Race Report: Ironman Lake Placid 2013! – Part 1(Pre-race morning, SWIM, and T1)

The morning started off with a 3:45 AM wake-up call. Hubz filled up my Infinit/water bottles and made me some delicious scrambled eggs and toast while I got myself dressed and situated. I chatted it up with my fine housemates (all from the Mid-Maryland Triathlon Club, several of whom were eating pop tarts and chocolate milk for breakfast?!) while I ate and just tried to focus on finding my zen place. Before I knew it, it was 4:45 – time to pack up my special needs bags and head to transition!

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Hubz drove me by run special needs but then we started to hit the closures so I walked from there. I stopped by bike special needs to drop my bag before heading to transition. First I stopped by my run bag to deposit my running shoes (which I stupidly forgot to put in for day-before drop off). I think I unpacked and re-packed my bike and run bags at least 5 times each because I was so worried I had forgotten something. Finally I was satisfied and headed over to the rack to prep the bike.

I strapped on my bento box loaded up with nutrition and attached all my water bottles appropriately. Then for the mildly annoying part: borrowing a bike pump. Normally this is no big deal transition before a race, but nerves must have been much higher because it took me a few tries to get someone who didn’t mind waiting for me to pump my tires up with their pump. I actually got to repay the good karma, though, as I borrowed a pump from a woman who needed some assistance hooking on to her (rented) Zipps, so we helped each other out. I sunscreened up and then forced sunscreen upon most everyone around me (yep I’m a true public servant).

Unlike my normal “ACK 5 MINUTES TIL TRANSITION CLOSES!” timing, I had plenty of time to get organized so I even stood in line for the port-a-potties before leaving transition. This turned out to be the right choice because once I got down to the Mirror Lake beach the lines there were totally bananas.  I probably left transition around 5:45 AM and walked the short way to the beach. I was still feeling totally zen so I just took a seat on the beach and observed the chaos for a while. I chatted with a woman who was there sherpa-ing for her husband, while re-braiding my Heidi french braids no less than 5 times – didn’t want the hair flying in my face!

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I chatted with a few other folks while enjoying the somewhat chill pre-race music (Adele…really?!) With about 10 minutes left to go until line-up time, I noticed a woman from Team Z struggling to get into her wetsuit so I lent her a hand. I learned her name was Barbara and we chatted for a while. She had a clever little plan to carry a Gu in her wetsuit sleeve and eat it as she came out of the water and crossed the beach for her second loop…not something I felt was necessary but a neat idea nonetheless.

Before I knew it I heard the cannon alerting the start of the Pros (6:20 AM). And thus race day officially began! Soon thereafter it was time to line up. This year saw the debut of the Swim Start Initiative at Lake Placid. Rather than the traditional mass swim start, we self-seeded by projected swim time and entered the water in a continuous wave. Our individual time started when we crossed the timing mat on the beach, right before entering the water. It was difficult at first to find enough room in the corrals. I was estimating about 1 hour 30 minutes total time which was right about the cut off between two corrals. As I wandered my way into the crowd I passed an awesome set of spectators who were carrying a giant inflatable Alpaca!!! I happen to love these creatures – I often wear a silver alpaca charm as a pendant and I passed this awesome sculpture often on my training rides through Potomac:

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So of COURSE the inflatable alpaca got a hearty high five from me on my way into the swim corrals! That alpaca was destined to make several more appearance throughout the day…a true spectator all-star.

When the cannon went off for the first age groups entry (6:30 AM) I happened to line up with another couple of ladies who were aiming for the same start place so we chatted it up while slowly moving our way forward. One was another first timer and the other was doing her second full IM. It was really nice to just chat with folks as a way to relieve the pre-race jitters. Before we knew it we were up at the front and we were charging into the water!

I have to say that the new swim start was absolutely GLORIOUS for me. For the first time, I didn’t have to fight anyone to get horizontal and start swimming. Granted, the first 300-400 yards were still pretty congested, but since I was primarily swimming with others at my same pace, it honestly wasn’t stressful at all. At first, the crowd was too thick for me to get close enough to sight off Mirror Lake’s bright orange underwater cable, but because other folks were sighting off it, it was easy to stay right on course. Plus, the movement of everyone through the water made it like super-drafting conditions. I was moving quickly and smoothly without too much effort, and it felt awesome.

download (6)I realized after swimming for a bit that I had forgotten to start my Garmin – D’OH! Mega rookie move. So I hit the start and figured about 10 minutes delay for purpose of mental calculation. Shortly thereafter, it seemed like the crowd had thinned out a bit, so I started moving to the right…and pretty soon I could see the cable. Score! Not too much later I had to swing wide to avoid the crowd at the first and second buoy/turns, but once I hit the straightaway on the way back I found the cable again and it was smooth sailing. The first loop honestly flew by and I was constantly amazed at how much FUN I was having. Having fun swimming in open water – unheard of!

