Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

Going into Lake Placid I was not excited at all. My ankle had been bothering me about 6 weeks out from the race and then 2 weeks before the race, at Muncie, my baby finger was almost cut off in the hinge of a porta pottie door. I had to go the ER and get stitches. I did zero swimming for the two weeks leading up to Lake Placid. I got my stitches out on Tues and my finger came back open on Wednesday morning. I was completely freaking out and wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the swim with people bumping into me. Plus I was having issues gripping my bike properly. Needless to say my focus shifted from the actual race to my finger. I stupid baby finger. Who knew you used that thing as much as you do?
We drove up at about noon on Thursday and got to Lake Placid at about 9pm thanks to Jason's speedy driving! We stated at the Courtyard Marriot which is about a mile from town and the transition area. If I were to do this race again I'd stay at the Hampton which is right were you want to me. In the middle of everything. No walking for what seems forever when you don't want to walk!
Ok onto race morning.... We left our hotel at 4:30am and made our way into T1. I put my snax on my bike and dropped off my watch in me run bag. I was ready to go!
The swim - 2.4 miles - 1:15:13
As mentioned, I was super nervous about my finger and worried it would bust back open from all the people bumping into it. I put glue on it, waterproof tape, a finger condom and then blue sponge tape. My finger looked like a light bulb! Thank you to coach T and Rachel for helping me get all this on my finger without hurting me :) Since my focus was on my finger I completely forgot to put sun screen on and chamois cream which would later bit me in the ass. Anyhow, Meaghan and I made our way over to the swim start. Lake Placid is a self seeded rolling started. They have signs up similar to corals in a running race. When we got over there, it was so crowded. Athletes were smushed together like sardines and we could barely squeeze through the crowd to get to our swim start time line. I started behind the 1:10 - 1:20 swim finish time. Before I knew it I was headed under the arch and into the water!
To my surprise I did not panic at all! I usually have a mini heart attack the first few minutes of the swim, but not this time. I think the rolling start really helped with that because it wasn't as crowded. At Lake Placid the buoys are connected via a cable that you can see and use as a lane line if you wanted. I actually avoided doing this and swam outside the buoys as to stay away from the other swimmers. Less people meant less chance for my finger to get bumped. I pretty much had my own space until the red turn buoy. Basically was a washing machine over there. I got dunked aka swam over top of. One the turn around I also got a nice friendly breast stroke kick to the face. I thought I got a bloody lip but at least my goggles didn't come off. As I made my way to the swim exit to start my second loop the water got really crowded. People were being animals at this point and someone tried to grab my leg and pull me. Um...WTF...NOPE! I made it out of water and ran on the sand and back into the water. I hated getting out of the water and doing two loops. My heart rate was all over the place from trying to run fast and get back into the water asap. I also cut my left foot and maybe rocks getting back into the water. I could feel my foot burning. Great. It took a minute to settle back into a good swim stroke, but once I did I felt fine. The rest of the swim was uneventful. My finger held up and even though it was hard to cup my hand with all the junk I had one it, I survived. I was more than happy to be running out of the water and making my way over to T1. The hardest part of the day was over for me! Now I could relax and bit!
T1 - 6 something minutes
It's a long haul over to T1 from the water. I felt like I was one of the only ones running. They have a small carpet to run one, but it's only wide enough to run single file so I basically had to run on the pavement to be able to pass everyone just walking. I made it into T1 and was a hot mess. I turned one of my socks inside out. So during the bike one sock was normal and the other inside out. Oh well. I pulled off most of my finger crap and just left the waterproof tape on as it was also cushiony which would help protect it on the bike. The volunteer helped me get my glove on but both fingers went through the same finger whole. Ugh. Redo. I also had to volunteer suns creen me up but I don't think she did a good job. I felt like I was in the tent forever! One mini snickers down my pie hole, pb&j shoved in my jersey pocket and off I went....
The Bike - 112 miles - 6:06:02
Time to go to work and dig myself out of the hole I created for myself with my slow swim time. The second I got on my bike...squeak, squeak, squeak. Was it my chain or gears??? The thought of "please oh god please don't fall apart on me bike. I need you for the next 6 hours!" went through my head. Ugh. Anyhow, I had not pre-viewed the course prior to the race so everything was going to be new and exciting to me! Weee...I love my bike and new places! It's really a stunning ride with great views. The first 30 miles or so seem to be downhill. There is a very large 5 mile decent. My garmin beeped 9 minutes for 5 miles. Lol. I was jut screaming down the hills and didn't use my brakes much. Going downhill is my favorite. I ended up eating no chews or gels on the bike. I had a total of 3 fun size snickers on me. One I ate in T1 and the other 2 I ate within the first 40 minutes. After that I ate my pb&j sandwich. I had it cut up in fours and ate one piece about every 45 minutes I would guess. I started off with Osmo in my aero bottle. I didn't want to f' around with the single serves so just took gatoraid at the aid stations. I was still feeling pretty good as I made the climb back into town. I was super surprised and excited to see Jason standing on top of one the "3 bear" climbs. He really caught me off guard. Love my M!!
