Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Woodlands Y'all

To say that I am happy about punching my 6th ticket to Kona this past Saturday would be an understatement.  As triathletes trying for Kona, you don't get many opportunities to qualify...if one race goes to poo, you can't (usually) do one next week as a do-over.  So the anxiety leading up to a race is reasonable.  I knew that I had put in the work, had given up more wine than ever before, run faster than before, done more mobility work than before to make sure that my ever so slightly aging body was ready for the day, done more X...but you can only control what you can control, and after Wildflower a few weeks ago, I thought I had "allergies".  An ear ache, chest tightness, etc.  Allergies turned out to be "you may be sick".  Thanks Doc.  I ended up taking vitamin C in massive doses, zinc'ing it up and trying my VERY best the week of the race to get better and get rid of the yuck that had crept into my body before the gun went off on Saturday morning.

Pia and I in our Roka's
I flew into the Woodlands with Pia on Thursday for a Saturday race...maybe not my best laid plan as from the moment we landed, time went into speed mode and just raced the expo to pick up packets and say hi to friends, grocery store so that I could make salty balls for race day, get to the friends house, pack bags, practice swim and before you knew it, it was Friday night and time to go to bed!  If you haven't done a course before and can afford the extra day, I would go in on a Wednesday for a Saturday race just to give yourself that extra bit of wiggle room.

It had been raining in The Woodlands for the past few weeks, but as race day approached, the chances of rain kept going down and I had a feeling that as usual, race day would BRING her glory and the sun would come out and with all of the rain, the humidity would be off the charts.  Maybe I'd make an excellent weather girl?  This is exactly what happened as part way through the swim, the clouds parted and gave way to what was the start of a brutally hot and windy day in Texas.

Pre-swim nutrition: Bottle of Osmo mango, serving of Pre-Load, two eggs scrambled into cold rice (didn't want to raise my core temp on an already hot morning), liquid aminos on top and an iced latte.  One banana right before the start. ~800kcals (should have had some PB in hind sight to get this close to 1k)

Swim: 1:03:38 or 1:38/100m
Coeur Gals at the Practice swim
A Roka Sandwich
This swim is almost exactly what I swam in 2012 here.  A freshwater swim in 81* water means no wet suit and no added buoyancy...good for those of us that grew up as swimmers.  I also think that non wet suit swims are good in hot weather...the last thing you want to do is swim in a wet suit in barely legal water in sunny/80* outside temp and arrive in T1 already dehydrated. This was my first time in a rolling start.  I had a bit of concern that there could be gals that seeded themselves further back (meaning I wouldn't be able to really know where I was at in the race), but then I also thought if anyone thought they were in contention for either the AG win or the amateur title, there would be no way they would put themselves anywhere other than the front.  I put myself in the :55-1:00 category knowing that I might be a bit slower, but it would be nice to draft as much as possible.  All around me there were green caps...not many of us ladies! It was a MOST pleasant start, I wasn't run over much at all and I chose perfectly with a fresh pair of Roka F1's in light amber that I may have had to panic order so that I had the best tint for race day. The Viper Pro swim skin from Roka is also stellar and they have updated it with a break away zipper this year which makes it SO easy to rip off as you are hustling through T1.

Bike: 5:20:56...good enough for fastest in the AG (let's not talk about the fact that it was the 11th best bike split for the AG women)
This bike LOVES to ride
After hustling through what could have been a mud wrestling pit of T1, (don't search for funny videos...) I made it onto my bike and headed out for a fun day in the sun.  Just me, my thoughts and an entire batch of salty balls to get through before it was time to run ;)  The beginning of the bike course in TX typically has a tailwind and we did start off pretty quickly, but also pretty early on, the wind started.  Coupled with the fact that I could feel the heat immediately, I knew it was going to be a pretty spectacular day in terms of blow ups.  I made my way to the front of the AG race and was riding comfortably.  A few gals (and a ton of guys) came by me like I was a toddler riding a bike for the first time.  I told myself "either I am riding like a toddler, or these gals are making some pretty bad decisions".  Let's stick to my race and see how it plays out.  Every 15 minutes I have an alarm that goes off queuing me that it is time for a salty ball (70kcals/ball).  when I didn't' feel like eating, I would tell myself that the food tasted like winning, the food tasted like Kona and that if I wanted to do either of those things, I had better get that ball DOWN the hatch.  I rolled them in a bit more salt than usual and that was a good move! The aid stations were only every 10ISH miles and in weather like that, they should be like they are in Kona, every 7.  I was pouring water over me at every stop, adding cold water to my bottle and was ELATED when I arrived at the special needs stop and found my foil wrapped bottle of Osmo still slushy.  There is NOTHING like an ice cold drink at mile 70 of an Ironman.  When the wind really picked up it got a little frustrating as the drafting would seem to increase as well.  People just seem to gravitate towards others in order to shield themselves from the wind.  I kept telling myself that to focus on others is to waste energy, but that didn't stop me from getting a bit frustrated.  At one point a pro gal I had passed was right behind me so I looked at her and she apologized and then came around me as if to offer me a break...uh, no thanks chick, I don't want no penalty.  It got a bit ugly for me towards the end of the bike and I found myself yelling at the wind that I "LOVED" it and then in turn making loud grunting noises...does anyone else do this?  Good friends know exactly how this sounds. Good thing not many people were around...they might get the incorrect picture that I am a bit strange ;) I got off of the bike in 2nd position and told myself it was time to run!

