Monday, July 17, 2017

Huckleberries and Mooses - IMCDA 70.3 Race Report

As I rode my bike in the oven of South San Jose yesterday (#hotasballs, #windyAF), I had lots of time in my head.  All I thought about was IMCDA coming up in 5 – yes 5!!! – weeks!  And as hard and hot and miserable my ride was, I knew that the training was $$ in the bank and whatever mother nature throws at us on August 27, I will be ready for it…but please please please don’t give us a 106* day!!!  And since I was thinking reminiscing on the awesome course, I figured I should probably post my race report from the half!! Enjoy…
I had such a blast riding and running through Coeur D’Alene for the 70.3 race and I CANNOT WAIT to head back up there in August (7 weeks away!!!) for the full Ironman.  Even though I haven’t done the full yet, I am already bummed that the full is leaving CDA next year.  This was, hands down, my favorite race course to date!!  After racing the half, I would have been very sad if I wasn’t signed up to race the full this year.  Ironman is certainly missing out by canceling this race…the town was delightful, the course was beautiful, and it was run seamlessly.  Boo :(
Hi Mudgy - Mudgy the Moose!  photo credit: Mitymous
Race day was Sunday, 6/25, so my mom and I headed up on Friday in order to get situated in town.  This was my first time flying with my bike and using my Scicon bag.  I was a bit nervous, but this bag was a dream!  So freaking easy to pack my bike, no stress of rebuilding it, and Penny arrived safe and sound.  Our only hang up upon arriving at Spokane airport was that the bag didn’t fit into the trunk of the full sized car my mom had rented because of the funky design when the seats folded down…so we were super cool and upgraded to the minivan life (which ended up being super convenient…shhhh don’t tell!).  The drive into CDA was easy and we went straight to Stanley Park to check in. 
Kept Penny the P3 safe and sound
I had been watching the weather apps like a hawk leading into race weekend, and I knew it was going to be a scorcher.  It was supposed to be hottest on race day, but Friday was already cranking up the heat, especially while standing in line to check in! Registration took a bit longer than expected, so I pushed my shake out swim to Saturday, and we grabbed lunch at Unchained Taphouse – the bike themed restaurant was the perfect way to set the mood for the weekend!  Then we were off to Safeway and our Air B&B…
Definitely not a problem come Sunday afternoon!
Saturday was a shake out swim/bike/run.  The lake was gorgeous…just cold enough to be PERFECT for a wetsuit swim.  I even saw some fishies!  The awesome thing about triathlon is the camaraderie…I needed to pump my tires after deflating them for the airplane, and got to meet some other lovely triathletes who offered their pump.  Since I was testing out the new Coeur one piece aero suit on race day in preparation for August, I was decked out in my team kit for my ride on Saturday…you know it’s an awesome kit when you are asked if you’re a pro ;)  Thanks again, Kebby!  The spin along the first part of the bike course was so fun and my legs felt fast and zippy.  I then ran along the lake, checked Penny into transition, and hightailed it out of there to give myself time to relax.
Looking like a pro for my pre-race shakeout ride!
The rest of the day was spent driving the course, prepping my bottles, carbo loading, and finally finishing the library book that I had lugged up to Idaho.  Dinner was my ever faithful Thai food outside of Spokane, Basil chicken and all the rice.  Not quite up to Tee Nee Thai standards, but definitely tasty and served it’s purpose.  Back to the condo and in bed by 9.
All ready to go!
Race morning – my mom is an AWESOME Sherpa and an expert body marker, so we headed to transition super early so she could be ready to volunteer when transition opened.  We snagged a great parking spot, which was key post race, and I did my race day hair (braids), ate my banana, and rocked out to Hamilton.
Bananas for Eileen with my personal body marker!
Swim: 35:07, not quite a PR, but came out feeling better than ever and right on pace for IMCDA
Gear: Roka Maverick elite wetsuit, Roka R1 goggles, Tri Slide