I ended up stopping at special needs, drank half my COKE (omg life saving stuff right there) and grabbed my other pb&j and snickers bar. The volunteers told me to put my bike in the lowest gear to make it easy to get back on and up the hill but I was so out of it I put it in the hardest gear. I couldn't start pedaling, my bike wasn't moving and I was so confused because I thought I had it in the lowest gear. One of the volunteers pushed me like the tour de France which helped. ha.  I also thought special needs would have bathrooms, but nope. I guess that's that I get for never reading the athlete guide.
Anyhow, I started the second loop pretty excited thinking I could maybe go sub 6 on the bike. The descents went well but the wind had picked up. We seemed to have a head wind on the second loop. I really was having fun up until maybe mile 90, then death on the bike started to settle in. My feet had gone numb and I had to go pee so bad. I hadn't gone pee yet and I had been holding it forever but I didn't want to make a stop. I tried peeing on myself, but nope couldn't do it. The 30 miles back into town seemed to take forever. I was so ready to get off my bike. I felt like I was barely pedaling. I watched my average speed to go down. F this. Get me off my bike. But on the upnote, my stomach felt good and my nutrition was right on target. Who knew. Snickers and PB&J would get me through 112 miles!
Saw Jason again as I made my way into T2 and onto the "fun" part if the race!!
T2 - 3 something minutes
First things first.....pee! Made a quick stop and a porta pottie and was extra careful with the door. ha. Had the volunteers sun screen me up and I could already feel the terrible sun burn I had on my back. Changed socks and shoes, grabbed my hat and watch and off I went!
The Run - 26.2 miles - 4:08:32
If there was a crown I would be wearing it for the queen of going out to fast! I can't help it though. I am always so excited to get off my bike and my legs just want to go go go. And the thought of why the hell not goes through my head thinking hey maybe I can hold this pace the entire run, can't hurt to try. Yes, this is stupid thinking, I know. My 5k split was 23 minutes something and even I knew I was being crazy. I slowed myself down and just tried to get into a comfy pace. I saw Meaghan around mile 2 and got so excited, I gave her a nice friendly ass slap :) Then I saw Rachel and she ran with me for a little bit. I was smiling and happy at this point. After you go down a big hill you basically make a right hand turn to hell and back. Yes hell. Not a cloud on the sky. Sun shining down bright. No shade. A special tri version of hell. The only saving grace on this section of the run is looking at the Olympic sky jumps around mile 8 or 9? OMG. never would I ever jump off those but they looked so cool! I passed Rachel again around mile 11 and my stomach had started acting up a bit. By the time I saw Jason at mile 12 my legs were still feeling ok, but knew I needed some tums. I had been going down the aid station smorgish (sp?) board and grabbing a water, gatoraid, coke, water along with orange slices and cookies. There is small out and back right by the Olympic Oval which is a killer mentally because it's right by the finish and right by your second loop but basically is a mile out and back. I was a little under 2 hrs for my first loop. OMG. Can I go sub 4 or right at 4 hrs on this run??? I was getting excited.
I started the second loop and I could feel my left hamstring starting to kind of seize up. I was an idiot and had taken no salt up to this point. I fished out a salt tab out of my spy belt and took it but I think it was to late. I was also the only one I had one me. Right at Lisa G's and Meaghan's parents by left leg completely cramped up (around mile 14 I think). I was bend over in pain not even moving. I would try to take a step and would hunch over in pain again. The only thought that was going through my head as I just f'ed up my own race by not taking salt and I'm ruining my time. No 4 hour marathon. No 11:30. I don't even know why my goal had changed because it was originally to go sub 12 hours and now I wanted more. why? I don't know? I guess I always want more. Anyhow, Rachel came running over to my rescue and gave me a tums and pringles. A bunch of pringles! I didn't think I could eat all of them and she told me to just lick the salt off them. But I ended up eating all of them, then the base salt people came to my rescue. I took two licks and my cramps seemed to go away. I could run again! But the cramps were an issue the rest of the run. I somehow lost the little tub of salt I had gotten and was bend over in pain again unable to move. I shouted out to the runners around me. "salt, anybody, salt, please." Someone was nice enough to give a lick of their salt and a swig of their water. Thank you mystery man. After returning for the second out and back of hell I told myself I am never doing this again. Never. I saw Rachel again mid way through the big hill. I walked that sucker. No need to waste energy on what would have just been a shuffle uphill anyhow. 2 miles left! omg! It's finally almost over. I just want to stop moving! And son of a gun my damn leg cramp returned again with less than a mile to go. I was swearing out loud and pissed that I was bent over again. Some guy yelled at me to keep moving. Umm. Yeah I know, I look like an idiot, if I could move I would be! More salt licks and then a ton of salt licks right before I entered the oval. The last thing I wanted to happen was to cramp up in the chute. As I made my way into the chute I could feel the tears start to weld up in my eyes. I put a smile on my face and ran towards the finish line arch! Before I knew it, I was raising my arms and crossing the finish line! It was over, I finished ironman number 3.
Total time: 11:38:57
Post Race

