Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SOMA Half Ironman Race Report (pictures later!)

I know most of you would rather see pictures than hear what I have to say about my race, but you'll have to wait a bit, Bonnie (Dave's mom) took some pictures, most of them were terrible because I look awful when I race. I can't even say "I look tough," I look like i'm suffering and my legs never look like i'm running! That said, Bonnie will email them soon and i'll post eventually. Dave's dad was out of town so no hope for any redeeming shots, but for now.....you're graced with my words!

Friday: My drive out with the dogs was uneventful, but god, I always forget how much stuff I have to take with me. Everything related to my race and then stuff for the dogs. Good thing Dave couldn't come, I honestly don't know where I would have fit him. Plus, I put my bike inside the car rather than on top, hoping to save some pennies on gas, and I had just cleaned my bike and i'm not so keen on bugs stuck to my cute bike frame when I arrive at my race destination! I got to Phoenix at about 5:00 p.m. and Bonnie and I went and had a tasty dinner at a place called the Herb Box.......had a small thin crust pizza with chicken, corn and FETA YUM. =0.

Saturday: Slept in, tinkered with my bike to make sure the computer was working and took it out for a 30 minute spin. Wow my legs were slow....great, hopefully this wouldn't be an indication of my speed tomorrow. Parked the bike and ran for 15 minutes. My run went better than my biking, *this* was first. It was hot, but I dind't mind it, what I did mind was the dryness, my throat completely tight and just so dry. Got back to the house and put on my bathingsuit to head over to the race site to check in my bike and test out the lake water. Bonnie came with me like a good sherpa, offering to hold all my crap I needed. I got all checked in, dropped off my bike and let some air out of the tires. I learned in Ironman Arizona if you leave your bike over night in the heat, you run a risk that your tires my pop, so I always let a little air out and fill them up again on race day. I walked over to the lake and everyone was squeezing into their wetsuits??

I couldn't figure out why people would wear wetsuits for a warm up swim, it really wasn't that cold and I wouldn't risk my wetsuit still be wet for tomorrow's race..but, I guess whatever floats your boat. The water had pockets of warmth/cold from the sun. It certainly wasn't unbearable. Certain sections were toastier than others. My arms felt great swimming out to the bouey and back and that was that!

Topped the day off with some shoe shopping =0 and a chicken/couscous/bread dinner. YUM!

Sunday: I never have trouble sleeping before a race. No idea why, but I usually sleep soundly. Bonnie woke me up at 4:00 a.m.....stumbled over to let the dogs out and got started on getting ready. Ate my breakfast of: Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean yogurt w/one full banana and a packet of quaker oats maple brown sugar oatmeal all mixed together. YUM. About 410 calories, perfect! Got all my stuff together and drove to the race sit. It was chilly!

Swim: 35 minutes- I took two shot bloks before the swim and I was ready! People were literally on top of each other right before the start, not my favorite. I like to have a lot of room. I started up front, and I was able to keep up with people initially and I don't know *what* happened, but all of a sudden, I looked up to "sight" and I saw heads everywhere. Usually you can see a stream of people in front of you, and the area in the middle *should* be empty if people are swimming in a straight line. Well, I looked up and the middle was FULL of people, which meant literally tons of people swam off course. So, I tried to make sense of where the bouey was and straightened out a little. It was a very slow swim for me and I actually felt great swimming, just the sighting was awful and i'm sure I lost time that way. But, after looking at other people's swim times, it looks like I actually swam really well!

Bike: 2:29 (hour/minutes). 22.5 mph average-Ok, I just want to say that I was absolutely STOKED about my bike time. After yesterday's slowness in warm up, I never expected to bike so well. The last time I did this course I biked a 2:47....so I knocked off some considerable time. I felt great on the bike, taking in two full bottles of water and using Carbo Pro 1200 for my calories (sipping every 15 minutes or so). ****I did NOT drink the entire bottle of 1200, only part of it that was sectioned off on a water bottle....*** I don't want anyone thinking I drank the entire bottle, yikes, that would be calorie overload!

I love taking in calories by liquid because it's easier on my stomach and having to "chew" something is annoying....I did bring pretzels but had no interest in eating them. My nutrition went really well. I think for Arizona, i'll be adding 3 mini-snickers for a treat....that is, as long as I can guarantee they won't melt!

Side note on the bike: on the 2nd lap of the bike, the "quarterman" athletes started racing (they were racing an olympic distance) so you have all these people in small lanes riding. Triathlon rules state "stay right." Why then, is it inevitable that people get lazy, weave in the middle, don't pay attention, lazy, look shocked when I say "on your left," when I say "people." I mean MEN. In this particular race, I had absolutely NO females that I had to yell "on your left," at, it was all men. And some of them wouldn't move over. You know, I used to think it was because they didn't want women to pass them, now I realize they're oblivious. Seriously, I say "on your left, excuse me, on your left," Finally, after several laps and passing people, I finally started yelling at people if they wouldn't stay right, and I would just say "MOVE OVER."