The rolling start took way longer than expected.  Muddy told me to get in as early as possible to save myself from being out on the course in the hottest hours – being the rule follower that I am, I seeded myself where I thought I should be…but that meant that I wasn’t in the water until 10+ minutes after the AG start.  Other than that, the swim was uneventful until the 2nd to last buoy where my right calf cramped up.  I did some breast stroke kicks to stretch it out, swam a bit further, and then my left calf cramped!  So frustrating…I think I lost at least a minute working those out, but eventually I made it onto dry land.  Apparently I got too excited that I was almost done and kicked too hard – duly noted!  We lucked out with wetsuit strippers and I was off and jogging through transition in a matter of seconds.
T1 – nothing super exciting here aside from the fact that I had the best spot ever!  Right by bike out/in meant that I didn’t have to run through the whole transition with my bike like I have in the past.  Fingers crossed my AWA status will land me a similarly good spot in August.
Best transition spot EVER!  Bike in/out is just to the left of the picture - So close!
Bike: 2:45:44, 20.27 mph - PR CITY!!
Gear: Cervelo P3, Rudy helmet, Louis Garneau Women's Tri-400 shoes, Smith Pivlok sunnies, Coeur One Piece Aero Suit

So freaking fun!!!  We had driven the bike course the day before – the hills definitely looked intimidating…not super steep, but LONG!  Well…they didn’t feel long on race day!!!  There were quite a few times when I was going downhill on a section that we had already climbed and thought to myself “I didn’t realize we were climbing this long” because it felt like I was descending FOREVER!  I hydrated well and did my first bottle grab.  I was pleasantly surprised at the speed I was holding, as I thought that I would be way slower because of the hills, but there was definitely enough downhill to balance out the uphill!  I even spun out a few times so I’m excited to see how my new chain ring will affect my bike split during the full!  The course is super spectator friendly since you roll through town in the middle and got to see/hear my mom and her cowbell 3 times!
I didn't want to get off!!
T2 – I hydrated like a champ and had to pee like a racehorse when I got off the bike, so I took advantage of the grass and changed my shoes while sitting down #multitaskingforthewin! 
Fleet Feet Coeur D'Alene
Run - 1:44:03 - WHAT!!!  #headdowndowork – mantra of the year!
Gear: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34, Ironman visor, Garmin Fenix 5S
Quad Damn!  So darn comfy <3 Coeur Sports
Rolled out of transition WAY too fast – or so I thought.  When I looked at my pace about .5 miles out of transition and saw 7:3x on my watch, I knew I needed to dial it back.  But when I thought I dialed it back and was still running sub 8 min miles, I decided to just go with it.  I locked into a rhythm and worked to keep my core cool at each aid station as the temperature started rising.  I would call out for water to splash on my face, and ice to dump down my sports bra.  Half way through the run, I went to dump ice into my sports bra, felt that I still had some cubes in there from the last aid station, and realized that my chest had gone numb!  My core DEFINITELY stayed cool which helped me run a super consistent pace.  
Anatomy lesson for the day - muscle right above the knee on the inside

Since the run course is 2 loops, it was AWESOME to see my Coeur Sports teammates Liz and Christine kicking ass in their beautiful kits.  And I was beyond inspired as Coeur Pro Jess Smith raced past me on the hunt for her podium spot...seeing her fight definitely kept my head in the game!  I could feel my vastus medialis (thank you Google) riding the razor edge of cramping, but with the help of my Base Salt vial, I managed to fend it off for the remainder of the run.  I slowed a bit on the hill before the turnaround on the second loop, but managed to pick it up and raced down Sherman Ave for a shiny new PR and a very happy mom.
Overall time: 5:11:00!  10th place 35-39, 8:31 Personal Record

