Friday, October 25, 2013

Fun thoughts on Kona 2 weeks later...

The Kohala's 
I've been doing a lot of thinking on Kona, and wanted to throw out some bullet point style thoughts on this years trip to the island how much it means to me.  There were multiple times this year where I was impressed by the behavior or other athletes.  At the beginning of the race week, the air felt a bit tense with athlete nerves, but out on the course, it was a different story. For those not in the triathlon lifestyle, they often ask "what do you POSSIBLY think about for 10 hours...excuse me, that's 9 hours 58 thank you very much! ?"  So I wanted to give some answers about all of the fun things I don't think about during Kona.  "Hailey, did you see your rocks out on the course?  Uhhh, nope, all I saw was a white line for 112 miles".

This visit to Kona marked my one year anniversary of Operation: just say NO to Diet Coke, or any artificial sweeteners.  Pressured into it last year on the Thursday before race day by Mark and my family, I went cold turkey and haven't looked back.  I now have a loving relationship with my local Peet's barista and whole milk lattes.

Celebrating the Sub-10
While in Kona, I didn't take an indoor shower once.  I DID shower, but in an outside shower for 14 days...I am now plotting how to get Mark to install one at our house for summertime use.  There is NOTHING like the feeling of fresh ocean air while showering.  I may be drooling about going back already!

The day before the race, I got a call from my sister and she told me to ask myself during the race "what can I do today/right now to be my best".  I made that my mantra and really kept repeating it to myself...especially in those last three miles when it was critical that I ran as hard as possible to break the 10 hour mark.  

MacGuyver Manning
Every year when I hit the Energy Lab, I tell myself that I have to hunt someone down at this point and pass someone.  This year this part of the course was where you had to be tough as nails, as it became a 10 mile stretch with no spectators...what was that about?  Although, my crafty husband managed to take an "alternate" route and found his way onto the closed section of the Queen K run course.  All of the sudden, he goes "beep beep!".  Instant smile time.  Never underestimate the ability of Mark Manning to become MacGuyver.

I usually thrive in the first 10 miles of the run along Alii, I love all of the spectators and it's not usually too hot for me.  This year I was far from thriving.  I had to walk a few times and Mark wondered not aloud thankfully if I was going to finish the race.  It is here that an older guy told me that this is "as hard as it gets, this is the worst section" and that I needed to run.  Thank you sir, you helped me break 10 hours.  

Hi buddy!
Honu.  Man do I LOVE these things.  Look for some new ink to be on my body soon.  That old tattoo of the Chinese symbol from college is going to get covered up with a more meaningful tattoo. I am going to try to find a tattoo artist form the Big Island locally to do the work.

Hawaii Dreaming

I left Hawaii just two weeks ago and it is already finding me in my dreams.  Does it do this to you too?  Not dreaming about the race, just dreaming of the peace that I feel when I am there.  The ability to disconnect from work, and visit with my  super support team, best friends and family every year has become one of my highlights each year.

Cauliflower pizza crust, not bad!

Off season eating.  I usually find myself gagging for an almost binge worthy period of eating...lots of vino, carbs and ice cream.  I allow myself to go completely off the wagon. I've been gluten light (let's say 90/10) since 2010 and have recently begun a shift towards a higher fat and lower carb diet (not during races though and will increase carbs as needed for high training/race weeks).  This year after Kona, I didn't feel that urge as much for all of the sugary items like Dairy Queen...but there has still been wine.  It's been interesting to see how the body changes year after year and that you start to crave these items less.  Although it was a tad disappointing that my DQ didn't taste as awesome as I had hoped...what is WRONG with me?!!

