Monday, July 27, 2009

Chisago Lakes 1/2 Ironman Race Report

Whoo hoo - so glad I decided to try a 1/2 Ironman - I had a blast out there..... well perhaps until mile 10 of the run. This was the third race in the four straight weeks of racing and I felt great coming into it. I had gotten over my cold and was excited to try my hand at this distance. The weather could not had been better and there was going to be some great competition to race out there.

The swim went well, except that I lost my timing chip in the water. I felt it get more and more loose and then it finally came off. I knew there was no way I was going to find it so I kept on swimming. I came out of the water and yelled at Derek that I lost my chip and looked for a volunteer on my way to my bike. I told a volunteer what had happened and he said he would have a chip waiting for me when I got off of the bike.

With this being my first 1/2 Ironman I knew I needed to get my nutrition right and to push the bike pace, but not like I do on an Olympic race. I didn't think I was going out hard enough at first and started to pick up the pace at about mile 5. I took about 4 gels on the bike and consumed all of the liquids I could. It was hard to focus out there for so long so I kept picturing the Tour de France guys and how hard they have to focus!

Coming off of the bike I was in fourth place and knew that the girls ahead of me were good runners. My coach told me to pace myself on the run because I have a tendency to go out too fast and I wanted to build the pace. When I reached mile 1 I knew I was going too fast so I backed down and then saw at mile 3 I was at about 20 minutes into the run. I knew I needed to slow down to be able to last ten more miles. At mile 5 I decided to go for it, so I picked up the pace and started running with a guy who called himself "Crash".

Here is a picture of "Crash" and I coming out of T2 together

We were really cruising and it felt good. I was hoping to keep that pace up until the end but at about mile 10 I felt my legs get pretty tired and heavy. I knew if I kept my feet going I would get there. I finally saw Derek, my sister, my friend Becky and Owen at the end and it was so nice to see them and hear them cheering for me - I needed it! I thought about my run after the race and it was clear that I should had taken more nutrition. I only took one gel and some sport beans so for the next half - definitely more gel!!

I ended up getting third place overall and I'm very happy with the result. Next weekend is Big Creek in Iowa and it is the Midwest Region Age Group Championships. I did this race last year and liked the course and it is really close to my in-laws house so we won't have to wake up at 3:45am to get there!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heart of the Lakes Race Report

I didn’t have the best week leading up to this race. I started getting a really nasty sore throat on Monday followed by a cold, cough and runny nose by Wednesday. I tried to double up on Vitamin C, and rest, but by Saturday I still was feeling pretty run down. I really wanted to do well at this race because it was the Minnesota State Championships and I’d also have a good number of family members watching and racing. The weather leading up to this race wasn’t the best either – I didn’t mind though because it helped in making the race wetsuit legal (the cut-off for wetsuits is 72 degrees). I had a friend from work who has a cabin near the swim start. He called me Saturday afternoon and let me know the water was a balmy 68 degrees – I couldn’t have been happier! There was no way that the water was going to warm up four degrees when we were standing around in sweatshirts and coats on Saturday!

Sunday morning came early as we got out the door at 4:30am and I was feeling pretty good, considering my cold. The weather was a little on the chilly side at the start of the race, but it turned out to be a gorgeous day in the low 70’s by the end of the race. There were some amazing athletes in the Elite wave (men and women) and some were there to break some course records. The swim was a little rough with lots of people swimming on top of each other and fighting to gain position, but I was happy to come out of the water in 5th position. The bike course was very fast and a lot of fun. I felt great and ended up riding a 24 mph average and into 2nd position going out on the run. I knew that with having the cold this week something would suffer and it was my run. I was hoping to do a 6:15-6:20 pace but ended up doing 6:28’s. I also was bothered by something on my run and discovered after the race that I stubbed my middle toe pretty badly coming into T1. At first I thought it was broken, but I think it’s just a bad bruise. In all, I was happy with the overall 2nd place finish to the amazing Cathy Yndestad. Cathy broke the course record by almost 40 seconds!

Derek also had a solid race and probably his best performance yet. Derek’s Dad, brother, sister, and brother-in-law also turned in great performances and are truly hooked on triathlon. Here is a picture of all of us afterwards.

Next weekend I will be doing my first ½ Ironman – I am looking forward to this race a lot. I have been emailing Coach Dan everyday thinking of new questions, since I have no idea what to expect. It is in Chisago City and I’ve heard there is amazing Swedish ice cream to eat afterwards – yum!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lifetime Fitness Race Report

This weekend was the first of four straight weeks of racing and it couldn’t have started out any better. This was my first time racing the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon which takes on the south side of Minneapolis, only 15 minutes from my house. The competition at this race was definitely stacked, as two of the top Elite Amateurs were racing, as well as plenty of competition from out of state and Minnesota.
The race started early, but the 4:00AM wake up call was a lot better than the 3:00AM wake up for Hy-Vee a couple of weeks ago. The pros started first with the elite amateurs following shortly after. I wish I could have watched some of the pro's race but I did get to hang out with them after the race - details coming....

I have been working on sighting better in the open water so when I came out of the water at 24 minutes, I was really happy with that. The bike course was very technical with lots of turns and bumpy roads, so I wish I would have had a better bike split, but that will come with more experience and time in the saddle. I was happy with the run because I came off the bike in 8th position and caught most of the pack of women in the first 3 miles. The run course is two loops and I hoped on the 2nd loop I'd be able to catch a few more girls. I thought I was running faster the second loop, but the 3rd place finisher must have kicked it into gear, because I couldn't see her and she finished about a minute ahead of me. It would have been nice to get that 3rd position, but I was very happy with how my race went. I was also happy to hear as I was making my way to the finish line that Cathy Yndestad claimed first for our division. She is a top elite in the nation and was going up against other top athletes and this was a great race for her to win.

Now for the part of hanging out with the top professional triathletes. After I crossed the finish line I was approached by a volunteer informing me that I was the fourteenth woman to cross the finish line overall (pros included) and that I was chosen to be randomly drug tested. I was like sure – no problem. She said to go ahead and do what I needed to do, she would shadow me and when I was ready we would go to the church where they were doing the testing. I had no idea what to expect and thought this would take a couple of minutes, but wanted to let Derek know what I was doing so I gave him and Owen a quick hug and told him I would be right back. When I walked into the church basement, Andy Potts, Matt Reed, Greg Bennett, Laura Dibens, Becky Lavelle, and Sarah Haskins were all in there! It was pretty neat to be in the same room with them for a while and listen to them talk about their race – especially the men since it was so close at the end. The testing went a little longer than expected – about a hour and a half longer! First, I was very dehydrated and cold (I had my racing suit on and was sweaty and still wet). We're starting to potty train Owen and finally I realized that it's really hard to go to the bathroom when someone is staring at you. I do understand the need to do this type of testing and the company that did the testing was very polite and professional – let’s just hope that I am not that lucky number next time!