Monday, May 23, 2016

64 turns and a champions jersey

I read Jesse Thomas's blog on race reports...he says as much as we think anyone other than our mom is reading, it's probably best to keep it simple and highlight lessons learned and not bore folks with the minutiae.  So I thought I'd do a 14 things about Ironman Texas in keeping with my 14 things about Ironman post in honor of this, my 14th Ironman finish!

  1.  I WON!  My age group that is.  Was really wanting the OA win but I would have to settle for 5th OA amateur...turns out those young (teeny tiny) gals can RUN...will keep trying to up my game here!  Last year since it was the first year Texas was the North American Championship, they gave out champions jerseys to the winner of each AG.  I wanted that, not the design (please IM, contact Kebby at Coeur and ask her to do the design next year?!), but, I wanted to be the champ, to be No1 at the NA Championship.  When I was running and struggling, that is what I thought about...oh and milkshakes- to which I told Sonja about and she started singing the milkshake song to me!  

Coeur Teammies Denise and Barbara
2. Friends make everything better.  I stayed with my friends who live in The Woodlands and along with myself, they were hosting the soon to be champ, Patrick Lange (there's an E on the's not Lang!) It is so much fun to have a relaxed environment surround you when you arrive to a race and even better to have other tri geeks to be with right before and after a race when all you want to do is talk about the race...and at this point, your SO/fam has heard enough about your pre-race poop needs that they'd rather have a needle to the eye.  Find your tribe and be with them so you can geek out!

3. Swim- I swam a 1:02:11 here which is a 1:10 PR on this course!  Hooray for my ROKA swimskin, a fresh pair of goggles and Stanford Masters swimming for this.  I've always found this swim to be tough- it's not wetsuit legal and it's fresh water so there is NOTHING helping your body position.  I usually feel like my stroke falls apart here towards the end, but something was different this year and thankfully that translated into a faster swim split.

Homestay and dear friend Moe!
4. 64 (at least) turns is a lot, but it's not the end of the world.  The bike course was shortened this year to 95 miles and it had at least 64 turns that I had counted.  Thankfully not all of them were u-turns and you were able to take them at a reasonable speed.  Mark and I had talked about the importance of taking the turns well here and not loosing too much speed.  We practiced before the race and I believe that helped.  Coming into Texas and really Arizona, I wanted to show that my bike doesn't suck and that Argon should still be proud to support me!  I had a pretty bad bike in Kona and lost a LOT of time to the ladies who ended up in 1-3rd position on the podium and I have vowed to not let that happen again!

5. When shit changes, go with the flow.  The swim course was altered this year due to the canal being too dirty to swim in and the bike course was shortened.  People were up in arms over the bike course being shortened.  News flash, we're all on the same course on the day, so what is truly (unless this is your first IM) deal?  Simmer people.

6.  The WTC is good at what they do.  Say what you like, and hate the WTC for the corporate $$$ suckers that they are, but when shit hits the fan, they manage the situation and keep everyone safe and as happy as can be.  When I was at mile 24, the cloud cover came and so did the thunder.  After crossing the line and making my way through the food tent, the heavens literally opened up and the thunder/lightning/rain was insane.  They ushered us all into the med tent to get out from the elements and no one panicked.

feeling the fatigue at the end of the run!
still looking fresh...for now
7.  Hoka's...this was my first marathon in a pair of Hoka's and I went with the Clayton.  If you've visited this site before, you know an Ironman marathon spells disaster for my poor feet.  Some people never get blisters and some of us are just "blessed" with blister prone feet...doesn't matter the shoe/sock, after an hour swim, 5 hours of biking and then dumping water over me for the next 3.5 hours, my feet will get blisters.  I'm happy to report that while this is no miracle shoe (i still got a few blisters), my feet are in the best condition they've ever been post race...i may not even have to say goodbye to any toe nails!  Could it be?!!

Sonja doing her thang and cheering me on
8. I love Texas heat and humidity.  People always ask me about this race and how it was.  It was hot.  It was incredibly humid, but I love it.  Now ask me about the conditions at Escape from Alcatraz next month and you'll get a MUCH more animated and horrible face when I describe the horrific cold ;)

9. Post race blues are real.  I was definitely so please to walk away with the win, but got hit a bit with the post race sads this week.  Mark was out of town in the UK and with all of that down time and not a lot of endorphins from reduced exercise, the struggle had been real.  I don't think this ever gets any easier to deal with, aside from knowing it will always happen and accept it as part of the game. 

friends help the blues!

the evidence...
10.  Falling off of the food wagon does not help with #9.  I was pretty good this week, but did have a few times where I just ate things that I would not normally have...donut and a sandwich anyone?!  I avoid these foods as they don't make me feel good on the inside and turns out they don't help you feel good mentally either!  The more I race, the easier it is to get back to eating well post race and the more I crave getting back into my food routine.  I know this sounds like old-lady curmudgeon talk, but I want to recover well and poor diet choices do not help with recovery.

11. Positive self talk is good.  Duh!  But seriously, when I hit the run, I was like, oh man, I struggs.  And then I thought to myself, yes but if you struggs, so is every other girl out here and you just have to strugg the least.  Keep moving mama.

12. Walking aid stations, each and every one is A-OK.  Seconds lost at each aid station did not cost me 1-4th place and I wanted to ensure my lead did not deteriorate due to rushing and not fueling properly.You know Jan Frodeno slowed significantly and even walked a few aid stations in Kona this past year?  I hit the run feeling a bit woozy and truly walked each of the aid stations to ensure I was really getting in everything I needed.  I wasn't lolly gagging but the first few aid stations I got passed by gals who I would then pass pretty quickly.  eventually they stopped passing me and I stayed ahead of the pack.  I told myself I was Jan mo-fo Frodeno ;)

post race shakes and fries with Katie and super dad!
13. Breakfast the day after the race with friends is priceless.  The re-hashing of the stories, war wounds is just so fun.  And spending time with women I only see a few times a year is one of the reasons I keep coming back to this sport, year after year. 

14.  Success is so wonderful, but it does not free you from the "what if" thoughts and the "what could I have done better and what WILL I do better next time" thoughts.  I wish there was a cure for that and that we could be satisfied (at least for a few days), before allowing ourselves to be the Type A'ers we are and want to focus on what we can do better.

Now the racing season is really underway and the next few months have me racing ALL over the US...from Honu and Escape From Alcatraz next month, to Getting to race in my home TOWN of Delaware in August, I'm excited for summer!!