Swelling.  Swelling continues to be an issue for me and I could feel it start on the bike.  When I went to put on those stupid, never gonna wear them again wings for sun protection, I could barely get them over my wrists.  When I crossed the finish line they took me to the med tent as I was indeed pretty swollen.  They ended up ripping my beloved wings.  I'll continue to work with pal Stacy on this one to see what we can do to limit the bloat.
I didn't watch TV or listen to the radio for the entire trip either.  I am not a big TV watcher in the first place as there just isn't' that much time in the day.  But I do like the Biggest loser and sometimes turn on the TV just to be in the background...It was nice to not even turn one on and I didn't even miss it...although I also had NO idea on what was happening outside of the Big Island...ignorance is bliss right?

So now it's time to relax, have fun exercising and focus on some strength before gearing up for Ironman Los Cabos next Spring!

Awesome saying found at coffee shop in Hawi

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Salty Balls!

Many of you have emailed and asked for the secret recipe for the infamously named Salty Balls that I used as my bike nutrition in Kona this year.  These were developed by friend and AMAZING mad scientist, Stacy Sims of Osmo Nutrition.  This woman knows her stuff and then some, and we as women are lucky to have her in our corner changing the nutrition scene for women.

Stacy advocates REAL nutrition, even though I kept telling her that I have done Kona and been successful on ONLY gels in the past.  She says that you may feel OK on only gels but that you will perform better if you stay the hell away from them.  So, tested in Vineman and put to the ultimate test in Kona these balls were prepped by uber sherpas, Robyn and Kebby.

The balls were the only thing I ate on the bike along with Active Hydration in Mango and one bottle of Coke.....mmmmm, coke!

Here's the recipe...let me know if you love it!

Salty Balls:
Makes 10 balls, ~140kcal/ball

1/2 cup nutbutter (peanut or almond, natural kind)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup whey protein isolate ( I had Muscle Milk Chocolate powder on hand, OSMO Active recovery would be bomber too)
1/2 cup dry oatmeal or 2/3 cup Perky's Rice Crisps- I went with the crisps
1/4 cup shredded coconut (Stacy used raisins but knows I love coconut so tailored for me)

Pop the PB and rice syrup in the microwave for about 30 seconds so that they are melty and able to be combined well.  Then combine all ingredients.  If you need a bit more holding power (we did), add more protein powder.
Then add a sprinkle-ly of salt on top.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

66 Seconds to Spare

A Medal the size of your head!
Kona 2013 is in the books, and it was a day that I won't soon ever forget.  For those skimming and looking at pics, here's the short recap. Arrived in Kona the Saturday before race day, had a great time prepping and then managed to break 10 hours in an Ironman for the first time ever, on one of the toughest courses on the circuit.  Landed in 8th place in the AG and while it wasn't the podium spot I was dreaming of, I am OVER THE MOON with the day and having broke 10 hours.

Finally found my rocks!
I came to Kona a week early this year, having a few extra vacation days to spare and can't believe I ever came "so late" on Wednesday's in previous years.  Being out here a week early and staying outside of town with friends at Hualalai was amazing.  I got to do almost my entire taper here on the island in the heat and spent the other days catching up with friends and some of my super support crew!  Who wouldn't prefer to taper off of the Kona pier vs. your normal masters pool?  Although that being said, Stanford masters is a pretty spectacular pool with an awesome coach.

My family and Mark arrived Wednesday and we moved into town to stay with 2 other couples, neither of whom were racing.  Instead of partying it up, they took care of me as if it were their own race.  They cooked for me, braided my hair for me (it was in tact even after the race!), went everywhere on my schedule and then cheered for me ALL day long on race day.  Who does that, and what did I do to deserve such an amazing support crew?  I tried to make a small piece of it up to them by making breakfast ok they may have still assisted but I tried on Sunday after the race.  There may be some wine gifting in order!  I'm secretly hoping Robyn and Brian will sign up for a 100 miler so I can crew/pace them for a change!

