Monday, October 7, 2013

Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013 - run

"Rachel Wills, you are an Ironman!" 

Run report done. 

It is a bit silly how one sentence uttered at a certain line in our lives can be enough motvation to force one to run for 26.2 miles. I'm not sure how regular marathon'ers do it without all the hype, pomp and circumstance. {never say never, but} I Will Never Run a stand alone Marathon. Yuck. It's just so far. And so much time. Going so slow! {so suck it up and get fast!} Did you hear? A new marathon world record was set. The guy ran 2.5x faster than me. Every step. It's unfathomable.  

Okay. Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013 was my 2nd time running over 20 miles in my life. And I'm not quite sure I can call it a run as I walked some of it. Out of T2 with a smile on my face. 
see. smiling. the sun is still out.
The first 9 miles were good. Sun was out. Arm warmers were left on from my ride. Legs were quick and somewhat light. No walking. Then I hit the far turnaround and didn't feel like finishing. 

{insert low moment}

Pulled myself together but I was getting cold. I wore my Moment tri kit but wasn't able to stay warm while running. I was 4 miles from special needs and that's when the mini-goals started. 1) Get to SN bag. 
digging deep. not so much smiling.
Got there. Saw Kyle who picked up the volunteer job of yelling bib numbers so other volunteers could find the bags. He yelled mine and then ran up the ramp with me. I put on the long sleeve tech shirt and grabbed the clean socks. Kiss goodbye. 2) New goal - find aid station with Vaseline. Blisters were erupting on my left foot. Ran through one, no go, and stopped at the next. Plopped my butt on the ground and demanded the greasy stick. Shoes off. Socks off. Goop on, new socks, shoes and I was up and off. 

Found 2 things: a running buddy and an unopened pack of insta warmers on the ground! Things were looking up! Gave my buddy one and held the other in my hand for the rest of the evening. 3) new goal - get to the aid stations for walk breaks and 4) warm chicken broth. 

I was doing coke and water {chuckle} previously. I had maybe 2 gu's during the run. But I was getting colder. So I did something new on race day and tried the soup. The warmth helped, although I think it was mostly mental. My stomach did a couple of grumble turns late in the race and I think the soup wasn't so magical. But survived without a major blowout. 

My run buddy and I went a couple miles together and made it back to squaw for the turnaround. Which of course, loops you right past the finish line. Great energy through village. Saw coach Brian and hear him lie, "you look great!" Ran past the TCSD tent and heard "6 miles to go!" Lie number two. There were 8 left and I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue. 

Trotted along. Lost my buddy at that next aid station. Kept adding the time vs miles left and was getting angry at the amount of walking. I kept comparing my day to St George and was hating myself for giving into the walk. My hamstring was so angry now from the cramp on the bike. The attachment at the knee was barking louder. I saw Kyle and told him I felt like poo. 

feeling like poo. "fakest" smile ever.
Pity party needed to end. Only foreseeable finish to that party was the finish line. Goal 5.

So I made my way. Headlamp got turned on with 1.5 miles left. I really had high hopes of finishing at dusk before needing that beam to get me through. Such is life during a late season Ironman.

Dropped my hat and long sleeve at the Tri club tent just before the village. Yeah it was cold but I wanted those finisher pics with my kit and without my light. I turned the corner and ran. Probably too fast. Not sure what spurred the sudden rush to get there. I had already taken 13 hours and 15 min, what's another minute? 

And yes, I finally heard Mike Riley call my name and hear those infamous words, "you are an ironman." 

Instant relief. My finish line catcher was a super awesome chica from Bishop who came to my shop for a bike fit!! How random that we meet again, in Tahoe, at the finish of my crazy race. She was awesome at making sure I was okay and even checked back a couple more times throughout the night. I got a space blanket and immediately found Kevin who had finished under 13, and the Sherpas. Hugs. Photos. Relief. Story time. Goal 6) need clothes. So cold. 

MN buddy, Kevin! 
Waited in the massage tent next to the heater until someone could rub out the mess that was my left hammy. Kyle got the clothes and the bags and kermit. {so much crap is needed for a #freakingironman!} Tried the pizza {nasty} and we finally got out of there. 
my favorite photo of the day. :) love this guy.
It was a long, cold day. It was just another day. It was what I deserved after the amount of training I put in. I am not a freak of nature. {Although I did win one for winning the swim} I finished my second Ironman, and apparently that's something only 75% of the inaugural Tahoe entrants can say.

2013 Ironman Lake Tahoe
22nd AG
{Average finish time was the slowest in Ironman history at 14:05}

Many thanks to all of the volunteers who sacrificed their days to make ours that much better. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013 - bike

Kermit, you were the super hero of the day. 

Let's just start with the Garmin course elevation profile:

Okay then compare to ironman website:
Yep it's funny how a bit of smoothing and number fudging will make something seem less drastic than reality. Elevation gain reports have been all over the map. Mine said 7448' and that's what it felt like.

I'm not complaining. I liked the course. I was one of the lucky people who were able to preview most of the course this summer.  Most. It's not breaking news, but this isn't a PR course. Not even close. 

