Thursday, December 1, 2016

The driest place on earth I wrote this blog and then POOF tried to save more pics to it (#yourewelcome) and it just disappeared.  All of it...except the pics of course.  So I've been sulking and trying to recover the post to no avail.  So here goes attempt numero dos at this blog that will wrap up 2016.

Coeur gals in their Smith sunnies!
Last year when I arrived in AZ, I got a nose bleed every day I was there but race day (due to figuring out my issue).  This year I vowed to be pro-active and not re-active and was ARMED with Aquaphor.  Didn't you know it's best use is for lubing the inside of your nose to protect against nose bleeds?  Works well at altitude too ;)  See why I love humidity?  All of the heat of the desert, but NONE of the dryness.  If I lived in AZ, I would have to get even more serious about my moisturizing game, and I already moisturize with straight up coconut oil, so not really sure where I would go next?
Post race smiles at Snooze

I got into town on Thursday night and was lucky enough to stay with Coeur Teammie, Kristin for the first two nights and then with Sonja, who had flown in from CA to be my Sherpa.  Mark was in the UK working and let's be real, he only likes to come to IM in tropical locales ;) Pre- race was fun as there were SO many Coeur teammates racing that we got to have a dinner before the race and breakfast after.  I got to catch up with old teammies and meet new ones. 

I ended up staying at a hotel on Mill street so was able to walk to transition race morning which was race walk=not so nice!  Sonja and I walked down to transition and I met up with BFF Jess who had made a BIG 'ol batch of salty balls so was giving me half a recipe.  I planned on eating half balls, and half Gu wafels with PB smooshed between it (it has become my new training food LOVE).  I walked over to my bike after meeting with Jess put my stuff down and get to work on setting up my nutrition and pumping tires.  And then I go to get the salty balls and they are GONE.  Just gone.  I saw a gal walk by and pick up a bag, but thought she must be picking up her own stuff as it never crossed my mind that someone would pick up MY stuff that was oh so close to me and obviously not trash or abandoned.  Cue the panic.  I had packed about 600 other kcals so would be way short and depending on on-course nutrition if these things didn't reappear.  I found Jess and we searched and Sonja was on stand by telling me not to panic and that we would figure it out.  Jess and I gave up and then all of the sudden, Jess had them in her hand, saying they were next to the dumpster at the end of the row.  Awesome.  OK, well at least I had my nutrition, but it didn't have me in the most relaxed pre race mood ;)  See pic below with me middle right with eyes closed, cheeks blown out to the max while everyone else is smiling...
Current status is...Pic by John Nickerson

Pre-Race nutrition- 2 eggs, rice, half avocado, cold brew coffee, bottle of BT Nutrition Hydration, and bottle of pre-load 30min before the start.  Total was about 800kcals.  I had a banana and OB but I just couldn't.  

Swim: 58:36 vs 58:19 LY
After pushing my way to the front of the start queue, I found Kristin and a few other familiar faces and it was time to go.  Though we started at the front, they were really restricting the flow into the lake with barricades and letting about 2 people in at a time.  I found clean water immediately and just wanted to stay ON it as I knew that I would need as much of a lead as possible coming out of the water if I wanted to have a chance at winning and qualifying to Kona.  Each time I found feet I asked myself if this draft was fast enough and if not, swam around and found the next set.  The sun didn't come out the entire swim hell it didn't come out ALL day so I was pumped with my choice of the jade tint Roka F1's.  I was able to spot each buoy perfectly.  Kristin and I exited at the same time and got to head out on the bike together.  She's a stellar cyclist so I knew we could push each other all day.

Bike Nutrition: half recipe salty balls, 4 Gu Wafels with PB in-between, 7 bottles of BT Nutrition Hydration and water....oh the water in that dry can ALWAYS drink more in AZ.