This was my first race in the 35-39 age group, and man, those ladies are FAST!!! I am super proud to have raced into the top 10 with all of the talent at this race, and couldn't be happier with my 8 minute PR!  Huge thanks to Coach Muddy for his genius knowledge of training, my massage therapist Dave for painfully helping my muscles recover after I trash them to pieces, RP diet coach Alex for getting me to racing weight and fueled properly through the day (no GI issues AT ALL!! Huge win!), and Coach Tom for making the swim feel easy after countless jello-arm inducing swim sets!  Lots of love to my #mulletduo training partner, my #sherpaextraordinaire mom, and the hubs for letting my chase my best week after week.
Finishers chute with Liz
Also my Goldilocks search for shoes has come to an end, thank goodness!  My Nike Pegasus 34’s were a dream – just cushy enough, but solid arch support and room for my toesies!  No blisters, and I didn’t even think about my feet at all during the run.  #Winning
New colorway to match my race kit for the full!
Celebrated with some giant slices of pizza, a giant salad, a beer, and a cookie for lunch…and capped off the day with a ginormous banana split for dinner. #willraceforfood - like, all of it!
Color changing spoons #FTW
Mom and I  wandered around the town, stopped in the awesome toy shops (and found our house puzzle for August, #icecream, duh), and walked along the dock at the marina along the lake.  CDA is a great town and I can’t wait to play on the water after race day when we come back.
Lake CDA showing off

5 more weeks…but who’s counting!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Eugene Marathon 2017 - Shipping Off to BOSTON!!

Well, since it is race week once again (IMCDA703), I figured I should probably update the blog with my last race!!!
I ran my last marathon back in 2013, at the California International Marathon in Sacramento.  At that race, I set a 42 minute PR and was within 7 minutes of a Boston Qualifying time.  While I wasn’t attempting to qualify at that race, it definitely lit a fire, and I knew that a BQ time was my next marathon goal.  The next few years were filled with just triathlons, but I was itching for a trip to Boston.  I looked at a few potential marathons, but when I discovered the Eugene Marathon, I knew this was my race.  “Tracktown”, the birthplace of Nike, the stomping grounds for Pre, and a finish on Hayward Field where Olympians are made, everything about the town of Eugene spoke to me.  I was inspired.
The Mothership
Race day was Sunday, so Mom and I arrived 2 days early in order to sneak in a trip to the Nike Campus and Employee Store (thanks Sara!).  The campus is ALWAYS inspiring, but was even more so with the anticipation of race day.  We made a trip through the Coos Bay Gallery and soaked up Prefontaine’s energy, then bought all of the things at the Employee Store.  
I showed restraint - I promise!

We made it down to Eugene in time for packet pick up, then the Twilight Meet on Hayward Field.  It was incredibly cool to watch some of the best in the world compete on the very track I would be running on two days later.  Just some more inspiration in the bank. (Ok – you might need to start a drinking game for the number of times I have/will write some version of the word inspired in this blog post…sorry not sorry – that was definitely the word of the weekend and there is no other way to describe how I felt from the moment I got off the plane.)

Twilight Meet - Hayward Field
Saturday was a relaxed day.  Coach had an easy 30 minute shake out run on the schedule, so I decided to run the 5k with my mom :)  LOVE running with this lady (who kicked butt and placed 2nd in her age group!).  The 5k also ended on Hayward Field…not gonna lie, I started to get choked up as I entered the field, smelled the track, and ran towards the finish line.  I felt SOOOO ready to race the next day.  Later, we drove the course, scoped out my mom’s cheering spots (miles 9 and 21), and relaxed at our awesome Air B&B.  Dinner was Thai food - my pre-race staple.  I have been eating Basil Chicken and Rice for years now, and it has never let me down.
Yay Mom!
I had talked to coach earlier in the week about my race plan.  My BQ time was 3:40 - for the past few years, runners had to have a time of about 2:30 under in order to guarantee a spot. But my real goal was 3:30 – a 12 minute PR…gulp!  Since the marathon didn’t have a 3:30 pace group, coach told me to stick with 3:35 pacer for first 10 miles.  Don’t even look at your watch.  Then, at mile 10, I could start ramping it up, aiming for a negative split.  This sounded totally doable – I was ready.
Tour of Eugene
The course starts on the University of Oregon campus, just outside of Hayward field, and is basically a T shape.  First you run south for an out and back (about 9 miles), then you run east through some peaceful neighborhoods for an out and back to Autzen stadium and Alton Baker Park, then you run another out and back along the Willamette River to Hayward Field.  The weather was beautiful and sunny, 57* at the start, 70* at the finish - just perfect.