Crossing the finish line never gets old. No matter how many times you say you hate this or I'm never doing this again, it feels amazing to finish. It's really hard to describe. And as much as I said never again. I'm doing it again. Completely hooked. Overall I am really happy how the day went. I had over an hour PR so I can't complain and placed 11th in my AG. But.... yeah.... I messed up on the run and I know I can go faster. Looks like IM number 4 is in my future. Also thank you to Jason for always been there for me and supporting me. I know I am super needy and high maintenance. Love you so much! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ironman Muncie 70.3 (Relay) - Race Report

Hey there folks. Long time no see.
I just got back from a wonderful 4 day weekend of racing and visiting my family :) I flew into the Columbus airport on Thursday and Joe (my brother in law) picked me up. I was able to spend a nice relaxing evening visiting with my sista, Rachael, and my nieces. On Friday morning after dropping off the kids we made our way over to Muncie which was suppose to be a little less than a 3 hr drive. 5 minutes into our drive though we hit traffic and basically didn't move for an hour. I guess that's just my luck for bragging out how smoothly travel went the day before. It wasn't too big of a deal though because we had all day to get there.
Once in Muncie we made our way to packet- pick up. The site itself was in the middle of no where and we had a hard time finding it.  Once we finally did find it, pick up and racking the bike went smoothly. Little black bag number 3 acquired, 2 more to go! We were also able to do an open water swim practice. It was really nice to cool off and get some good ows practice in since I really never have a chance to. The water felt great and I was almost jealous I wasn't swimming the next day.
Race Morning
We woke up at 4 am. We stayed at a Best Western and the hotel was nice enough to provide breakfast to the athletes starting at 4:30am. I really wasn't hungry that early in the morning so I only had a mini muffin and filled up my water. 

We were out the door by 5am and on our way over to the race site. Of course we got lost again ....if that is even possible....just follow the rest of the cars with racks on them, right? Wrong. There was a ton of ways to the lake, but we made it there by 5:30. We had pre-paid parking the day before at a lady's house across from transition. True IM provided free parking, but this was super convenient and it was nice not to worry about parking.  
My sister set up her bike and the race official went over the rules with us and some of the other relay teams. There was a relay pen for both the bikers and the runners. You had to stay in the pen until you say your relay team mate. At that point you could come out and exchange the chip.

Anyhow, we headed down to the water about 6:40ish and relaxed while we ate some snacks and watched the pros and other waves go off as we were in the last wave starting at 8am.
The Race
Now for myself I wasn't too nervous about the day as I was using the run leg as a training run, but Joe and Rachael have never swam or biked this distance before in a race! When we originally registered for the race almost a year ago I was excited to get my family involved in something I love and I was excited to introduce them to the 70.3 distance. They both worked their butts off and I am so proud of both of them!
The Swim: 1.2 miles ~ 51:39
Now I can't speak for Joe, but I know he was super nervous and was nervous he might let down our team somehow. The relays went off in the last wave which was 8 am. He was worried about not making the 1:10 cut-off, but we kept telling him he had nothing to worry about and he didn't! 