Team Betty at the Underpants Run

Pre-Race fun included the underpants run.  It is for a good cause, and it can't be missed!  This year I was lucky to be invited onto the Betty Designs team and man did we have some HOT looking gals, guys and kits!  Thank you Kristen!! Other pre race fun included lots of good food! Thursday night we went to dinner at the TYR house and the Compex House....I swear I only had one dinner!  We also got treated to breakfast at the Muscle Milk House Friday before the race...maybe it was the pancakes and bacon!!!

Pre-Race with coach/hubby/SUPER Sherpa Mark
Race day arrived and I have always thought and professed out loud that I think you are full of horse poo if you tell me you sleep well race eve.  So here I sit, telling you that I actually was able to quiet my mind and sleep for about 5 hours straight on race eve...after that though, I tossed and turned as per usual.  I think having done all of my race visualization on previous nights helped as I did none of that race eve and instead just counted sheep until I fell asleep.

Race morning we were all up at 4:30, I was eating, sun screening and getting my hair did!  Robyn could seriously make money with her skillz.  If I don't have braids, I would likely have to cut hair out after each race with the amount of knots that would work themselves into my hair.  Soon enough it was off to the start and to prep my bike and kiss everyone farewell.

Pre race meal:  Osmo Pre-Load, water/Cytomax, rice with egg mixed in (think fried rice) and a banana. Total kcal's 900.  Best to start off with a well topped off tank!

TYR Swim: 1:01:38  previous best in 2012 1:04:51
Can't you see me? 
First of all, THANK YOU Tim from Stanford masters...I was able to send him a note on my PR and am thankful it was a non wetsuit swim as he considers all wetsuit legal swims, non swims and the times don't count.  This time was LEGIT.  I started WAY left, further left than even my usual here in Hawaii after having 2 consecutive years of being beat to a pulp by my German male brethren.  I told myself to go hard for the first 400 meters to get clear water and on good feet.  Check!  I rounded the turn for home in just over 28 minutes.  I thought, HOLY SMOKE!!!  I may break an hour for the first time ever in an Ironman and IN Kona!  The swim is usually slower on the way home and this year was no different.  I was on feet, but felt like I should have been going faster but couldn't really escape so I just sat in and waited it out.  I had the most clear, non violent swim of my ironman joke.  I only got hit once and it was 3/4 of the way through the swim, and completely unnecessary.  The start was beautiful and I had clear water and great swim buddies most of the way. Highlight of the swim?  Looking down and seeing a honu after I rounded the turn for home.  I took it as a good omen, as those guys are my fave!!!

Argon18/Smith Optics Bike: 5:16:31  previous best 2011 5:21:48
Cause if you ain't smiling, you ain't having FUN!
Quickly into T1 and I had the great fortune of having my cousin (who was volunteering) be my changing tent idea how that actually happened that she was free at the exact moment I ran into the tent, but it was great to have someone I know and love send me off onto the bike.  I had heard that it was supposed to be a calm day with relatively little wind, but I hadn't allowed myself to actually believe it...I kept waiting for those cross winds to start!  The first 20 miles were impossibly clustered, but after that it was easier to ride your own race and chose if you were going to draft or is always frustrating to see women atop the podium that you saw tucked in with men, but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, so I don't let it take any of my energy. The wind was at our backs all the way to Hawi.  This day truly flew by and I couldn't believe that we were already at the turn around!  I also kept telling myself that if it was this wonderful on the way out, the last 30 miles on the Queen K were going to be a bit rough...and indeed they were!  Coming through Kawaihae is kind of your first slow down.  Thankfully Mark and Jenny were there to cheer us on.  My best strategy for those last 30 miles is to continue to execute your nutrition to avoid low spots.  On the way back, I saw super supporters in Puako as well who had made signs for me and this was a TOTAL pick me up!  Sonja passed me somewhere along this stretch and made sure I was OK....yep! just battling the head wind that I knew was coming! Rolling into town you get all of he cheers again and it was time to get off my bike and run.

