he and I plod along together.

At mile 24 my friend Katie hands me a beer (it’s tradition I have a beer while on the course). As I’m walking along people are cheering me on, saying "you’re looking great Asher" and "keep it up – you’re almost there". These are the standard kinds of chants. But then they notice I’m carrying a beer and they start going nuts. "Oh my god you’re the best ironman ever" was yelled multiple times. This really gets me stoked. So as we get close to the finish area (it’s on the Olympic skating oval) we start running. I’m still carrying my beer (it’s half full at this point, and yes, I was drinking it along the way) and we run down the finishers chute. I stop directly underneath the finish line arch, raise the can above my head and let the beer pour visibly into my mouth! I figured if I can’t finish quickly I might as well finish in style. What I had forgotten about was that the finish line crossing is shown on the large screen video display so the crowd can see, and that it is also broadcast live on a web feed. Several friends back home were watching and promptly texted me about the beer chug. So instead of just having a finish line photo of me chugging, hundreds or maybe thousands, of fans saw me do it. Oops :)

The final part of this saga is that I decided to visit the medical tent because although I felt good I knew I was still really dehydrated. They checked me in and the doctor gave me some chicken broth to see if that would help. Well, in my condition it made me feel much, much worse. I became nauseous and delirious. So they hooked me up and gave me three bags of IV fluids. But during the IV I was shaking uncontrollably, even under a space blanket and three wool blankets. They also gave me a drug to settle my stomach. And it turns out over half of my Detroit Iron had been in the med tent too that evening. I spoke with a couple of them while I was there. I knew it was great to stay unified as a team, but this was taking it to another level.

If there was a post race party I missed it. We gathered our stuff and headed home. I had my recovery drinks, some vitamins and promptly passed out.

Monday
Woke up after seven hours of sleep and aside from some sore tendons I felt surprisingly good. Very little muscle soreness and I had my appetite back. In fact, it didn’t feel like I had just raced for over 15 hours the day before. I attribute it to good training and my recovery nutrition.

So all in all it was fantastic experience. My shins held up and allowed me to complete the event. The support from my friends was incredible and truly appreciated. And I’ve fallen in love with Lake Placid, both from a race perspective and a normal tourist perspective. It was a very long effort to get here and this week validated that those efforts and sacrifices are worth the experience and memories. That being said, I am quite anxious to get back to a normal life and spend time with my friends and family. Thank you for reading this really, really long winded recap.

Love to All,

Asher

Meredith’s Race Photos

Meredith is one of the athletes I coach who is having a terrific season. She has sent along pictures from her first three races of the season. She just finished a top three overall in her age group which is very competitive! Great job Meredith :)

Enjoy the pictures :)

 

Julie’s Race Report Ironman Wisconsin

Wisconsin Ironman September 7, 2008

 

Morning of …

Due to an early dinner and having the whole bed to myself I actually slept fairly well.(thanks Matt for putting up with the boys elbows all night) I woke at 5:00 am and planned to be in the lobby of the hotel at 5:30 am,  which to my surprise, I did without a problem; I think I wanted to just get to the start. After eating the typical carb breakfast, chitchatting with Laura and Terese, Matt and I headed to the start area. Once there we did the typical checking of the bike, dropped off the bags, and headed to the port potty. While waiting in line for the bathroom, the announcer stated that the previous doom and gloom rainy forecast had been changed and the weather promised to wonderful. This was welcomed news and I was convinced this had happened because I had prepared for the rain by taping my coat to my bike and just to cement this new forecast,  I left my coat alone – did not want to mess with the weather gods as they were shining on me  J

 

As Matt I made our way down to the water everyone came to send me off. As I hugged my buddies: Terese, Laura, Matt, Mom, Sam, Seth and Ed, I found tears came easily. Silly I know but they came anyways. This was the moment I had trained for but to be honest there was a part of me that did not want this moment to come, I wanted to stay in the training mode with the event in a far off distance, wanted this day to remain a dream, but as with all dreams, they come to an end. It was time to quit imagining what it was going to be like and time to make the dream a reality. Into the water I went…..

 

The Swim

The water was perfect, no lightening like Muncie, no huge waves like Steelhead. Just calm clear water with 2,200 people nervously waiting for the start. My goal was to start mid pack so I swam over to the middle, right between the large red buoy and the ski jump. Once in my spot, I lay on my back and tried to relax. It really didn’t work but I yes, Laura I gave it a try. Also Neal, as you told me to do, I kept telling myself that I was trained and I was ready – thanks for that advice you were right, the mantra helps.