After the first loop we ran out of the water, crossed a timing mat on the beach, and then headed back in for round 2. I looked at the clock and did some complicated mental calculations to guesstimate my first loop time, even though I really didn’t know either A) what time I crossed in the water or B) how long I swam before starting my Garmin. Somehow I figured out that I was somewhere around 40-45 minutes…turns out I was right at 41:01 – not too shabby! At the start of the second loop I was able to get a spot right on the cable right away and held pretty close to it for the rest of the swim. Being able to sight off that thing was amazing and it clearly helped me swim much better on course than my normal wibbley wobbley (timey wimey) open water nonsense!

I started to get a bit bored with the swim towards the end of the second loop but was still having a great time. I started kicking a bit more to move some blood down into my legs, and before I knew it I was at the beach again. The second loop of the swim went by in 41:30 for a TOTAL SWIM TIME OF 1:22:31. Pretty dang close to even splits thankyouverymuch! :)

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Feeling great, I booked it up the beach to the wetsuit strippers. Once I was stripped, I started the (long – nearly .5 mile) jog to T1. I realized that it was kind of raining, briefly wondering how long that had been going on, and also worrying about what it would mean for the road conditions, especially in the long descent to Keene….Down towards the lake I passed former my former co-worker Kelly who cheered me on which was awesome. As I got up closer to transition I passed Hubz, purely visible from his bright orange “GO DUTCH” t-shirt, reported that my swim was awesome, and happily high fived him!

I headed into transition, grabbed my bike bag, and headed into the chaos that was the T1 changing tent…holy banana pants was that a crazy thing. I had swam in just my shorts and sports bra, so I quickly put on my top, helmet, and gloves, while the fantastic volunteer prepared my socks and shoes. We were told at registration and athlete briefing that bibs would not be required on the bike (a surprise to me until then) so I didn’t have to worry about that. I briefly chatted with her and we decided I would forego my arm warmers, which I had thrown in the bag because we’d had a couple of crazy mornings. Turned out to be the right move. Once I was socked and shoed up I ran out, yelled my bib number, and another volunteer ran over to me with my bike. By the time I grabbed my bike and headed out of transition it had pretty much stopped raining so I breathed a huge sigh of relief although was still pretty nervous to see the road conditions. So, T1 clocked in at 9:00 minutes on the dot…a little long but not outrageous. Not too much time to worry about it though before running right up to the mount line!

To be continued….

SIX WEEKS TO IMLP … Weekly Workout Plan June 17-23

Ok, so…officially the worst blogger ever. MAH BAD. Let’s move on.

Training is draining lately. No joke. I’m tired, cranky, achy, and hungry…all of the time. This past week has been especially tough.

At the same time, I am BEYOND excited for this upcoming challenge. It’s coming down to the wire and I’m really starting to believe that I can actually do this.

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Last weekend I checked off my hardest workout yet. 106 miles.  Big I was with me for the first 8 or so miles, but then he flatted, and we were both apparently woefully unprepared for such a thing, so I was off on my own!

I rode a pretty hilly route, and made the climb up Sugarloaf mountain my halfway point.

View from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain! (Read: needed some time to seriously catch my breath...)

View from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain! (Read: needed some time to seriously catch my breath…)

I also crossed from VA into MD on White’s Ferry…old school. Luckily I had some horses in trailers to keep me company.

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I can safely say that this ride was the hardest workout of my life. Not only physically, but MENTALLY. I was out on the road by myself for almost 9 hours. Tears came several times. I’m glad Hubz was out of town with the car, because it meant I couldn’t call him and demand that he come pick me up. But finally, I triumphed!

Proving to myself that I could do it was a HUGE boost for me. I covered almost the full mileage that I’ll cover on the Ironman bike, almost entirely without anyone for company but my own thoughts (scary). With fellow athletes, spectators, and the energy on course, I’m hopeful that the race itself won’t seem quite so long and boring…

But I couldn’t wallow too long in my own accomplishment – it was monthly DCDOC dinner night! Now THAT’S what I call recovery. :)

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Love these ladies!