Total bike nutrition: 7 salty balls (150kcal each), 5 bottles active mango, 1 bottle coke, half bottle perform and water!  1650kcals/314 average per hour

keep the feet, just keep the feet
Coeur Run: 3:35:23  previous best 2011 3:33:14  I had felt awesome pretty much all day from the swim through the and of the bike.  I got off the bike and had that first wobbly leg feeling as I was running through transition.  Who made the run around the pier like a mile?!!  It was forever on the green astroturf and then finally into the change tent.  I grabbed some nutrition, my Garmin, a bottle of Pre Load to top of my salt and my white wings in the hopes of not getting too burnt.  Those things are SO hard to get on and I had already started to swell a bit so it felt like it was cutting off my circulation on my wrists.  I don't think I'll wear this again (at least not this type)...I only need protection on my shoulders and back and having it go all the way down the arms is unnecessary and it takes a lot of work to make sure they stay wet enough each mile to keep you "cool". Home made mod coming up! The first 10 miles along Alii were ROUGH...I walked a few times and was just hot and pooped.  I saw Mark and my family and all just kept telling me to keep chugging.  I got cooled off a bit and by the time I shuffled up Palani, I was in a better groove.  I had allowed myself to do the math just a bit at mile 16 on the way into the energy lab.  If I had 10 miles to go, and xx time...I MAY be able to squeak in under 10 hours.  This is where I also tell myself to not get overly excited as 10 miles is still a LONG way to go and ANYTHING can happen, so keep your head together please Hailey.  Into and out of the energy lab we went.  It was particularly barren this year as they stopped spectators from the 13 mile point, so we were without any spectators/family support for 10 miles.  Don't know what that was about, but it STUNK and there was no warning that it was going to be like that.  At about mile 20 I found the guy in the picture with me and for some reason, once I got on his feet, he picked up the pace just a tad.  I could hang on, but every once in a while he would try to add a bit more speed and I would fall of the back.  He would turn around and slow up for me to get back on his feet.  I muttered a thank you and he said he wasn't having his day so he was happy to help.  What a guy! After about 3 miles, I slowed at an aid station and he must have felt the finish line calling as that was the last I saw of him (he finished about a minute ahead of me).
How Badly do you want it?

With 3.2 miles to go I had 26 minutes.  That's not a lot of time after your body has already pushed for 9:30 and it wasn't all downhill.  Mark told me I needed to run hard and get this done.  I have never had to push so hard to achieve a goal.  As I was running with a little over a mile to go, I saw Kebby and desperately asked if I was going to make it.  She told me I had plenty of time, but MAN did that last beautiful mile along Alii take FOREVER!  I am usually able to soak it all in and high five everyone, but I HAD to get to the finish line before 10:00.  I looked up and saw that it was going to happen and I was going to even have time to spare!  I don't normally do much at the finish line, but I was SO excited that I did as much of a jump as I could muster.

Total Run nutrition: 1 banana, 1 gel (mile 24), loads of coke, few cups of perform, glucose tabs, 1 bag of Cytomax Energy Drops 450 in known kcal's, the rest in coke- estimate 150/hour so roughly 250/hour

Super Support crew...only missing my dad!
Day is done.
After the finish, I had swollen quite a bit so they took me to the med tent just to make sure all was good.  I had gained 2lbs over the course of the day which they say isn't too bad.  I asked if I could go and find my family and with that i broke free from the med tent and went to find my crew!  They all did SO much over the day and I needed every ounce of theer cheers to get me through the day successfully.

After the race it's time to enjoy some down time and fun activities!  I have been wanting to go Manta Ray diving for years, and I tell Mark each year we are here, we are going to go.  Finally I made the reservations this year and if you have the opportunity, it is beyond spectacular...they come within inches of you and you can see inside their mouths, and it is unreal.
Upside Down Manta!

