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Ironman 70.3 Racine 2012

As I sit here thinking about how to start my race report, I started to ask myself, did I set out to do what I wanted to do in Racine?  Well, I guess that depends…

Back up to February, after experiencing hip pain since December, I finally went and got an MRI to confirm what I already suspected, a tear in my labrum.  It is a “minor” tear according to Dr. Nho, who doesn’t recommend surgery at this time.  His recommendations, strengthen the muscles around the area – mainly my glutes and core muscles that were weakened from childbirth and a lot of forward, repetitive motion from running and biking.  So, I was determined to do that, in the process building buns of steal!  Gosh, I remember those VHS tapes on early in the mornings, working out to the corny music!  Got to love the late 80s and early 90s.  Okay, enough of that, so I was focused on strengthening around my hip joint, while slowly building my running back – started with 20 minute runs several days per week and progressed ever so slowly up to my longest run two weeks ago, 1 hour 18 minutes, I think I finally hit 9 miles!  This obviously made me nervous going into Racine, but Dan said, “long runs are overrated” and not to worry.  Because I couldn’t run much, I have been swimming and biking more (if you look at my swim results, it doesn’t look like that).  I am still waiting for that “aha moment” in the pool.  My biking is another story.  Since coming home fromVisionQuest/Trek Travel Solvang Camp, I found a new confidence and some speed in my biking.  I really enjoy the bike training and find myself feeling better and better on my new Speedy Bike, a Trek Speed Concept.  So that brings me to the week of the race.

Before I do a race, I always write down my goals; one obvious one is a time goal.  I wanted to PR, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to since my run hasn’t been great and last years bike split was 2:40, which I thought was pretty good. I decided to go up alone and leave the family behind for this one.  I don’t really think my family enjoys watching as much as I enjoy them being there.  I knew there would be lots of my friends and a huge VisionQuest presence, so I was okay with this.  I booked a hotel in Lake Geneva and told my family to meet me there on Sunday after my race for a mini getaway.  I packed my kids stuff on Friday, then packed my stuff and was ready to go.  After a quick bike and swim Saturday, I left for Racine.  Staying hydrated and adding extra electrolytes in the form of Zico Coconut Water was essential on such a hot weekend.

Went to athlete check-in – was surprised at how fast it went compared to last year and was impressed with the size of the expo, it felt like a full Ironman!  Stopped and talked to Matt at Infinit to make sure Kristy got her Infinit bag and had a great conversation too.  After the expo, went over to bike check and checked my bike and headed to my hotel.

Dinner was fun, we ended up eating at Noodle and Company (I know, not totally clean, but this was okay with me) – I had a nice salad with double chicken made to order for me. 

Went back to the hotel nice and early and got all my stuff ready for my race.  Filled my concentrated bottles with my Infinit Bike and Run Formulas and stuck them in the hotel little freezer – well more like a fridge.

I got myself in bed by 8:30, watched some TV and feel asleep.  I don’t sleep well the night before races; I find myself waking up and watching the clock.  I finally got up at 4:15, made my shake with PhysioCleanse, PhysioMeal and PhysioFiber, 1 fruit squirt and Zico Coconut Water.  I drank this at 4:30 and then off to the race.  Got to transition, set up everything to realize my front wheel was rubbing on my breaks.  Thank God, Trek was in transition to help out, got that taken care of.  Lesson to myself – when renting wheels, make sure I check for this!  Grabbed my stuff and out of transition by 6:30.  I waited around a little while before walking down to the swim start.  Saw lots of clients and friends racing, so this made my wait a little easier.  My wave didn’t go off until 8:11, so I knew I had lots of time.  Headed down to the beach and relaxed for a while.  20 minutes before my wave went off, I  got in the water to warm-up for the swim.  Before I knew it, it was time to get in my wave and I was off!

Lately, I have been having issues with regulating my breathing in open water and racing.  I find myself needing to slow down so I can breath without having a panic attack.  Once again, when I started to swim, this happened.  I found if I went to my old habit of breathing to the left, it was better.  So, I did this the entire 1.2 miles, ugh!  The sun was in my face, oh well.  At first, I was swimming with no contact, but after hitting the second buoy, I felt some fast swimmers behind me – the males 35-39 already caught me.  I just kept swimming and then started passing people, so I felt pretty good.  I thought I was swimming harder, but did find myself swimming all over, despite my sighting.  I also realized I use sighting to give me a little mental break and remember Marcia telling me to sight less, so I can swim faster.  I find when I sight – I break form, so was trying to just use alligator eyes, but with my panic issues, this wasn’t working, so I went back to old habits.  I finally got to the last turn, swimming towards the beach.  It felt like it took me forever to get there.  The water level was low and I hit the sand earlier than I wanted, so I stood and tried to run.  This was difficult and I found it very tiring.  I looked at my watch, 38 minutes of swimming, crap – I was hoping for 36 or better!   I decided to take off my wetsuit in the water myself, because I have had bad experiences with slipping when getting to the wetsuit strippers.  Got the suit off quick and started to run on the soft sand.  I think this was the hardest part of the race for me.  Got to transition exhausted, got my shoes, helmet, glasses, race belt and grabbed my bike.  I know my T1 time sucked, just couldn’t run up the beach fast enough.

Got on my bike and went up the only climb of the bike course and saw and heard my friends yelling for me, it was great seeing that.

My goal on the bike, bike fast (keep my power goals in mind) and stay as aero as possible.  Because I was one of the last waves and a terrible swimmer, I knew I was going to pass a lot of people on this course.  I felt like I was playing Frogger, I must have passed hundreds of people over the 56 miles.  I didn’t want to say, “on your left”, but had to.  I can’t even tell you how many times I said it.   I started my Infinit once my heart rate settled down, drank every 15 minutes from my bottle, followed by water.  At the halfway point, my pace was a  little slower than I wanted, so I knew if I wanted to dig myself out of the huge hole I made during the swim, I would have to pick it up.  Got back into town and knew it would be close.  My watch said 2:35 and change, so I was very happy.  Got into T2 and went out on the run.

This part I was very unsure of, due to my run training this year.  As soon as I got on the run, I heard Lynn and Anne yelling for me and saw the VQ tent, it was great and I knew I just had to run.  So, down the hill and up the hill, feeling pretty good, taking my Infinit Run formula and water.  Felt pretty good, had a nice split for the first half and again saw all the VQers cheering, I used the energy to keep pushing.  The next 3 miles were the hardest, but felt okay.  I was a little worried about my hip, so didn’t want to push too hard, then got to the turnaround and was so happy.  I tried to pick it up, but just couldn’t go any faster.  Up until this point of my training, I did not do much speed work and hadn’t run over 9 miles, so I was okay with my pace.  I just wanted to break 2 hours, got to the finish and my watch said 1:56!  I guess I could take it.

My overall time was 5:19, 10th in my age group (these girls are wicked fast) – I think I had the 2nd fastest bike split in my age group.   I was happy, but not completely satisfied because I gave so much up in the swim and my T1 was really slow and I really need to get faster on the run.  I know what I need to work on, leading up to Madison, and will use this to motivate me and focus on my weaknesses.   Thanks to everyone for all your support throughout my training and can’t wait to race again!

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