The water temp was right at 75 so it was wetsuit legal. I would say about 60% of the people still had them on. Joe opted not to wear one and I mean really you didn't need one, the water felt warm. After my sista and I watched him swim into the distance we walked up the bike relay pen.

I wished Rachael good luck and positioned myself back by the swim exit. I saw Joe excited the swim at right about 51 minutes. I was so excited and happy for him!!! The swimmers had to run up a big hill with gravel (it was covered by carpets, but still). When I saw him I shouted out his time and a big smile came across his face. All the hard work paid off and he was running out of the swim exit to his love at his first 70.3 distance race!

I ran as fast as I could from the swim exit up the relay pen. I shouted to my sista that he made it! She was so excited and jumping and clapping for him. 

They gave each other high gives, exchanged the timing chip, and off my sister ran into T1. 

She already had on her helmet and shoes so she only had to grab her bike.  As she went into T1, I sprinted over to the bike out area to get more pictures. No one ever told me being sherpa was so hard!
The Bike: 56 mile ~ 3:16:25
Once again I don't know exactly how Rachael felt throughout this ride, but I know she put in the work and was excited to get out there. She was a little worried about her back hurting her, but thanks to the good old tennis ball and an apple it felt ok on race day :) The course took you out a few miles, then it was a 2 loop out and back, then back a few miles to T2. It's a mostly flat course and luckily the winds weren't too bad. They got a few head winds heading out, but that's about it. 

The bike went by fast for Rachael and she made one pit stop around mile 30 to refill her water bottles. I think she surprised herself how fast she was going and was worried I wouldn't be waiting in the pen for her yet. But I knew better and had headed over to the pen around 11:30 because hey it's race day and you never know what will happen!
I had been waiting in the relay pen since around 11:30ish and it was hot as shit in there! I thought I might pass out (no breeze and right by the food grills). I myself don't know why I was so nervous for this run coming up. I don't know if it was the combination of waiting around all day and not knowing what to eat or if I was worried about Rachael coming back in off the bike. When I finally spotted her running her bike in from the across the way around 12:15ish I gasped and starting clapping!

She kept telling me around a 3:30 bike split so I was shocked and excited to see her 15 minutes early! I had known at that point that the bike went well for her and I was so excited that both her and Joe had a great day. As she came running toward me I was allowed to leave the pen and take off the timing chip and off I went

The run: 13.1 miles ~ 1:46:52
I was super happy to get the hell out of the waiting area and finally have my turn at sportz after doing so much waiting around. I went into this run with it being just a training run and wasn't expecting much out of myself. I must had been more excited to run than I thought though and took it out way to fast! My first 6.5 miles were a 7:47 pace. The next 6.5 miles would not hold the same. In the first 6 miles I had probably picked off about 5 or 6 relay runners. I was really happy about this. I also think this might the only time I am never passed in a 70.3 run and am flying past everyone else. I felt a little guilty. After the turn around I started feeling light headed and actually wanted to walk (wtf, I did not swim or bike). I kept at it though even though my pace slowed. At the beginning of the day I was jealous of everyone doing the full 70.3 but by this point I was glad I was only doing the run. At the end of the run I felt worst than I normally do after a full 70.3. Weird. The run it self had rolling hills and would have had no shade. But by the time I was out running the skys were overcast and the clouds looked like they were about to drop rain on us. A small amount of rain came around mile 10 but it was nothing heavy and stopped after 5 minutes. bummer. I was happy to be running down the finishers shut and had wished Joe and Rachael could have joined me since obviously I couldn't have crossed it without them!

Overall: 5:59:21 (14th out of 29 relays)

We all had so much fun and I can't say it enough how proud and excited I am for Joe and Rachael! Go Team KARSTAK! We all had so much fun and I can't wait to do another one with them or maybe sherpa one of their first 70.3s :) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