Race Day
On race morning, I was up around 5, had my egg whites, banana, bagel, PB and honey, prepped my handheld water bottle with protein/dextrose, my Chocolate Coconut Roctane Gus, and my Base Salt, and was out the door by 6.  When we were up in Eugene last September for the Colorado/Oregon football game, we found a secret parking lot right next to campus with no parking restrictions for the weekend…it was a life saver and perfect for race day.  We hung out in the car until about 6:30 before walking over to the starting line.  It was quite chilly before the race, but I learned the trick of saving foil blankets that you get post race to use pre-race!  Then you can just trash it before the start and don’t have to worry about discarding extra clothes!
Ready to Go! #stylishspeed
With about 15 minutes before the race, I ate a gu, drank my Beachbody energize and hit the port-a-potty.  There were so many port-a-potties that there were no lines…best organized race around!
With a slight delay, the gun went off at 7:05am.  I found the 3:35 pacer with his awesome balloon stick, and situated myself right on his shoulder.  And off we went!

Miles 1-9 8:10, 8:00, 8:12, 8:09, 8:02, 8:08, 8:05, 8:13, 8:05
Stuck right to plan.  Weather was perfect, pacer was right on point, a few seconds of variation between the miles, but effort felt the same.  The only major “hills” of the race are at mile 3 and mile 8.  After countless miles running up the hills of Quicksilver Regional Park, they felt like nothing! I was happy as a clam, just cruising along.  This was the first race that I had planned out a playlist for, and my music synced right up to how I was feeling…so freaking happy! At mile 9, the course runs by the start/finish outside of Hayward field.  This was the first stop that mom planned to be.  As I was approaching, I noticed spectators lining both sides of the street and I started stressing a bit – we didn’t specify which side of the street she would be on and I REALLY didn’t want to miss her.  Luckily I spotted her on the side that I was running on.  She was looking at her phone, checking the tracker for me and didn’t notice me at first, but I started yelling and running right at her and the excitement on her face was a gigantic boost!  I was completely on pace and feeling great. 
Kinda looks like I was photo-shopped...
 Miles 10-16 8:03, 8:00, 8:08, 7:58, 7:56, 7:51, 7:49
After seeing my mom, my next focus was on getting to Autzen Stadium, home of Oregon football at mile 16.  This course was really easy to break down into 3 manageable chunks, so all I did after reaching the river was count down the miles to the stadium.  I’m really glad we had driven this section of the course the day before, because I wasn’t paying ANY attention during the race!  My playlist was exactly on point, and I was in the zone.  I thought I had broken away from the pace group after mile 10, but there was a group of about 5 or 6 runners who were sneaking into my peripheral vision around mile 12, and I realized that I needed to drop the pace, so I just started repeating my mantra of #headdowndowork and chugged along to the stadium

Miles 17-21 7:48, 7:52, 7:58, 8:12, 8:07
Hi Mom!!!! Only 5 miles left!
After the last hill  of a freeway overpass, I hit the stadium and set my next goal – seeing my mom at mile 21!  After the stadium, the course joins the bike trail along the Willamette River.  It’s shady, mostly flat, and super pretty…BUT it’s a concrete sidewalk path :/  Since I had done most of my long runs on the trails, I hadn’t worn my race shoes for more than a 90 minute run.  Well, my feet could tell.  They could feel every pebble and seam on the path…grr.  I didn’t end up with any blisters, but I was definitely on a Cinderella search for long run shoes after the race.  So my new mantra became - “5 miles to mom” “less than 5 miles to mom” “4.5 miles to mom” until I saw her screaming and smiling face as I was coming off the bridge.  I literally repeated each phrase to the cadence of my footsteps for those next 5 miles.