Bike: 5:14:56 vs 5:14:21 LY (notice the theme yet?)
Pic by Nick Weiler
Pic by Nick Weiler
I REALLY wanted to go under 5:14 as I think that's my PB on any IM course and thought if there was no rain, really that should be possible right?  Maybe it was the wind, oh the WIND, or maybe it was racing 5 IM's in 13 months, but it just wasn't going to happen.  The wind was pretty strong on the way out which not at all surprisingly seems to encourage drafting.  I kept telling myself I just had to get to the top of the Beeline and then I could scream back into town.  The first two laps went pretty well but I definitely felt the slowdown on the third loop.  I was leading the amateur race until sometime in the third loop when Emily from 30-34 passed me like the freight train that she is on the bike.  So strong!  I was racing blind so not sure if it was just perception or if I really did slow (looking at splits looks like lap 2 going up the Beeline was actually the slowest).  I don't ever look at power when I race but record it and usually go by HR and perception.  I forgot my HR monitor at home and so that was it, perception it was! I'm really glad that this didn't throw me off.  I asked Sonja if she had one and once she said no, that was it, time to just RACE. Small rant...why is it that NOT ONE dude gave me an "on your left" when passing me?  It's safe and courteous...and BTW, if I pull out at the same time as you pass me that I didn't know, we're both going down...not just me, so really, it benefits us ALL if you just open your mouth and utter those three little words.  I rolled into transition in 2nd place for the amateur race and was still leading the AG.  I knew I would need to continue to build my lead if I had any hope of holding Emily K. off as the girl can run (ran a 3;19 in the end).  Unfortunately, I lost a minute to her on the bike and only had an 8 minute buffer.

Run nutrition: one scoop of pre-load as I hit the run and then 5 gels, coke and water at every aid station, a 5hour energy around mile 13 and then glucose tabs during the last 10k.  Total kcals using an estimate of 2oz/coke per aid station (let's say 20 of the 26) is 966 or 276/hour.

Running to the finish. Pic by Sonja
Run: 3:35:26 vs LY of 3:29:35 wah wha...
I think we all feel like this, but I'll still say it.  Why is it that what I can do in training doesn't materialize on race day for my marathon?  I can do my long runs at IM HR averaging why can't I even just seem to manage a 7:55 pace?  I'm not asking for 7:40's (yet...don't get greedy), but come on Hailey.  Maybe I just don't push hard enough?  I didn't have a HR monitor so no idea what my HR was and I was comfortably uncomfortable.  Mark always says I hate being uncomfortable so maybe that is the next things to work on.  Being uncomfortable running for long periods of time.

COKE! WATER! Pic by Nick Weiler
look at those high knees...not mine! Pic by Nick Weiler
The run course in AZ seems so desolate to me.  I think Texas and Kona spoil you, but truly the run support and volume of spectators is so high in TX (3 lap run) that it seemingly never ends.  The Coeur team had an AMAZING cheer section in the middle of nowhere along this course so that was so helpful, but if you do this course, be prepared for some serious YOU time where you will need to rally your positive self talk.  Speaking of self talk, I feel like I had a successful race mostly due in part to my mind on the day.  When I slowed, I assumed that so was everyone else and I told myself NO walking even through aid stations.  At one point, Emily was charging hard and Robin had shrunk my gap down to less than a minute.  But I did not panic and just kept telling myself that I am the durable athlete and that if I just keep WORKING MY PROCESS, I will have the success I am looking for.  Yes, I wanted to qualify for Kona and I knew that meant I had to finish in the top two as there were only 40 slots at this race.  But each time that thought would come into my head, I pushed it out and focused on the moment I was, drink, lean forward or at least try listen to the info Sonja gives you when you pass her and soak in the cheers.  On repeat. ON the 2nd lap, Emily made the pass and I moved into 2nd in our AG.  I had begun to open up a gap on Robin and was comfortably in 2nd.  At mile 24, a gal was coming from the 40-44 AG and Sonja asked me I had to decide if I wanted 2nd OA amateur or 3rd.  I couldn't rally my mind or body to hold on to 2nd and that is OK.  I think you can only go so deep a few times per year and I had already gone there in Kona.  I started to feel really rough from 24-26 and don't remember ever having to really will myself to the finish like I did here.  But then, there it was and poof, just like that, another IM is over and my season was done.  How does a nearly 10 hour day just go by in the blink?  I guess that' what happens when you're having FUN.

Kona Love
After the race, Sonja and I walked back to the hotel, showered up and wen tin search of pub food. The next morning after the usual, up until midnight on caffeine, girl talk and social media, sleep for three hours, picnic in bed, sleep another two hours, we were off to breakfast with the team at Snooze. I love going to this race for the sheer amount of Coeur teammies there.  It's such a special team, I really don't know where I'd be without these ladies.

Then we headed to awards and I accepted my Kona slot.  I can't believe this will be my 8th time on the island.  There's no place I'd rather be on the 2nd Saturday in October.


Anonymous said...

I swear there was a group of guys in front of me that was seriously having a sewing circle! And YASSS!!! Three little words would go so far!!! Awesome to share the course with you!

Susan said...

Congrats on a great race! And congrats on punching your ticket, yet again, for Kona! Does that mean no IMTX for you? I think you need another North American Champion jersey! :-)

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