The next morning I was up early to knock out a long-ish run before heading up to Philly on the Amtrak for father’s day BBQ festivities. Then it was time to head back to the Disco, and soon enough it was Monday again…

This week, I must admit, has been rough so far. The weekend was seriously taxing, and my massage on Monday really let some things loose. Monday and Tuesday I felt like I was stumbling through a sleepy, achy, cloudy fog. But after Wednesday morning’s interval bike I started to feel more back to normal, at least for a bit. Truth be told, the first two intervals were pretty miserable, but by the end of the workout my legs felt strong and my head felt again. This morning’s swim and this afternoon’s run were a similar story…it took me 50-60% of the way through the workout to feel like I was even in it.

So we’ll see how tomorrow goes, as now it’s just a couple more days until I race my first ever Aquabike at the inaugural Rev3 Williamsburg this Sunday! I’m actually excited to bike until I (almost) puke! Just following my coach’s instructions, seriously. :)

This week —

Monday: Rest and MASSAGE
Tuesday: AM – 1 hr run; PM – 2000 yard swim
Wednesday: AM – Bike intervals; PM – rest
Thursday: AM – 1800 yard swim; PM – 1 hr run (home from work – multi-tasking win?)
Friday: AM – bike with pre-race intervals; PM – rest
Saturday: pre-race swim (?) and bike workouts
Sunday: AM – Rev3 Williamsburg Half Aquabike followed by 15-30 minute run

Also on the agenda for the weekend – the illustrious T and C are in town! We’ll be geeking out at a Neil Gaiman reading and book signing tomorrow night and spending some QT before Hubz and I head out to Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon. SO JAZZED!

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Weekly Plan: May 20-26, 2013 (10 weeks to IMLP!)

TEN. WEEKS. The final countdown….to IRONMAN!

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I can’t believe there’s only 10 weeks left until the big day. Lots of work to do between now and then! Mostly in the form of developing hardcore saddle sores.

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Last week’s stats…not too shabby.

Total: 14 hours 3 minutes
Swim: 3 hours 6 minutes, 8200 yards
Bike: 8 hours 21 minutes, 111 miles
Run: 2 hours 6 minutes, 12 miles
100% REST days: 1 glorious Sunday! (full of bathroom tile and backyard plant shopping)

I am definitely feeling much more capable after knocking out the race simulation on Saturday, but also all that more aware of how much more I’ve got to get myself in shape (physically AND mentally) to cross the finish line strong. So, time to get to it!

This week is a recovery week, but recovery is now a thing limited to M-Th. Got to be building up those bike miles, bigtime.

Monday: AM – strength; PM – massage (*siiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhh*)
Tuesday: AM – swim counting strokes; PM – short zone 2 run + strides
Wednesday: AM – interval bike at HP with team; PM – rest (and guest co-host/scorekeeper duties at Nellie’s Smart Ass Trivia!)
Thursday: AM – short swim; PM – long-ish run
Friday: AM – long swim; PM – rest
Saturday: 40 mile bike
Sunday: 70 mile bike

Race Simulation Weekend #1 – Complete!

I got a tiny bit of a late start but still made it out the door before 8. I tackled the first 30 miles of my ride on my own, checking out the Sligo Creek Trail for the first time. It was really nice and there was very little traffic, which is always a big plus. I did get lost a couple times but realized early on and was able to get myself situated.

Also, I only got cat called twice in Wheaton, so I think I may have been doing something wrong?

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Eventually I found my way down into Rock Creek to meet up with D and R2 (not to be confused with R2D2) who also decided to join us. We did the standard 50 mile Potomac loop…which is starting to become pretty familiar territory for me. The rain held off until about 10 (40 for me) miles in, but then it kept up pretty much until we got back to the city. I got us lost a teeny tiny bit, but it only added about 3 miles, which actually ended up to be perfect by the time I hit the overall mileage. I must say we were pretty blessed with cool temps and the rain did a lot to keep us even cooler. It’s going to be a different story if/when it ever gets to be summer.

I stayed as faithful as possible to my instructions to stay in Zone 2, especially to keep out of the higher zones on the hills. My average overall heart rate was actually high Zone 1, but that includes the stopping, looking at the map, etc…so I think I did OK on that front.

I followed my nutrition plan pretty well. I ended up downing 5-6 bottles of Infinit (over the course of an almost 6.5 hour ride), plus two stinger waffles, a half a banana, a clif turbo shot, and a packet of cheese/peanut butter crackers I bought at the quick stop (I was really in the mood for something salty!). I took the clif shot with about 10 miles left in the ride, because my legs were feeling a bit heavy. It did the trick because I felt pretty good all the way to pulling into the driveway. All in all I felt pretty darn good for the extent of the ride! I clocked in at exactly 80.01 miles. How’s THAT for route planning?  My average moving pace was 14.5 mph. Slower than I’d like it to be but at least that included slowing down and moving through traffic. Average overall pace was slower, including stops…it is no secret that the bike is where I need to work the most in the coming weeks! Even so, I somehow only ended up hearing one recent dating story from, and a short one at that. What gives?

