21 May 2010

Kinetic 1/2 Ironman Race Report

And again, because I am too lazy to write a brand-new original race report for my blog, I am copying and pasting the one I sent to my coach Jen Harrison:

OK, here is my race report for Kinetic. Because I had issues with my chip staying on (I managed to rip it off when simultaneously ripping off my wetsuit), I don't have a super detailed de
scription of my transition times or splits.

Pre-race: I went down to the race site the night before with some friends, picked up my race packet, managed to find a restaurant (and ice cream) in East-Nowhere Virginia, ate relatively early, went to bed relatively early, didn't sleep well, but what can you do.

I got to the race site over an hour before race start. I ate two powerbars for breakfast (couldn't find any bagels), set up transition, got on my wetsuit, and got into the water for a little while. Things were a little windy (OK, alot windy), so I wasn't too sure how feasible my 2:55 goal on the bike was going to be.

The Swim:
I started off to the side, like usual, wearing my sleeveless wetsuit (71 degree water - awesome!). I felt like I was being passed left and right, but I think perception is always a little off when on the swim. I had vowed to myself that I was going to RACE the swim, not just float it. I wanted a sub-35 time. I kept an OK line, I was a little off, but I made the turns relatively close to the buoys. On the way back in from the final turn buoy, I couldn't see any of the guiding buoys to the finish area, so I just followed the pack. And then I got separated from the pack and swam a bit off-course. So, by the time I finished, I felt a little frustrated, because I figured I had totally shot my sub-35 swim goal. But, while I was swimming, I felt good and strong, and when I got out I felt like I had raced the swim.

Time: 30:00 (apparently the swim course was a bit short with the wind blowing the buoys everywhere, but since I swam waaayyy off course, I'm still counting it as a 1.2 mile swim) Yessss, the 3xweek swim sessions are WORKING!

The Bike: Rolling and WINDY! I tried to take in the majority of my calories through liquid (520 calories through perpetuem) and gels (two gels, 100 calories apiece). I also ate part of a PowerBar. It actually felt pretty good, no bloating, and I felt satiated. Later on the run I will have wished I had drank more water, b
ut overall I was pretty pleased with how this whole "non-buffet, mostly-liquid" diet on the bike is going. I haven't had any GI issues at all. Anyways, the first few miles of the bike I felt pretty slow, but then I settled in, and my speed slowly picked up. Then I made a right-hand turn, right into the wind, and my speed slowly went back down. Fortunately, that part of the course only lasted 7 miles and then we made another right-hand turn and we were no longer going right into the wind. We did the loop twice, so it was rather nice to know what to expect on the second loop in terms of the wind. By the end of the first loop, my overall average speed was 18.7. Both loops were relatively uneventful, I stayed aero most of the time, and I wasn't feeling fatigued. I was especially happy that I was able to keep my speed above 18.5 mph - a year ago, I never would've been keeping that speed for 56 miles on a hilly, windy course. So, all of the bike drills and training this season have REALLY paid off.

Time: 3:02, 18.5 mph average speed. Not quite my sub-3 hour goal, but I was pleased overall because it was really windy and rather hilly.

The Run: Total crap. The first few miles felt OK, I was keeping my speed around 8:30s, my stomach felt pretty good, and my legs weren't tired. Annndddd then my allergies kicked in, and I felt the same way I did during Rumpass. Coughing, spitting, bleck. It was a long 13 miles and I watched my speed slowly creep up. Towards the end of the first (of three) loops, I started taking walk breaks. It was hard to stay mentally focused because all I wanted was to stop running, drink Gatorade, and sit in the lake and cool off. And that's basically how it went for the rest of the run. It was frustrating because my legs felt fine, my stomach felt fine, I was just having some serious issues with stuff dripping
down the back of my throat. My 1:50 run goal was completely gone by the end of the first loop and then it was just damage control. For future races, I want to become more mentally strong during the run and try to suck it up a bit more when I'm not feeling great on the run.

Time: 2:08 - one of my slowest run times in a 1/2.

I had hoped to PR at Kinetic, going at least sub-5:40, preferably faster. I did PR, by 2
seconds, finishing overall in 5:47:06. My AG place was 8th and overall place was 39th. There were some fast people out there!

I'm a little nervous about Florida because feeling crappy like this on the run is becoming a trend and I hope it is attributable to allergies. I don't ever feel that bad on my training sessions. But I'm really happy with my swim and my bike, which makes me feel a little less crummy about the run.

