Monday, November 23, 2015

Whoops! I raced again...

I did a pretty good job of not shouting from the rooftops that I was going to race Ironman Arizona until I got there on Thursday.  Why?  Well, for one, I didn't know I was going to race until 2 weeks post Kona, when while watching friends race Cabo, I got so homesick to race that I decided I HAD to race one more time this year too.  And two, I felt greedy racing again.  I had just had a great Kona and had had enough support from friends and family...isn't that enough I thought?  Why aren't you satisfied and ready for the off-season?  Unlike past years after Kona, I was feeling fresh.  I hadn't taken to drinking heavily and eating all the treats.  The urge just hadn't hit and mentally I was just not ready to be done.  And I think we all know that your body can physically make it through an Ironman most any day if you've been training for a long time, but it's the MIND that will allow you to race and compete.  My mind wanted to go one more time.  So off I went to Arizona, my first race on this course and sealed the deal for Kona #7 this coming October.  It still thrills me as much as my first qualification, I can't seem to gobble enough of Kona up and my soul is at peace on that island.

Pre-race good luck flat
Pre-race bike fixing by Sag Monkey
I had been checking the weather and was really concerned that I might be cold during the race.  I am a summer baby at heart, and my ideal conditions are Kona...not AZ on a rare, cold and rainy 60* day.  But, you can only control YOU and certainly not the weather so I adjusted my wardrobe choices and went about prepping for another day of FUN in the sun RAIN!  I got to stay with good friend and Coeur teammie, Andrea and her hubby and wonderful dog.  This made things so much fun, it always beats a hotel when yo can be with friends and do your own food and spread out.

Race morning came fast enough and Andrea and I were off to transition after breakfast and braids!

Pre race breakfast: rice, 2 eggs, cold brew coffee, bottle of pre-load, banana and peanut butter on drive to transition. ~900 kcals

ROKA Swim: 58:19 and my FIRST first out of the water award!  BAM and thank you Stanford Masters!!!

Roka FOTW awards
I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the swim initiative.  It allows you to self seed and I think if you do that, that the swim shouldn't be too least better than a typical mass start.  I lined up on the very front line and when the gun went off hopped into that cold water and started swimming!  I had seen others wearing neoprene caps and thought "why didn't I at least double down and wear a silicon cap underneath my race cap?!" But really, after I got going, I wasn't cold at all.  I chose the perfect goggle for the morning (thanks to a 10PM oh shit, my goggles are for direct sun and now it's going to be cloudy tomorrow, let me switch them out moment) and with the F1 light vermillion was able to see the buoys. I kept thinking, man, why is it choppy in this man made lake?  I swear that Ironman Texas is like this too, for man made fresh water it sure moves a lot! I kept with the feet I was on until they started to not follow a tight line along the buoys and then readjusted to new feet.  I kept telling myself not to get complacent.  This is my biggest issue in the swim, I just settle in and get comfortable-  much to my husband's's not supposed to be comfortable!  So I kept saying, faster turnover.  I was pumped to get out in under an hour and quickly got focused on what was up next.  I swam in my tri shorts and a Coeur bikini top so that I could change into a dry top after the swim.  While this was a stellar plan for warmth and didn't end up effecting the overall day, it was a MIGHTY slow transition and hugely comical as I got a wet bikini top off and then proceeded to have volunteers try sorry you had to touch my boobs so much to get a tri top with bra in it on, arm warmers, gloves and a jersey on top of that tank (because I def didn't want a sunburn in AZ!!)