I registered for Oceanside as an excuse to visit my old roommate and good friend Jessica. Plus who wouldn't want to go to San Diego. It's perfect there! I however didn't think we were going to be stuck in a continuos winter vortex making training a nightmare here in DC. With that said I spent way to many hours on my trainer and was only able to do a handful of bike rides outside. Oh and motivating yourself to go run when it's in the teens and the feel like temp is even colder, yeah not fun. I'm not sure I will ever do a March 70.3 again. Training in the winter sucked. But at any rate I pushed through it and even though it wasn't my best training cycle I felt ready to race even though I wasn't expecting much.
This is a the first race that wasn't in driving distance to me. So, my bike made it there before I did since I used tri bike transport. I think it is a great service however I was disappointed that I actually couldn't roll my bike from their tent to my rack as advertised. We had to rack the morning of and they did not offer morning services. So a rental car it was. ugh. inconvenient
Anyhow, my friend lives in San Diego which is about an hour from Oceanside so we were out the door early the morning of the race. We made it there with plenty of time to spare. This is a two transition race so we set up our run stuff then rode our bike (about a mile) to T1 and the swim start. My wave started around 7:30 so I had some time to hang out. I basically wished Jason good luck since he started around 7 and then put my wetsuit on and ate the rest of my snacks. My big mistake of the morning. Not putting enough slide glide on my neck. OMG why did I make this mistake?
Swim: 1.2 miles, 36:40 (1:53/100m pace)
This was an in the water start, so we had to swim out to the first buoy. I liked this as the cold 60 degree water wasn't as big of a shock and it was nice to get used to it before the gun went off. I positioned myself in the middle near the buoys. Once started I couldn't find any open water and was getting stuck behind people swimming slower than me. Once I finally found some open space I felt pretty good. I've never done a swim in salt water before and I hated it. I'd accidentally sallow the salt water and gag and almost throw up. It was nasty. Other than the salt the water was calm and made for a good swim. After the turn around it seemed to take forever and I didn't think the swim was ever going to end. I also felt my neck rubbing after about 10 minutes in and knew I was going to have the biggest wetsuit hickey ever! But at that point there's not much you can do about it but try to swim faster to get out of the water faster so your neck can stop hurting. I was happy to be finished and had the volunteers help unzip the top part of my wetsuit.
T1: 3:51
It was somewhat a long run into T1 from the water on a little strip of carpet rolled out. I didn't waste anytime and off on the bike I went.
Bike: 56 miles, 3:01:19 (18.53mph)
Well this was my worst bike split ever, but I'm not surprised. The course itself had some climbs that I just wasn't expecting and some nasty head and cross winds. Out of T1 the first thing I did was drink lots of water to get all that nasty salt water out of my mouth. The first 20 miles or so were good and I think I was right around 20mph. I really was just enjoying the nice sunny weather and had a smile on my face. I was so happy to be riding outside and not freezing my ass off! There was some no pass zones and at every single one I got stuck behind someone going super slow.... 8mph on a flat? Come on. 20 mph down hill, ugh. 14mph the entire last mile. rage. Anyhow, some people were walking their bikes up the big climb. I was proudly going 4mph. lolz. After the big hills we faced terrible head winds from miles 30 - 40 or so. Maybe it was a false flat but I couldn't seem to go faster than 12 mph and my legs were burning. The last 10 miles of the course were great and I was clipping out around 22, that is until the last mile when I got stuck behind Mr slow poke and couldn't pass him. Overall I had fun on the course and was happy to be riding even if I was on the slow side.
T2: 1:55
Not sure what the hell I was doing in here. I fumbled around with both my bike and run garmins. Then I used the porta-potties. I just couldn't bring myself to pee on the bike. Maybe when I'm going after a 70.3 slot I'll pee on myself :)
Run: 13.1 miles, 1:50:48 (8:27 pace)
I was happy to be on my feet as I usually am. Once I'm out of the water and off my bike I know I can finish the race. It's was a two loop course that runs along the coast line then around a little neighborhood. It offers no shade. Just pretty palm trees and ocean views. It was hot but I felt great pretty much the entire first loop despite overheating and taking sponges at the aid stations. I kept telling myself I'm going to go sub 1:50. Woot. However, the second loop told a different story for me. I was taking coke, IM perform, and water pretty much at every aid station. I was really scared I was going to bonk like I did at my last ironman. No bonking but my stomach started giving me issues and I thought I might poo myself but I really didn't want to take the time to go. My miles got slower and it was hard to keep them in the high 8s. However, the time was still passing by quickly in my head and before I knew I could see the finish line. I put a smile on my face and tried to look pretty for my picture as I finished :)
Finish: 5:34:33 - 18th in my AG

Overall I had such a fun time at this race and am super excited now to race again. I loved CA and I loved there weather. This is def a great race to travel too! I also think it's kind of neat that I was 18th out of the water and finished 18th. I never changed spots! That's so strange. Anyhow, now to somehow shave 15 - 20 minutes off my time. Ha.