Now for the THANK YOU's!  To all of my family and friends, the support offered on a daily basis is incredible.  Not all of my friends are triathletes, but they still get behind me and only tell me I'm crazy occasionally.  Thank you Lance and Argon18 for the best bike, Smith Optics for awesome sunnies, Coeur Sports for the best chaffing, Muscle Milk for keeping me recovered, Osmo for keeping me hydrated and dialed in with my nutrition plan, TYR sports for goods that take me to new PR's, and Compex for keeping me recovered after key sessions.

Now it's time for the off season!  See you all soon!

Girls Twitter meet up!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ka Ka Ka Kona!!

Morning light 
Kona came early this year.  Sounds familiar right?  Not Christmas, Kona!  Turns out we're not taking any time off around the typical holidays in the next few months which left me with some extra vacation days.  Hmmm, what to do with those days?  Yes, I think I'll spend them in Hawaii!  I boarded a plane on Saturday and whoosh, arrived in the land of hot, delicious, wet Hawaiian air.  I don't know if it's my Mid-Western roots, but MAN do I love me some sunshine and humidity.  Something about it just feels right.  My hair goes all crazy (lion hair to Mark), the moist air fills my lungs, and from ear to ear, I smile.  I asked Mark the other day if everyone who comes here has the same feeling of connectedness with the island, and he says that likely, I'm not alone on this one.  There is something about this least once a year when I am here, I am overcome with a sense of very raw emotion and the feeling that this is a very special place for me.

Swim Course action & latte with Dad
This year was supposed to be EXTRA special as in addition to my usual SUPER support crew of my husband, mom, stepdad, aunt, cousin, and Kebby, my dad (who is in a wheelchair 95% of his time) was going to make the LONG, HARD journey from Ohio to Kona to watch me race for the very first time.  I was pumped...nervous that he would be vulnerable out here out of his element, but excited that he would get to see the madness that is the Hawaii ironman.  I got a call Friday that my dad had had to undergo surgery and as of today he's still shacked up in the hospital.  So since he won't be here, I showed him the island via face time.  We had a latte together this morning, albeit my settings were a bit nicer than his...needless to say, he'll be Ironmanlive stalking this Saturday.  I told him I'd have to try to qualify for 2014 so we could try again...

The Queen and all her beauty
Mark doesn't arrive until later this week, so I've had the good fortune of staying out of town with friends  Jordan, her husband Rich, and our friend Eric.  The boys built the bikes yesterday and somehow all we had to do to avoid that chore was go to the grocery store and shop for food.  Any day of the week, I'll shop over put a bike together.  Thanks boys!!  We got back, Eric was nice enough to roll with me for my ride along the Queen K and just like that, I felt at home!  We went to town this morning to swim and then I hit the Queen K by myself for a little ride.  It was windier than yesterday and on the way home I had that thought of ohhhh, yes, I've been here before...I know this lonely stretch of road, time to start to prepare for the solitude of race day!

Another day done
Kona is my favorite race of the year for so many reasons.  Maybe highest on that list is that I get to spend time with friends who I may only see here every year.  This race serves as a culmination of your entire season and is a massive CELEBRATION for all that we've accomplished this year.  Do I have some big, scary goals?  You had better believe it.  But rain or shine, after next Saturday, the off season is upon me, another year of being healthy, happy and doing what I LOVE is wrapped up and I have another week on an island in the Pacific.  Life is indeed incredibly good (with the exception of Dad in the hospital, which effing BLOWS).

The rest of this week, I get to hang with sponsors, friends and family and then race my buns off on Saturday!  OHH and I get to be an honorary Betty for the Under Pants Run on Thursday...YES please!!! A big thank you to my family for all of their support this year and to Argon18 for putting me on the fastest, sexiest bike in town, Muscle Milk for rebuilding both my iron stores and my muscles, Compex for shaking my muscles recovered, Coeur for the most styling kits evah, Smith Optics for keeping the sun out of my eyes, Osmo Nutrition and Stacy Sims for keeping me salt tab and gel free (and truly so much more), and TYR for keeping me fast in the water.