I dropped my bike at home, tossed back half a serving of Infinit Napalm, grabbed a water bottle, and headed out the door. I turned back about 5 minutes in to grab a clif turbo shot after realizing I had left the house without any gels and I intended to really practice that sort of thing to see how my body would react. Legs were feeling heavy but otherwise I was good to go, until about 3 miles in when I had some stomach ish (*cue dramatic music*). I thought I might be in big trouble, but I powered through, and with just a couple minutes of walking the problems dissipated and I was fine for the rest of the run. With 9 minutes running, 1 minute walking, I still averaged right on at a 10:00/mile. Happy with that. Again, it’ll likely be a different story when it gets hot…

As I was finishing the run I actually thought to myself “I feel like I could really keep going and going….” Glad I didn’t though, because look what was waiting for me when I wandered back inside…

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I called my coach to give her a quick phone report on my successful race simulation. Meanwhile, she was waiting to watch her husband/my other coach pass in the process of CRUSHING Ironman Texas! He finished in 9:37, 2nd AG, and qualified for Kona! SO AWESOME!!!

Also of note – Pro Rachel Joyce (yeah Rachel power!) finished IMTX in 8:49 – 8th overall and ahead of many of the pro men! It’s majorly exciting watching so many amazing women come closer and closer to catching up with the men in this sport!

Back at the ranch it’s recovery time…don’t even pretend you aren’t jealous of my mad style.

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Btw, I’m still waiting for the cicadas to arrive. These cool temps are no doubt delaying their emergence, but I think it may be time to start a cicada watch counter here on the ol’ blog, no? Today’s count: still 0….

Anyone else knocking out big workouts this weekend?

Anyone racing or following race results closely?

Race Simulation Weekend #1: Game Plan!

This weekend is my first big race simulation extravaganza!

Tonight, I swam 3500 – 6 x 500 after a 500 warmup. I was pretty worried that it was going to be super duper boring. I’ve been trying to use these long swims as a bit of meditation time…counting my strokes and getting into a zen zone. Tonight was longest so far and with long sets to boot…luckily I felt a *bit* more zen than “omg this is why people buy those silly pool mp3 players gah!” I am actually really happy with how it turned out. I managed to keep a good and consistent pace all the way through the workout.

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And tomorrow is the BIG day. I’ll head out bright and early for a total of 80 miles on the bike, to be followed by an hour run. I’m going to do the first 30 miles on my own, then meet up with Miss D in Rock Creek to do the 50 mile Potomac loop together. I’ll be doing my best to keep it in Zone 2 for the whole ride, which means I will probably feel like I’m barely moving up some of those hills on River Road towards the end…because I will be barely moving up them. There is some chance of showers but we’ll ride through it unless it’s an absolute deluge, or thunder and lightning. 80 miles will be my longest ride yet, so I’m glad I’ll have a week’s worth of D’s stories about her online dating hijinx to keep me entertained.

Once we finish the loop I’ll ride across town to home, ditch the bike for a visor and water belt, and run for an hour. More precisely, run 9 minutes, then walk 1 minute.  Times 6. Yeehaw. Looking forward to seeing how I feel/hold up on the run. What? Looking forward to the end of a 7 hour workout? Yeah I am…what is wrong with me!?

Of course, the big goal for tomorrow is to make it all the way through the work out without feeling like poop. The key? Nutrition and hydration! I’ll be throwing back one bottle of Infinit per hour (I mean it!) on the bike, supplemented with a ProBar or two, a banana, and a PB&J. Yuuuuuuuummmm. Then I’ll do a gel and water on the run. Then home to a big ol’ bottle of chocolate milk, my couch, and multiple glorious Buffy eps on streaming. 

AtIYLDjCEAI8dzzHey, Buffy marathons are only appropriate after a day of badassery. And also every day.

All the while through my race simulation, I’ll be tracking one of my coaches (Mr.) kicking butt and taking names at IMTX! This (plus like a million hours due to our relative speediness differences) will be my constant mental reminder of what’s really in store for me in 11 weeks…

Any race simulation workout tips?

Anyone else still watch Buffy wayyyy too often?

