Monday, April 14, 2008

IM AZ Race Report

shortly after i finished the race, i received an email from my coach telling me to take a few days to recover and reflect before analyzing my race. well, it's been a day and with nothing on the plate as far as training, and legs that hurt sooooo bad i figured i could utilize this time to write a report and give my initial thoughts about race day.

the days leading up to the race were pretty uneventful in tempe. athlete dinner, bike and transition bag check in, and then a full day to sit and wait to race. normally, in the day before an IM, i've been somewhat nervous and tend to eat continuously. well, on this saturday all ryan and i did was sit around, watch tv and eat. the nervousness however, was not there as it had been in the past. not because i wasn't worried about what the day would bring but i think i was
'at peace' with what ever could be thrown at me and the possible result. i was confident that i would give it my best however it mannifested itself on that particular day.

we went to bed around 11 and i slept wonderfully.

alarm went off at 4, we had breakfast and were out the door by 445. transition opened at 5 and i like having lots of time, in case something goes wrong.

after stocking my bike and pumping the tires i got to go chill at the edge of trasition for a bit to try and relax... this is when i start to get nervous. we are really doing this! by the end of the day, we'll be ironman! crazy.
i plop myself down next to none other than: Michellie Jones! i was hoping some of her speed would diffuse into my body..... funny, she looked pretty nervous too. guess she is human after all!

the swim was in tempe town lake. rumor has it that phoenix's sewage runs into this river.... by the smell and the colour, i can believe it. probably the equivalent to London's Thames -- and i wouldn't swim in there is my life depended on it. none the less, off we all go. in order to get to the start, you had to jump off a pier and swim about 100 m and man the water was cold!!

we picked our spots and treaded water, waiting for the gun (deep water start). this freaks me out a little bit..... sooo many people in such a small area and everyone slowly creeps forward, giving you less and less room the longer you wait. this part is definately the most stressful.

the gun goes off and i start fast to try and stay ahead of the men behind me who wouldn't give a second thought about running me over. i end up right on the buoy line -- not good. there's people everywhere. i'm getting pushed, pulled, grabbed and my goggles get knocked half off.
at this point, i was in a panic. i put my head up and looked for open water - i needed to get out of here. no open spaces, and all around me were blue caps (men). at this point, i felt like i was playing defense instead of swimming.
what made it worse was the fact that the water was so dirty, you couldn't see the feet infront of you, so you just swam right into them or over them!!

i have never been in such a rough swim.

this went on until just before the turn around, when i went far enough to the outside to have some open water.
the way back was much better. i felt like i was actually able to swim and find a rhythm.
i get to the stairs and see my time -- over an hour. poop. not happy, but alive. i will later find out that the swim was "slow this year", and that makes me feel a little better.

i get through transition and onto my bike. first thing i notice is the wind... feels a lot stronger than the forecasted 8 mile/hr. what can you do.
i look down to check my speed and realize that somewhere in trasition, my odometer fell off, nice. for a split second i get bummed out. what a start. but i quickly turn it around. no point throwing a pitty party. i've always wanted to try and race by feel -- here it goes.
after feeling quite heavy in the legs for the first 8 km, i decide that i should really just spin my way to the turn around and not burn too much energy heading into the wind (they were actually 17 mph winds with 23 + gusts). the first lap felt pretty conservative and i was hoping to just consistently hit the same lap time (i think it was somewhere aroun 1:47 for 60km).

the wind picked up slightly for the next lap, and the sun was definately heating things up.

i'm not sure about my second lap time, but i don't think it was too far off the mark. i was starting to feel warmed up and like i was settling in a groove.
by the 3rd lap the course was getting pretty congested. i ended up getting caught behind a group of slower rider starting their 2nd lap and got a drafting call. i actually thought they were calling the slower riders for blocking, so i just keep riding. he was giving them a drafting call too, but i also got one for being in the mix... first time for me and i was bummed!! i thought, "oh well, i could use the chance to pee - and not in my pants, as well as stretch and get in some fluids, etc." Actually, i knew the ref in the tent so the four minutes went by pretty fast and ended up not affecting my placing so no biggy. i finished the bike just over 5:40 with my legs feeling fresh. i'll take it.

while i wouldn't say this was a flat course, it was definately much flatter than the two other IMs i've done. the biggest difference in my opinion was that i never hit LT..... i never felt the lactic acid build up you get from steep hills or hammering real hard. you can only go into that kind of oxygen dept so many times before you don't recover and i didn't hit it once on this ride....

On to the run. it's now over 90 degrees and the run course has very few shaded areas (you run under a couple of bridges -- that's it). i was more than a little worried about how my body would respond. i was reminded of my first (and only) experience at the Boston Mary. 2004, high 80's and i crashed and burned, finish time 3:46. i wanted to do better than that today. could get interesting but i knew i was ready.

i wanted to take it out easy, so i really held back the first mile... or so i thought. time check 7:07. WHAT???? why do i always do that? second mile: 7:20..... okay, so from there, i slowed down to what i felt was a shuffle, but the feed back i was getting from the spectators told me i was holding a reasonable pace. for the next 19 miles i pretty much hovered between 7:45's and 8:20's, depending on elevation changes. around 20 miles i got some pretty intense cramping and decided it was imperative to stop at the next potty. i didn't think the suit would look too hot with brown stains on the rear. i felt much better after the stop and was ready to finish it off. through the next couple of water stops, i took a couple of walking steps to get fluids down (by this time i was chugging coke - probably not the best plan), drinking water, filling my hat and bathing suit with ice and holding as many sponges as i can to wipe down my body. i had no idea where i was in my AG, except that i knew Rachel must have been infront. i was pretty confident that i was in the top 3, so i just made sure i maintained my pace to the finish, nothing fancy.

for once, i crossed the line feeling pretty good. marathon time of 3:41 something. i ended up with 10:28:48, 15th female, 2nd in AG and 2nd amateur female (behind the world champ. Rachel Ross). of course, i took the kona spot and am looking forward to the rematch!!!

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