Run 3:38:15/ 8:18/mile and 6th fastest amateur run

TX budgy smuggler cheer boys!
What do you say about a disappointing run that saw you go from leading the overall amateur race to landing as the 5th best amateur and 2nd in your AG?  I struggle to (audibly) say I'm "disappointed", as I feel like that may come off as ungrateful.  2nd in my AG and 5th overall IS good, and I get that.  But I wanted more from myself and I wanted to win. With the run training I have been doing, I felt like on the right day, this could be a possibility.  So I am a bit disappointed.  Not a go throw a pity party or even really wonder "what" I could have done better, but just a bit like damn...what happened those last 5 miles that I just couldn't hang on?  I try not to make excuses as I simply was not THE best on the day, but I am hoping that I get to blame a small amount of this run on the fact that I had been sick and am still not over it.  I can do that, right?

In the lead...for now
I always throw a bit of a party as you hit the run as you know the only thing that can let you down from here on out, is your body.  No more opportunity for a mechanical, no one to possibly kick your goggles off and drown you...nope, all you have left is 26.2 (don't for get the .2) miles on your feet, and for some reason, that seems like the most controllable portion of the race to me.

 I exited T2 with a half bottle full of a mixture of pre load and osmo active to top off the salts for the rest of the day.  I won't drink the on course nutrition so get all of my salt from pre-load the night before/morning of and then in T2. It all started off OK enough...the first mile is always brutal for me. But I've learned to just take that one easy and build into it as the legs will come around.  The course is not at all hilly, but very quickly I felt myself really feeling the ever so slight nonexistent inclines that are on the course.  I didn't have Mark there with me, so had to be really on myself to take coke, ice, water at each aid station.  I definitely slowed/walked a bit at most of the aid stations so that I ensured I got all of the nutrition I needed.  I didn't want to be in such a hustle that I skipped calories cause who can eat and run at the same time?...ROOKIE.  The run in Texas is just awesome...three laps of crazy spectators cheering for you!  Definitely needed when you are in the hurt locker!  I was focusing so much that I couldn't even high five people :(  It was good to have team mates Heidi and Kelly on the course and to have Jordan helping me out with where I was at in the race.  Thank you ladies!  The wind continued onto the run course from the bike and at one point along the canal it was like you hit a WALL of wind...I would try to find the biggest guy I could to tuck behind for that portion of the run!  I headed into the last lap of the run and with about 6 miles to go was like, quads have never felt like this...what is this terrible feeling?  Time to start popping my glucose tabs and hope that the finish line magically appears!  Glucose tabs are like pixie sticks in solid form...and so tasty late in the marathon and offer a quick hit of sugar...who knew they weren't only for diabetics?  Thank you Stacy for that tip!  I got passed in the last 4 miles by 3 of the 4 women who would finish in front of me (the 4th started later).  Kudos to those fleet feeted fast and all cheered me on as they passed- fast AND good sports!  Love this sport for just that reason! hawt!
I hit the line in 10:10 and nabbed a spot to Kona.  Quickly hit the massage tent to try to undo some of the damage done by the 26 miles on pavement and then went in search of the biggest milkshake I could find!

Thanks for all of the cheers throughout the day! Thank you to my husband, Mark, for guiding me to my 6th Kona qualification.
Podium girls!
Thanks to all of the people that got me to the start line in such good shape such that all I had to do was go out and execute my plan.  I can't say enough how grateful I am for people in my life that make this sport a possibility for me.  I've built so many friendships through triathlon over the past decade, and I can't imagine where my life would be with out all of these wonderful people!

See you in a few weeks at Escape from Alcatraz!


Carolina John said...

congrats on another strong kona qualifier! Great job out there.

hailey said...

Thanks so much John!

pushmylimits said...

Congrats Chica!! You aren't the only one who yells at the wind! I often find myself yelling, "Kiss me harder wind!" as I ride into the wind. I also find myself signing, "I feel good" when I don't really feel good to try to change the negative into positive. We're all a bit crazy for covering that distance with our own bodies, so we might as well make it certifiable ;)

The Hippie Triathlete said...

Congrats again on another great race!