Run: 1:49 (8:18/mile)-I started the run with two puffs of my inhaler and I was off. My first mile was in 8:00 flat. Man, I was really moving (for me!!), I was struggling immediately to breathe though...my legs felt great, I wasn't even that hot yet, I was just struggling to get my heart rate in check and get my breathing under control. It wasn't even that the first mile was too fast, I can handle 8:00 pace, my lungs just weren't cooperating. I realize now in combination of the dryness and air quality, I just struggled with breathing. The first lap went pretty well, I carried a water bottle with me. Best idea ever. Usually i'll take from aid stations, but i'm notorious for not taking in enough water and then over time, I just get depleted.....and I HATE those "fuel belts," people wear them on their waists..Ugh, the last thing I need is more weight on my hips! So, I prefer to run with my bottle, I actually bought an insulated bottle and the water w/my Nuun tablet was actually cold! Impressive!

I knew I was going to be cutting it close to my under 5:00 hour goal....I just kept trying to pick up the pace and run a little faster. The second lap I actually felt better than the first and just tried to keep the pace going. My lips were so chapped from the dryness. I would say the dry weather was more a factor for me than the 90 degree heat. I kept sipping water and spitting some out, just to get my mouth wet.
I was hoping for a faster run, as usual, but I was really happy with the way it went considering my lungs were irritated!

I crossed the finish line in 5:00:22...yeah, I know, I missed my own goal by 22 seconds. However, i've been gently reminded that I wasn't tapered for this race. So, basically, my training kept up as normal with two light days before the race, but I virtually trained through SOMA, so I was incredibly happy to have been able to do well with little rest!

I had finished 4th in my age group, so I was pleased...and off we were to shower/eat.....

After the race Bonnie and I went to Zinc Bistro and gnoshed on a blue cheese burger and fun french fries with red wine. YUM. It's embarassing to say that.......I was "slightly" full after the burger. I'm not even kidding. I was ok though, I wasn't that hungry until yesterday on my ride home. Oh my god....SO hungry the day after a race, more so than the day of!!

Woke up yesterday and realized that I had actually finished 2nd in my age group and 14th female overall for the race!! The initial results had people in the wrong age group....SO! Anyhoo, that was really awesome and I picked up my award which was a bottle of red wine =0..PERFECT!!!!

I made it home safe and sound yesterday and i'm now the proud owner of my first pair of "compression tights." How dorky does that sound? They're socks/tights for helping muscles heal etc. I wore them on my ride home yesterday and I must say that I am incredibly blown away. I have almost NO muscle soreness today....woohhoo!!

Unfortunately for me, I admitted this to Amanda, so my training schedule for the week is staying as is.....instead of taking it super easy...since i'm feeling great. I did a 60 minute swim today and i'm about to head out to ride for 90 minutes. Tomorrow is a short morning run and then a 6x1 mile repeats....that---may kill me. Stay tuned.

Ironman Arizona........i'm *almost* ready!


Anonymous said...

I just want you to know I had a great time. Looking forward to next month. You're awesome!

The Mother in Law ... Bonnie

Shan said...

Nice work Mer!! Way to rock it on no taper!!!! Maybe you need a congratulatory fro-yo trip? I'm a little busy this week, but maybe next week?

The dry air is really the worst part of racing in Tempe. Make sure to plan for that for IMAZ. It'll make you want to drink A LOT even though you may not be needing the fluid. I ended up having the worst raspy voice by the end, and it took about a week for my voice to heal after the race. So make sure to stay SUPER hydrated leading up to IMAZ...!

You'll definitely hit sub-5 next time around...

Jen's Journey said...

I am in awe! I have been browsing around blogs and I came across your site and you have really inspired me!

I recently lost 69 pounds and I am not hoping to start racing and seeing your accomplishments inspires me to reach for the stars! Congrats on all you have done and I look forward to reading more about your amazing journey.


Lauren said...

Yeah!!! I'm so proud of you. It's all paying off!

Jennifer Harrison said...

MER! You are awesome, great job. And, honestly, you should be very grateful to have a supportive and super MIL - Bonnie, she is amazing. My MIL could give a rip about me or the kids, really..so you are LUCKY! :) Jen H.

CONGRATS! See you down in Arizona!

Paul said...

Great work out there!! Congrats on your podium. 90 degrees in AZ is good weather! haha, it can always get much worse. Was there any wind on the bike course this year?