Miles 22-25 7:57, 8:06, 8:07, 7:58
Mentally, these were the toughest miles of the day.  It was getting hot, my calves were on the brink of cramping, and I just wanted to be done.  My pace slipped a little bit, but I knew that I was so close!  Then, at mile 25, Shipping Off to Boston by The Dropkick Murphy’s came blasting through my headphones, and kicked my butt into gear!  I knew at that point that I would reach my goal of safely qualifying for Boston. But I wasn’t going to let my goal of running 3:30 slip through my fingers without a fight!  Plus 3 of the women that I thought I had dropped came running by out of nowhere, and I wasn’t going to let them go!

Mile 26.2 (.4) 7:41, 3:04
No Mercy - it is a race, you know!
Unfortunately, I still haven’t figured out how to run the tangents, and with all of the weaving through other runners that happens in a big race, my Garmin had been beeping the mile splits a bit before each mile marker on the course, so I knew that I was going to run a bit over 26.2 miles…it ended up being an extra .2. (According to my Garmin, my pace was 8:01 - which would have been 3:30.11 - now I have my next marathon goal set!!)  But I gave that last mile and change everything I had left, even running a girl down in the finisher’s chute.  I was going to squeeze every last second out of myself.  As we hit the entrance to Hayward field, my mind flew back to my 400 meter days in high school, and I threw down one hell of a finishing kick.  Even though I didn’t hit my secret 3:30 goal, I was absolutely ecstatic about my day.
Negative Splits - hey oh!
Overall Time: 3:31.47 – 8min30sec PR and I’m going to Boston!
The hat and jacket have been sitting in my closet, waiting for the day I qualified!
As I wound my way through the medals, water, food, I saw my mom at the end of the runner area crying and cheering – honestly it makes me tear up even now!  I couldn’t ask for a better cheerleader and I am so so so lucky to have her by my side!  
Poured all kinds of #heartandcourage out on the course!
We feasted on pancakes (which I am now addicted to and are my pre-ride fuel every Saturday), then walked back to the car – granny style.  Back at the Air B&B, our host had put a bag of ice in the freezer for my ice bath – she absolutely rocked and the place was a gem – so I got my recovery started before we ate some more and drank some beer.  We ended the day with a late night ice cream run at Prince Pucklers…soooo good.
Monday we had a late flight and managed to squeeze in one more bucket list item – a trip to Multnomah Falls.  I’ve made 3 trips up to Oregon in the past 2 years and finally was able to make it here.  We took a nice and easy recovery stroll to the top of the falls, then continued our recovery feasting on a delicious pizza at Dove Vivi before heading back to normal life.
If you stuck with this report to the end, God bless you – it was a beast!  But this was one of the best weekends and I couldn’t be more proud, so it’s definitely something I want to remember.  Huge thank you to Coach Muddy for guiding me every step to this endurance sport journey, Dave Ledesma for massaging my tired muscles to get them race ready, Alex Harrison at RP for getting my diet on point to race my best, the whole Coeur Sports crew for the most comfortable gear and oodles of inspiration, my #tripletsforlyfe, my husband who supports and understands my crazy addiction, and my mom for being the best Sherpa and race travel buddy around.
I will definitely be back to this race - absolutely in love!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

IMAZ 2015 Race Report...Better late than never!

Wow…so It’s been a whole year since I raced IMAZ.  How on earth did that happen?? I honestly meant to write this up right after the race, but 2 days after the race, my immune system shut down and I was soooo sick.  I was out of commission the whole week after the race…then, well, life happened.   So in honor of my #tripletforlyfe Jenesse racing her first Ironman this weekend, I figured I’d finally put my race on paper!