Annnndddd that's the race report. Besides the wind, it was a beautiful day. Mark and I rushed home from the race because I had graduation for my Masters at 4:30pm (technically I was supposed to be at school by 3:45 to line up, but I figured if I showed up by 4:30 before they paraded in, they'd have to let me participate). We got home from the race at 4. It's about a 20 minute ride up to school. I took the fastest shower ever, changed out of my stinky tri clothes and into a black dress in heels in 13 minutes flat. Still had my race numbers on my arms and leg, but who cares! Grabbed the graduation gown, took off for school... and arrived at 4:35. Without my graduat
ion cap. Truth be told, though, I wasn't very disappointed. I was rather relieved I wouldn't have to sit through a boring commencement speech talking about "new beginnings" (life was not going to change much after my Masters) and "entering the Real World" (I've been living in the real world for quite some time now, thank you very much). In fact, I didn't even know who was supposed to be our commencement speaker (later found out it was the Chilean president). So, I donned the graduation gown for all of 5 minutes, snagged some nice guy wandering off campus to take the obligatory pictures of Mark and myself, disrobed (from the graduation gown) and then went to the swanky bar at Chef Geoffs down the street for some Shirley Temples, duck pizza, and homemade potato chips. Best graduation ever.

20 May 2010

Nashville 1/2 Marathon - A Race, A Best Friend, A Beautiful Goddaughter... And an Almost Tornado!

In April I went down to Nashville to see my best friend Erin, her husband Ashley, and their beee-yooootiful daughter Reagan, who also happens to be my goddaughter. I hadn't seen Reagan since Thanksgiving when she was barely two months old. Now she's seven months old, super cute, and SO BIG compared to when I last saw her. And she was such an easygoing baby too - as Erin said, "This is how they trick you into having another one."

I was also down in Nashville for the Country Music 1/2 Marathon. I didn't realize Nashville was so hilly! I had spent alot of time over the weeks prior on travel for work, participating in pre-wedding festivities for one of our good friends who was getting married i
n May, not getting alot of sleep, and my head wasn't completely in the game. Because it was a hilly race, I set a goal for myself that wasn't really a time goal but more of a goal to go faster as the race went on and finish strong, which is totally opposite of what happened during the Shamrock 1/2. So, here are my mile splits:
1: 7:13, 161 bpm average HR
2: 7:25, 163 bpm
3: 7:38, 167 bpm
4: 7:38, 169 bpm
5: 7:46, 170 bpm
6: 7:09, 170 bpm
7: 7:11, 172 bpm
8: 7:45, 174 bpm
9: 6:53, 173 bpm
10: 7:12, 174 bpm
11: 7:02, 173 bpm
12: 7:25, 176 bpm
13: 7:22, 179 bpm
0.1 - 1:08, 183 bpm

The race was on a Saturday, which was great because that gave us Saturday night to just relax. Erin was a trooper and she got up at O-Dark 30 to drive me 45 minutes into Nashville. It was great to catch up with her during the ride. Traffic was ridiculous getting off the exit ramp - I ended up just getting out of the car and I luckily found a bus right away. Luck was on my side again and I found a short porta-potty line. I figured I had plenty of time to get to the start, but as I was trying to get up to my corral, the gun went off 15 minutes early. There was some bad weather expected and they wanted to do what they could to get the race started as early as possible. So, I started at the tail end of my corral, which was rather nice because I was basically running on my own until the fast people from the corral behind me caught up.
My overall time was 1:37:00, which isn't my best time, but I was still pleased with it overall. I had a mile under 7:00 and I didn't fall apart at the end. I felt good and felt like I was getting faster towards the end. I also had a kick at the end, something I haven't had in awhile. I was 16th in my AG (out of 3,515) and the 40th girl overall (out of 15,254). And I kept it together mentally to keep on pace during the whole race. It was alot hillier than I had anticipated - fortunately, most of the hills were all before mile 8 and then there were some nice downhills. This is the first race that Erin had watched me run, and I knew she was at the finish, so I wanted to kick it in as best as possible.

Erin and I stayed and watched the first marathoners come in. And as they came across the finish line, the clouds started rolling in. We had a great afternoon of watching movies, eating ice cream and candy, and chatting. Until the tornado alarms started up. The power went off and this is where we ended up:
In the closet - four people and two dogs. The wind was like nothing we'd ever heard and when we went outside into the backyard after the storm passed, there were leaves strewn all over every side of the fence and their house - shows that the wind was swirling - kind of freaky.

Anyway, the visit to Tennessee was fantastic. I've missed Erin ever since we moved away from Saint Mike's after senior year. I've basically been in DC since 2004, but Erin has been living in Korea, Washington State, Iraq... Tennessee is the closest she has lived to me since we lived down the hall from each other in college. And Reagan was such a super easy baby - just happy and smiley and giggly all of the time. Erin and Ashley have their daily routine down to a science. I was very impressed. Makes my morning routine seem like a mess. It was a great weekend of just catching up, hanging out, and spending time together. I can't wait to go down there and visit again - but there is a great possibility they will be stopping through DC in July on their was back to Tennessee after being up in NH, which will be great.

More posts to come - up next: the Kinetic 1/2 Ironman Race Report.