 

When they gave us the two minute warning all I could think was, “Let’s go I am ready”

 

The first five minutes were not what I had anticipated, actually they were very calm and just when I thought I had made it through the tough part, the crowds started to swim over me. I think those to right of me moved in towards the buoys and I got caught up in masses of men, large men, very large men. Several swam over and over me so I moved to the left of the buoys, way inside of the perfect line and really not where I wanted to be. Yes, moving to the inside helped but not by much. At one point, after one guy swam over me for about the sixth time, I grabbed his head, pulled it out of the water and told him to cut it out – I think I might have shocked him, but it worked as I did not see him the rest of the swim. The whole first loop was fairly rough, especially on the corners as we all had to swim around the outside of the buoy. It was so crowded around the turns that you could not swim and had to just push your way around. The corners were the hardest part of the swim as it was hard not to panic when your feet were being pushed down and you could not swim. By the third turn I learned to just go with the flow and the corners went easier.

 

The second loop was much smoother and although it was still crowded, especially around the corners, I found more space to actually swim in a rhythm. Ed, I looked for someone to swim next to and found a few but none as good as you. Yes, Laura I worked at finding bubbles and on the second loop there was one girl among all the blue caps that I did find and I used her bubbles as long as I could.  As we swam to the shore, I felt really strong, I pushed as hard as I could and realized phase one was done and two to go……1:17 swim time – not as good as I had hoped but I would take it.

 

The transition was a blast, the wet suit strippers were having way too much fun and they had my wet suit off me as fast as they could (If I ever volunteer at an Ironman I want that job). Running up the helix was interesting and difficult as most were walking and it was hard to get around them. Once inside the building, I quickly got ready for the bike and the volunteers were awesome. Again, I listened Neal and did not put my bike shoes on until I had reached my bike and yes, Neal I could run faster then most. Gotta love these little tips! Down the helix and onto the bike – the long bike ride.

 

112 mile bike ride…..

Hills, hills, hills and lots of them is the best way to describe this course. Silly me knew this was the case and everything I read about Wisconsin’s bike course stated not to bust the first loop as you would pay for it in the second loop so that was my goal…. Stay calm in loop one and push in loop two. Sure that worked some but not really as it is difficult to pick up the pace when you are in a nice easy rhythm. (Next year I might adjust these thoughts)

 

The popsicle stick was hillier then I thought but the hills were not that bad as all ups lead to nice downs where speed was easy to find. Once on the loop the real hills began. There were sections where the hills were really tough and speed was slow…. I found I could spin up but lost too much momentum. The downs were awesome, I pushed as hard as I could on the downs and did not hold back …. I actually saw 49mph on my computer….way cool as I think it may be the fastest I have done. There was one section of downs that lead into this twisty down section, by far my favorite part of the course. On the second loop I could not wait to do that section again. The head winds on the second loop were a little hard but the tail wind on the way back in was great. Throughout the ride I stayed with about six women, we would all take turns leading and following. Most would pull ahead of me on the up hills but as we would hit the down sections I would pass them only to be caught again on the ups. Thanks to all of them, especially Christie, as they made the ride better and we actually had a few laughs at all the hills and the demented minded person who made this course…..Towards the last 10 miles, I made it my goal to drop the group, which I did and in the end I finished with a group of guys.

 

All during the ride I focused on nutrition. If Laura had drilled anything into my head it was that I had to get my nutrition in on the bike. Yes, Laura I heard your little voice in my head the whole ride especially the part about it being cool and me not thinking I needed it. Yes, I drank three double dosed bottles of accelerate, numerous gels, peanut butter bagel and lots of water. All did me well as I felt great coming off the bike. Maybe too good?   6:26 bike time – slower then I wanted. Immediately thought about how to make it better next time –need speed on the up hills, I can do it.

 

The Run….

During the swim and bike I was hesitant, did not know how hard to push but in the run, I was home. I knew I could push, I knew what it felt like to run 26.2 miles, I knew what it felt like to crash on the run and I knew what it felt like to run on the edge. I could not wait to start running. On the bike, I tried not to think about running a whole marathon as it was overwhelming when I did and I could feel myself crumpling. Yet, as the last few miles of the bike came I could not wait to get off the bike and run. Tom told me to think about the simple fact that most folks dreaded the run where I loved the run. He was right, I do love to run.