I was lucky enough to take 2 whole weeks off for iMAZ, one week before and one after.  The whole fam (husband and 2 fur babies) road tripped it to Arizona, arriving on Wednesday after a pit stop at my dad’s house in SoCal for the night.  We rented a house on VRBO about 10 min. from the expo.  The house was perfect…close enough that it was easy to get to transition/check in/etc., but far enough away from the hubbub.  Hubby and I had a few days at the house to ourselves before my WHOLE FAMILY came into town!  My dad, brother (his birthday was on race day and I am super grateful he spent it in the pouring rain cheering me on) and nephew stayed with us, and my mom, step-dad, aunt, mom’s cousin and his wife had a condo practically across the street.  I used those first few days to preview the bike and run courses on my bike, check in at the expo, and generally stay off my feet.  In order to keep my mind off the monumental task ahead of me, I rekindled my love of jigsaw puzzles, which kept me super busy even after the race!

Team Coeur 2016.  LOVED seeing all these ladies out on the course!
On Friday, I met up with all of my Coeur Sports teammates who were racing– it was awesome to meet so many of them in real life and the support from these ladies was just amazing.  Aside from the normal pre-race tasks, the fam toured the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Scottsdale with the fam.  It was beautiful, interesting, and not even remotely triathlon related :) Then I left the family to deal with lunch plans and got a much needed massage. 

Leading up to the race, I am actually incredibly impressed with how relaxed I was.  I had complete trust in Coach Muddy and knew that I would finish the day, no matter what.  My training was solid, and I felt super strong.  My mom, on the other hand, was a hot mess!  She was sooooo nervous for me…I was the one that had to reassure her!  My mantra for the day was “first I’m going to swim, then I’m going to ride, then I’m going to run!”  That’s it. No overthinking it.  I definitely had some goal times in mind, but I knew that this was only my first Ironman and it was all about learning the distance. 

The day before the race, I got everything sorted into the necessary bags with literally everything labeled with exactly when/where I needed it.  I think I was most afraid of forgetting something!  I’d rather be over prepared than under prepared, but at the same time, didn’t want to overload my transition / special needs bags with the kitchen sink!  I’m happy to say I think I struck the perfect balance!  After bike check in, I spent some time in my recovery boots, watched the Kona broadcast for inspiration, and had my traditional pre-race dinner of Thai Basil Chicken with lots of white rice.  Then it was off to bed for a fitful night of sleep.  Even though I felt calm and relaxed about the race, the excited energy definitely kept me up much later than it should have!

Ready to go!  #muddylove
The Swim 1:13 (1:53/m, 16th AG)
UGH!!! The swim was AWFUL!!! This was definitely the most aggressive / full contact swim I had ever been in!  This year was the first year of a rolling start, and you couldn’t get in the water beforehand.  I had swum 1:10 at the Vineman Aquabike race, and I felt like my swimming had been going well leading into the race.  I thought I had a 1:08 swim in me, so I lined up right before the 1:10 wave.  Well…the swim definitely didn’t go as planned!  First off, the water was freezing!  It definitely took my breath away and I ended up taking a few side strokes/doggie paddles to get used to the cold.  Once my head and face got used to the temperature, the water was bearable, but those first few minutes were quite the shocker.

The calm before the storm.
After that, I spent the next 2.4 miles basically in a washing machine.  Even though I had never raced an Ironman before, the Lake Tahoe 70.3 swim was on the same course at the same time as the full, so I thought I knew what to expect.  Wrong.  I was kicked, swum over, swum into, everything you can imagine.  I never really felt comfortable and didn’t keep a steady stroke for more than a few pulls before popping up to check my surroundings.  I never had a panic attack, it just didn’t feel comfortable and all of the jostling made me much more tired than I expected.
When I finally made it to shore, I realized that my watch had paused during the swim and I had no idea what my time was!  With the helpful wetsuit strippers, I was out and on my way to T1 super fast, and used that time to reset my watch.  Luckily it was back in action for the bike leg.