Bike: 5:14:21 
Don't fall, don't fall...Pic by Erin Klegstad
Bike Nutrition: recipe of salty balls, 7 bottles of osmo active ~360kcals/hour (update to salty balls, they are RAD with chocolate rice krispies)

Photo by: Sonja Wieck
Onto the bike I went thinking that I was among the first few AG women- what I didn't realize that it wasn't all AG women in the change tent, that there were pros in there as well.  Unfortunately for the pro women in AZ, the AG'ers started only 5 minutes back.  Although I think this is mostly unfair for the faster women as it allows the slower women to both legally and illegally take advantage of age groupers on the road.  I raced Kona actually looking at power and this is where I think I made a big mistake there- as when the competition passed me, I let it go as my power was great...yeah, but the race just went up to Hawi without you ;)  So I recorded power at AZ, but took it off of my Garmin screens completely.  we would go back to racing by feel and the race here and see how that did.  The first lap was really quiet and it's always cool to see the pros going in the other direction for a bit of motivation.  After each lap, I would see Sonja and she would yell encouragement at me and give me the stats and let me know I was 3rd...I was hoping she meant overall and not AG, but all I knew is that there was still work to do!  And then the rain came, it was already cool and I was SO thankful that I wore everything I did and had toe covers on my bike shoes.  I needed all of the warmth.  I kind of just laughed at all of the rain, really AZ?  My main issue with people in the rain is that on a course that gets narrow in town and where EVERYONE is trying to have THEIR day and THEIR best time, they are looking out mostly for themselves and forget about their community.  I kept looking back each time I needed to pass and said "on your left", and was appalled by how many did not extend the same courtesy...really, you can't be a bit safer when it's raining, we're all in aero and oh by the way, have you tried to brake recently?  The last few miles of the bike I took really slowly as the course was really crowded, there were quite a few turns and the last thing I wanted was to go down right before the run.

Run: 3:29:35 (please accept Garmin time of 3:28:50 due to port o loo stop)
Run Nutrition: 1.5 bananas, coke at every aid station, glucose tabs last 10k ~225 kcals/hour

Photo by @quadrathon
I ran a 3:30 in Kona in 2014 and was oh. so. close to breaking it and had really known that I was capable of doing it, it just needed to happen.  I exited transition and had to laugh as the volunteers were standing there with their hands covered in sunscreen.  They offered it to me and I gave them the best laugh I could muster- they knew it was a bit silly at that point too- I don't think anyone got a drop of sun exposure this year at Ironman Arizona. I started out on the marathon and Sonja let me know that I was in 2nd place in the AG and 3rd OA heading onto the run.  My first thoughts were "man this cement is really slippery!".  The cement was a slightly polished cement and so it was hard to get much traction and I kept feeling like I was going to fall down.  Not awesome, but move it along Hailey!  I made the pass for first about 4 miles into the run and just focused on keeping a fast cadence and making sure to eat and drink.  It was awesome to see so many friends cheering and racing along the course.  And then, for just a moment, the sun came out and I thought the rain might be done.  NOT! Somewhere along the second lap, another funny volunteer offered me ice.  Really sir?  Please I'll take the broth!  That stuff was tasty!

Photo by Pedro Gomes
My watch had both total time on it and run time.  I try to keep myself in the present and focused on the process and not the outcome as you just never know what can happen in those final miles of a marathon.  You could (quite literally) shit the bed and your day could be done.  I had a few moments of ohh, this is great, you're going to go sub-10 again and you are going to WIN this thing.  Then I told myself it ain't over until the fat lady sings and to be focused on keeping the pace until the end.

That finish line appeared and was so sweet.  I had really been excited to do an Ironman that day and had kept telling myself that day that It was (rain aside) so awesome to be out there racing and being able to do what makes me happy.  Mike Riley called me in and referred to me as"happy girl"...I think my finish line arm dance might have gone overboard this time!  I crossed as 1st in my AG, 2nd overall amateur and 15th overall female including the pros.  I was so thrilled with the day and so thankful that I had gotten to do it just 5 weeks again after Kona.

The next morning, all of the Coeur gals had breakfast together and it was just rad.  I hadn't met most of them in real life yet and to get to put faces and names and stories together was a highlight of the trip.

And NOW, we post-season.  I'm excited to relax and indulge but also mindful of the year to come and the goals that I want to work towards. 

Team Coeur!