 

I moved through the transition area as fast as I could and I as I began the run I felt good, really good. The crowd kept yelling, “Go Julie, you are running awesome.” At mile one I looked at watch, 8:00 mile – ok too fast – slow down do not be stupid – mile two 8:02 – again slow down do not be stupid – by mile four  8:44 – good, stay in this zone and do not look at your watch again, which I didn’t. I broke the marathon into 4 sections with each section having 5 miles each. Yes, I know that leaves 1.2 miles left but I figured by the time I reached 25 miles I would no longer need my mental game. The whole run I just focused as I have never focused before, ran how I felt and just kept moving. Stayed away from the Gatorade and drank coke at every aid station and ate gels every now and then – I found a new flavor – caramel – yummy. Sorry, Laura I did walk my water stations as I got more fluids in me and I needed them.

 

All along the course I saw my support crew: Terese, Laura, Tom, Matt, my boys, my mom and Hoyt. Thank you for all your support I found myself running around corners looking for you and every time I saw the group I felt better. I was having a good day……

 

Last two Miles…..

I knew the end was near and I wanted to look at my watch but I promised myself I wouldn’t so I didn’t. Instead I just focused on passing folks. One by one I would pick them off, yes that felt great. As I passed mile 25 I felt great. Only 1.2 miles to go, I could do it, no more mind games needs. At this point Laura started to tell me I could break 12 hours, way cool. As I came around the capital and my boys jumped in with me the finish was not what I had imagined, reality is never what you think it well be and maybe that is good thing because this was real and not just a dream anymore. When I heard my name called and when the announcer said, “Julie Bedford of Fenton Michigan YOU ARE AN IRONMAN….. I couldn’t stop smiling. When I had dreamed about the finish, I had always imagined myself crying, but as I crossed the finish line, my eyes were dry but the smile was huge. The crowds were awesome and as I crossed the line I realized I had broke 12 hrs….11:56… not bad for a first time. I was an Ironman. The months of training and the months of dreaming were over it was time to celebrate.

 

By the way, the tears did eventually come but did not happen until midnight when the finish line was closed and the announcer yelled out to the crowd, “Wisconsin, I only have one more thing to say … You are an Ironman.” Yes, I am.

 

 I am already signed up for 2009….crazy I know but it is fun…..

 

 

Reflections…..

  • Which is harder, the 100 mile run or the Ironman… to totally different beasts and you cannot compare them. I am however, happy to have had the mental strength I learned running 100 miles as it helped me throughout my ironman.
  • Push the bike harder and trust my swimming, move up to the front area on the swim and push the up hills more.
  • Nutrition is key……get your calories in on the bike
  • Run how you feel – do not worry about the clock as you can only run as well as you are trained for.
  • Work through the hard parts, they will pass.
  • Nine months of training is worth it … I was ready

 

Thank You…..

 

  • Terese – you are my rock and I adore you. Yes, my friend we will still be running when we’re 80 years old and maybe by then you can do an ironman so you can win your age group! Seriously, we have been through a lot together and together we continue to push each other to higher levels. Thank you for helping me through this journey and yes, with your help and support, I did paint my dream J
  • Ed, my swimming buddy and my friend. Wow, who would have known last January when we swam together what a team we would make? Thank you, for pushing me to faster times then I thought I could do. We will rock next year and will swim even stronger – I did miss you in that big open water.
  • Tom and Neal – my new tri buddies – thank you for riding some of my long rides with me. Tom, next year will be awesome for you and I cannot wait for Worlds in Florida were the party will continue J Neal, thank you for yelling at me during our long ride – I think I will need it more next year – especially on the up hills. Also, thanks for the words of advice I did use them.
  • Laura, my coach and my friend. When I meet you last fall I knew I had found a great coach but what I did not realize was I had also found a friend. You have been awesome and it is really hard to express my gratitude in words. I would not have done so well without you and look forward to continuing this journey with your help and support…..the goal is not completely met yet but it is within reach and yes, I am definitely up for your challenge – bring it on J
  • Matt and my boys – ok so here is where the tears a flowing. Thank you Matt for always being my rock and for always supporting me. For 23 years you have always had my back and together we have completed some pretty awesome things. We sure have come a long ways from the village apartments and cruising Milford. I love you with all my heart –  I did Matt, I am an Ironman –  and just know McKinley is making its way up the list but Kona is first!