Gear: Coeur Team Kit, Roka Maverick Pro Wetsuit, Roka X1 goggles in Light Amber, Garmin Forerunner 920XT

T1 4:33
I was in such a hurry to get on my bike that I completely ran past my transition bag!  At IMAZ, they have a bunch of chairs set up right outside of the changing tents.  I wasn’t doing a full change in T1, so I just grabbed a chair, pulled on my Castelli aero top (already loaded with my extra nutrition) and cycling shoes, threw on my helmet, and ran off to meet up with PennytheP3.

The Bike 5:35.40 (20.02 mph, 5th AG)
Oh what a day Penny and I had!!! Now the weather the day before the race was perfect – sunny, light breeze, in the 70s…on race day, mother nature decided to throw a wrench in the day and unleashed quite the downpour that got worse and worse throughout the day.  But I was LOVING it!!!!  

Thumbs up for Coach!

Honestly, I cannot even explain how much fun I had out on that bike course.  I was quite the fan of the three loop course – each loop was about the equivalent of Coach Muddy’s Wednesday night rides, so it was a really manageable way to breakdown the course.  I was lucky to be out of the water towards the front(ish) of the race and didn’t run into any congestion that I heard was common on the course.  I mainly rode by myself – there were a few guys that I leapfrogged with, and I passed apparently 11 girls in my age group towards the beginning of the ride, but was pretty much in my own little world. 

I always prefer cold weather to hot, and luckily adapted to the cold weather on the bike.  I saw lots of people pulled off to the side of the road, huddling in cars at aid stations, wrapped in the foil blankets…anything to warm up.  I was just super grateful that I wasn’t having those issues.
Since the course is 3 loops, you get to turnaround near the transition area 2x.  There are tons of spectators in this area, and that was where my whole cheer crew was hanging out.  They were super easy to spot because my mom made the greatest hot pink GoGo Gomez Support Crew shirts. 

Benny is quite apprehensive about the crazy lady (my mom!) with the cowbell!
It was an amazing boost to see and hear them all cheering me on!  And they were all HUGE troopers because it was a gigantic downpour during the whole bike portion of the race and they stuck it out on the sidewalks with no coverage, ringing cowbells and cheering everyone along.  They just rock!  And our third #tripletforlyfe Eileen completely surprised me out on the course!!! As I came back to transition at the end of the second loop, I yelled out “oh my God!!!!” I just couldn’t believe that Eileen had made it!  It was a complete surprise and made me feel pretty special. 

So surprised that Eileen made it!  #tripletforlyfe
Coach Muddy was also along that part of the course, asked how I was doing, and I couldn’t do much more than smile! The desert is not my favorite landscape to look at, but with the storm clouds on the horizon and the cacti popping up, I really made sure to appreciate the beauty that we were racing in.  I rode steady for the entire 5 hours and 35 minutes.  I knew I had passed a bunch of ladies right out of the gate, but I had no idea where I was in the field, but I didn’t really care.  Honestly, I had an absolute blast on the course.  I am quite aware that it is definitely not normal to want to keep riding at the end of a 112 mile ride!  All those climbs up and over the Santa Cruz Mountains definitely paid off because Arizona was pancake flat!

And the founder of Coeur Sports, Kebby, was also out and about along the bike course!  You know you are part of an AMAZING team when the actual owner is out at the races supporting her girls!

Gear: Coeur Team Kit, Castelli Aero top, Louis Garneau triathlon shoes, pink rudy aero helmet, Cervelo P3,Smith Pivlock Asana Sunglasses
Nutrition: Salty Balls, Cheese and Cracker packets, base rocket fuel – fueled like a champ.  And was super lucky my water bottles unfroze by the time I needed them at special needs!

T2: 2:45

Even though I wanted to keep riding, when I pulled into T2 with my brother and husband running along the chute so excited…again, I was nothing but smiles.  Since I was in the change tent pretty early, I had at least 3 amazing volunteers helping me out.  The got me changed and ready to go in no time.  I was excited to get out on the run course! 