Three Things Thursday

1. Star Trek Into Darkness. HOLY CRAPOLA is this movie fantastic. I went to a special “sneak peek” last night with my friends M and H. M was able to get us the tickets via awesome Trek fan club-ness. It is no secret that I’ve always been a huge fan of the Trek, since the days of my youth obsessing over Captain Picard.

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I loved the first reboot movie, and have been so excited for the second installment…in no small part due to its featuring none other than the amazing BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! as the identity-to-be-revealed villain. Cumberbatch can act the crap out of most anyone else on screen, whatever screen he’s on, and this was no exception.

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I can’t say too much about the film without spoiling, but I was NOT disappointed! In fact, I was BLOWN AWAY. I will most definitely be seeing it again (and again…and again…) In conclusion. GO SEE STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Run, do not walk, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get yer booty to a theater and see it. That is all.

(Full on review and thoughts to follow later this weekend…maybe….)

2. Night out. Tonight Hubz and I decided to go out for dinner instead of sitting on our butts on the couch and just shoveling food into our mouths as fast as possible. We drove just down the street to Bloomingdale to try out The Red Hen. It was quite good. We had smoked trout crostini and prosciutto crostini, fusillio cacio e pepe, wood grilled hen, and fried artichokes. Also on the recommendation of our server, I tried a glass of orange wine. What? Yeah…apparently it’s a thing. In the processing, the white wine grapes spend some time with the macerated grape skins, giving it the oranger color. I had a pinot grigio version and it was pretty good!

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3. Rita’s. Yes after weeks of threatening we FINALLY made it to Rita’s for some post-dinner treats. We weren’t in the mood for fancy restaurant desserts so we figured it was the perfect opportunity. We *might* have overdone it…slightly.

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Totally worth it.

Anyone else seen Star Trek yet? What did you think?!

 

Weekly Plan: May 13-19 (11 weeks to IMLP)

So last week was kind of a bust, weather-wise and therefore bike-wise. I ended up doing all three rides on the trainer due to rain or the serious threat of it. BLECH. No good. I even pounded out my long run (3.5 hours) on the trainer on Saturday morning because the forecast called for scary thunderstorms. Which of course never materialized, but I sure as heck didn’t want to end up stranded in Potomac with lightning and thunder all around. Annoying. *Grumble infinity*

I did, however, have a fantastic long run on Sunday morning. We were up in PA to celebrate my ma-in-law’s birthday so I got to try out the path in Peace Valley Park. I forgot to grab my Garmin so I ran tech-free for the first time in quite a while. Kind of nice to have a mental break from obsessing over those numbers for once. It was such a beautiful morning – sunny and perfect temperature – and I ran two peaceful 10K loops around the lake for just over 12 miles.

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Weekly Total – 13 hours 52 minutes
Swim – 2 hours 50 minutes, 7400 yards
Bike – 6 hours, ~80 miles
Run – 4 hours, ~23.5 miles
Yoga – 1 hour

This week, and every week from now on, is all about the BIKE BIKE BIKE! Coaches have instructed me that IT’S GO TIME! and updated my master plan with prescribed bike distances for every weekend from here on out. It’ll be double bikes every week with the exception of races (Eagleman and the Aquabike at Rev3 Williamsburg), and race simulation workouts. Woo hoo!

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And on THAT note….this weekend I’ll be knocking out my first of the two big race simulation workouts because I’ll be 10 weeks out from race day! This means a loooooong bike followed by an hour long run right off the bike. It’s gonna be all about nutrition and hydration, friends. I’m even going to draft up a nutrition plan for coach approval! I’m excited to have an excuse to try some new ProBar flavors.

For the rest of the week, I really only have one workout each day (with the exception of Thursday which is telework day so I’m doubling up). Here’s how it looks…

Monday: swim with aids
Tuesday: threshold interval bike + short off the bike run
Wednesday: 50 minute run w/strides
Thursday: swim/pull interval swim + bike w/short intervals
Friday: long race simulation swim
Saturday: big race simulation workout! 80 mile bike + 1 hour run. Ride, run, chug chocolate milk, (do not under any circumstances) repeat.
Sunday: REST

I’ll also be throwing in a couple of short strength workouts for hips/IT band.

Meanwhile, look what Hubz picked up for me at the fancy Wegman’s yesterday morning…

IMAG0455Now y’all know I’m a sucker for fancy chocolate. And see that description – “popping candy exploding in dark chocolate”? This biz has POP ROCKS IN IT. Amazing. Chocolate has evolved and it is delicious.

Were you sidelined by the weather this weekend?

Tried any fancy new chocolates lately?