Weather - It was cold. Yeah. But we knew this ahead of time. The cold front actually came through like the weather people said {us San Diegans don't really trust weathermen} and so it wasn't that hard to be prepared. It's a freaking Ironman. That's what we do. Prepare. Train. Obsess. I hate to be harsh or sound cold here {literally} but if you froze, you didn't prepare. It started around 30F and never got above 55F. Mostly cloudy to partly cloudy {with a definite chance of crazy.}

Yeah yeah I'm a swimmer so I spent less time in the water, but in my opinion, that wasn't the issue. Water temps were fine. Balmy. Yeah I had awesome volunteers and an amazing T1 spot, but if you spent 10 more min in transition then you should in theory be more dry and happy. And gosh darnit, I earned those benefits perfecting my swim technique for 29 years.
Gear - To recap, I wore: arm and knee warmers, bike shorts, jersey, vest, long fingered gloves, socks, and toe warmers, and my aero helmet. Along with 2 sets of insta warmers, in between toe covers and shoes and inside the gloves on my palms.

I labeled all my gear figuring I'd drop it at the newly instated clothing drop. Nope. Worn the entire ride. 

#swimmerproblems alert. I was lonely on the bike. The first half of the first loop I felt so alone. I think 3 girls {frozen pros} and not too many males passed me. There were definitely no free rides on the flat sections, although I did see quite a bit of illegal "teamwork" by some fast dudes at the beginning. 
Food -  I stuck to my nutrition plan and attribute my success to the diligence. At 50 min in and every hour after I ate a vanilla gu. At 1:20 and every hour after I had gulps of my APX {ruby red grapefruit! Yum} Water was consistent and I probably grabbed 7 bottles throughout the race and filled the aero drink up front. I was not going to have a IMSG puking repeat so nothing in besides sips of water until 50 min. 

Elevation and altitude - Obviously there were struggles with both in this race. I think because of the cold temps and the lack of preparation people got behind on their hydration plan. Why do people die on Everest? Dehydration and exposure. Your body doesn't outwardly crave fluids when you are cold.  But listen to your insides and you may learn something. Not that this was Everest {I hate hiking}, but you have to prepare for every major effort in your life with due diligence.   

In the days leading up to the race I was trying to be super diligent about staying hydrated. When I would fall off the first thing that I noticed were my eyes. I haven't had any issues since getting LASIK almost a year ago but wow, my eyes were drying out and getting blurry. Drank more and it went away. Made the mental note, it's dry at altitude!

Back to the race. By the first hwy 267 descent on the bridge before Martis Camp my eyes were getting there. Water. Drink more. Now. 

Issue arose. Problem solved. 
Start the climb. It's gorgeous. I'm finally getting some core temp warmth. We're going up and I'm still smiling. We descend and I'm beaming. We start the Brockway climb and I see Kyle. Big smiles and a power check and before I remembered, the top came. Water dump, gu in and put on my descending pants. So much fun. 
"Staying Hydrated" {well its gotta go somewhere! #ironmanproblems to follow} Porta-pottie stop at the first aid station on the loop to pee apply chamois cream {mile 45ish}. Ditto on the last loop. Otherwise, it was poor Kermit "bike wash" day. See the thing is, when I get cold, I have to pee. Lots. Winter camping is so not for me. I lay in my sleeping bag dreading going out, but know I can't sleep. I think my body works hard to keep my pee warm and it begs me to get rid of every drip. So, yes, I peed on my bike. Seven times. While riding {or coasting} and hanging off the back of the saddle.  {IMSG was only once}

Other notes - Jeremy flew by me at mile 30. In fact, I heard someone breaking behind me and was confused. He was slowing enough to say hi! 

{Volunteers rock}

Saw Noridca running on the flat section after the first lap. Little {big} cheers keep you going. 

Kept thinking back to my double great western loop training days. If you are racing Tahoe, and live in SD, GWLx2 is the best training route. 

Hamstring cramped at mile 70 and once after. Ingested salt tabs and more APX to keep it at bay. 

Kept power and time checking myself. Was only a little disappointed at where I was at and felt vastly better than my first IM. It also felt like less people passed me, especially females. 

As I was heading off the loop and into the turn for Squaw Valley and T2, I saw Nordsie and she slapped my butt going up the hill! Ouch! 

Kyle was all over the place and I was always glad to see him. 

Dismount. Didn't fall over. Grabbed Chapstick and headed into the T2 tent with 3 more amazing volunteers. 

Bike 6:54 
6th off the bike, 15th AG 
149 normalized power {goal}
355 TSS - no wonder I wasn't able to run {fast}! 

I am so grateful for my amazing training partners this summer. Liz, Maureen, Jay, Julie - thank you for keeping me company and pushing me on those long hot days on the bike. I can't believe the heat training was all for not! Seriously though, you guys rock.  Kara and Erin, thank you for the Tahoe preview trip and all your love and support through my {our} training. 

This course is not for the faint of heart {or Floridians.} Get in the mountains. Climb. Prepare. Train. Obsess. Get a coach and a power meter and be diligent. It is a gorgeous place that deserves to be respected.