The Run 4:46.09 (10:55/mi, 11th AG)

The run started out well…I exited T2 with a smile, and my legs felt surprisingly good.  It felt much colder than it did on the bike, but not too cold that I was uncomfortable.  I saw Coach at about mile 2…told him I was feeling good but chilly, so he wanted me to start drinking chicken broth when they put it out at the aid stations to help myself warm up.  Through the first lap, I felt pretty good!  I was drinking my Base rocket fuel, eating my Gu, and just cruising along.

Around mile 10 or so they started putting out the chicken broth, and I followed Coach’s instructions at the next 2 aid stations…BIG MISTAKE!  My Base rocket fuel was supplemented with Base Salt, which was a fantastic concoction for me during my training and at IMLT 70.3…but all of that was in the heat.  Since I was so cold, and not sweating out the same amount, my sodium levels were apparently very different than they were during training.  Adding the chicken broth meant that my body couldn’t process all the sodium and caused my stomach to hate me L.  Starting around mile 13, there is a VERY obvious drop in my mile splits.  I kept shuffling forward and at each aid station, I would try to take in some pretzels, bananas, water…anything but my rocket fuel or Gu.  Nothing seemed to help.  I passed my mom and aunt around mile 19, then Jenesse and Eileen around mile 20. 

Later they told me that they were super worried because I just looked like death! Finally I reached the last turnaround on the far side of the lake, around mile 21, and decided that I would have to make a pit stop in the porta-pottie.  And thank GOD!  I threw up every bit of liquid in my stomach.  So gross!  But as soon as I exited, I felt like a totally different person!  

My stomach settled itself down and my body could finally do what it wanted!  Even after all of that, my legs felt “fine”!  (Well, as fine as they can at mile 135 of the day).  I was bummed that my pace had slowed so much solely due to my stomach, but took comfort that my body was strong enough to still feel good at this point of the day.  At mile 22ish, I saw Jenesse, Eileen and my husband (for the first time on the run because he had the map upside down all day!!).  They were shocked at my miraculous recovery and to this day laugh at what I said – “I puked everything up and now I feel great!”  
Lifesaver! Crossing the finish line with Jeana #heartandcourage
So happy to cross that line!
At this point, it was dark, chilly, and I was tired!  Those last few miles felt oh so far, until I spotted another Coeur kit just ahead of me about a mile from the finish.  I was so relieved to find Jeana and she honestly pulled me through that last mile.  We ran in silence, side by side through that finish arch then collapsed into the best hug of the day!  My family was gathered at the finish and I was so glad to see them all.  Unfortunately, I spent the next 20-30 minutes getting rid of all the bile in my stomach near (but not in) the med tent before finally celebrating with my amazing support crew. 
Best Support Crew Around!  (Missing: Auntie Nan, Geoff and Ethan)
Overall Time: 11:42.15, 11th AG
It was a very weird feeling after the race…I was super proud of completing the race, but since I never doubted that I would finish I didn’t really know how to process being done!  I knew that I had a lot left in me and was definitely frustrated that my stomach slowed my marathon down so much.  But that left me wanting more.  I knew that an Ironman wasn’t just a check mark on the bucket list, and I couldn’t wait to sign up for another one.  

Post-Race Breakfast with the Coeur ladies at Snooze!
After the race, my immune system decided that it was tired of working and I was laid up with an AWFUL cold/flu for about a week, which was a major bummer since I didn’t get to take advantage of eating all the thing. L  After I recovered, I took advantage of the off season, re-evaluated my 2016 plan and decided to take a year to finally do Crossfit and race some 70.3’s. A year later, my fire has been renewed and I am all lined up for Ironman Coeur D’Alene on August 27, 2017!

Good luck to everyone racing IMAZ this weekend – I will be all along the race course cheering my heart out!