Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Patience, young grasshopper

Ironman number 7 is now in the books and Kona qualification is wrapped up. This past Sunday, Ironman Los Cabos gave me my "best" result to date. Not best time, or best feeling day, but overall I was 2nd amateur female and I nabbed my very first Ironman age group win. Now if only I hadn't gotten passed at mile 25 of the marathon, I would have taken the amateur title as well...but when that truck passed, there was no going with it!

I was excited to come here and race and had SO many friends doing it that even though it meant training through the winter...(and yes winter in Northern Cali DOES was cold lots of mornings and there was some major trainer time on the bike) I was stoked to see what kind of fitness I could have in March when my season usually starts 2 months later at Ironman Texas.

Mark and I arrived on Thursday with friends and immediately got settled and registered for the race. That left Friday to be a low key day practicing our swim and then putting our feet up in prep for the busy day that Saturday would bring. Why is it that the day before the ironman, when ALL you have to do is drop off your bike and gear bags, you end up out running around almost all day? I'm used to it by now and it doesn't stress me out (too much, although Jess may have a different picture in her head) and so Saturday came and went and before you knew it, it was time to WAKE UP and get the party started!!!

Quick break to tell you about the beauty is incredible. The water is gorgeous, the beach is perfect and the town is sleepy. Even during spring break time. I can't wait to come back here next year. No Ironman hoopla, no queue for dinner at good, not any more expensive than dinner in California dinners, and easy logistics. Shhhhh, don't tell anybody that this race rocks!!!

Pre-race nutrition: oatmeal, banana, chocolate coconut peanut butter, bottle of cytomax, one bottle pre-load and half a bag of chews right before the start... 800 calories

Swim: 1:01:59 PR by 90 seconds
I lined up for my first ever beach swim start (nervous much?!) and took the inside line straight towards the first turn buoy 700 meters out. There were swells race morning, but once you got past the first one the swimming was phenomenal. Perfect for a wetsuit and not too choppy. I was lucky to find some feet and was able to stick with them and feel comfortable. About half way through the swim, I saw Rachel who always swims 2+ min faster, and thought OK sister, keep it going, if you are with Rachel life is GOOD!! She pulled away the last 500 meters as it got choppy towards the shore but I was able to get out of the water in a great position and when I saw 1:01 on the clock, I was stoked about the first leg of the race. Now let's VAMOS and get this bike underway!! Note: Garmin users sat the course was long... 200-300 meters...making me even happier with my time!!

Bike: 5:57:05
Now once I ran through the uphill deep sand run section that was T1, and hit the changing tent, I was almost out of my wetsuit. I sat down to get it the rest of the way off, and the awesome gals in the changing tent decided to help me the rest of the way...which with all of their force, pulled me OFF of the chair I was so nicely sitting on and onto the floor. Not exactly the best way to begin the bike, but I was out of there quickly enough and was feeling good. Mark and I had talked about the bike course and how hilly and hot and hard it was going to be. Not in a bad way, but in a "you can't really go too easy on these hills" way. The first lap saw a few gals go by me, but I had faith in my tortoise and the hare strategy and had to hope that the girls passing me now would come back to me on the second lap of the bike or the run. The second lap was hard, the air was so still at points that the heat was overwhelming and then there was a strong wind out at the airport that made the last 10 miles seem long. Think going over bridges in Hawi-esquevwinds. Thankfully my water bottle was blocking my garmin so all I saw was my current speed. By the time I got off the bike, I had NO idea that I had been out there for almost 6's been three years since a bike course has taken me anywhere near that long. But, I was ready to run and knew that a few girls were right in front of me and it was GAME ON!!

Total bike nutrition: 2bottles cytomax, 5bags Cyto energy chews, one Gatorade and two e-gels: 1560 calories total... Not nearly my 350/hour normal. Should have had a bit more here to really front load the run.

Run: 3:34:34, 2nd best IM marathon time
I was gunning for my first sub 3:30 marathon, but after that bike and a hillier than advertised run course, it wasn't to be. The race guide said there were going to be aid stations at every kilometer...this is almost 2x as many as at your typical Ironman, where they are every mile. Mark told me to be cautious not to take too much, there was the total possibility to OVER hydrate here. And given the state of my stomach at this point in the game, we want to minimize any distress. I stopped for some Pepsi at the first two aid stations and got quick reminders from Mark that if I kept walking for Pepsi and stopping at every aid station, I was going to really slow down. So I took water at every aid station to pour over me and ice to put down my shirt and then did Pepsi every other aid station. It's amazing how quickly you start to speak another language when in the heat of battle...I was all "ielo por favor, agua por favor..." rather automatically, no thinking in my head, ok what word means what? And the volunteers were beyond amazing...I would call out for ice or water and would immediately have 5 volunteers running with me (did i sound that desperate?!)to do a hand off and make sure that I was taken care of. First class race all the way. I had come off of the bike in about 11th amateur and was more than 11 minutes off of first place in the AG. I saw a few girls rather quickly and didn't think their current run form was going to carry them to a swift run split. So I began to think to myself when I would see another rabbit, easy does it...she's right there, you don't have to speed up to get her, she's coming back to you. Mark, Jordan and Monica were awesome at giving me splits. With a three lap run course, I needed all the help I could get. They were all so encouraging, "just keep running like you are and you can do this". Having Steve and Jess out on course was also awesome, we we're able to cheer each other on. How that makes a difference!! I normally talk back to Mark when he's giving me coaching during the run, but I didn't say one word to him on Sunday, only nodded my head that I heard him. Sorry Love, I was using all of my energy for the W!! I knew that there was one gal who had been a few minutes behind me the entire way and by lap three she was making a move. With about 5 miles to go, I only had a 2 minute lead and she was a skinny runner girl...I thought my days as the leader were numbered. The pass came at mile 25 and she was great, "let's finish this thing!"... All while moving at a faster clip than I was capable of at that point...the finish line couldn't have come soon enough and after throwing my arms in the air, I went straight to the massage tent.

Big mistake...should have gotten food first, then massage. 20 minutes,later, I went straight from the massage tent to the med tent, shivering so bad my teeth were chattering. I was properly warmed up and spoon fed cup of noodles by my husband until I was ready to roll the bike home. After taking a shower that completely drained the hot water, it was time to put on my compression tights and head to dinner to refuel with friends, ribs, fries and a few margaritas.

Total run nutrition: 3 gels and a whole lotta coke...again, not impressed with my performance here. I needed more calories than that and maybe if I had, I could have held off "the pass".

So overall it was a pretty special day that I'm excited to build on. Next up is a bit of recovery on the beach here in Mexico and then time to get ready for Ironman Texas in just 8 short weeks.
Big thank you to my amazing support system: these companies make sure that I have all the tools to perform my best, Smith Optics protects my peepers, TYR Sport keeps me swimming like a fish, team kits are the most comfy, Argon18 makes a bike that flies when paired with Gray wheels, and Cytomax and nuun keep me hydrated and recovered each and every day! Special thanks to my husband and coach Mark, things just keep getting better and I have to thank you for your help along this amazing journey!!


Beth said...

Fantastic race Hailey - so pleased for you!!! You just shine in those hot, humid (ie: awful!) race conditions. Hmm...methinks I know another race just like that... ;) Recover well!

MissFancyPants said...

Sooo excited for u - I was tracking all day! You are gonna a have a fantastic year!