Eagleman 70.3 6/12/11
The weekend before Eagleman, I was in Deep Creek Lake, MD (home of the Savageman course). In addition to riding what had to be the hardest half-iron bike course I have ever had the pleasure to be on (with 22% graded climbs), I also managed to filet my right pointer finger with a sharp bread knife- inducing massive panic and requiring a couple stitches. Great. Nice one, Kate. There goes any swim workouts for the week. Thank goodness to some Lovely Girls to keep my head on during the whole ordeal.
We decided to travel down to VA early to spend some time with my nephews, sister and my brother-in-law...it was on the car ride down that I decided to go ahead and get a swim skin/speedsuit/whatever-the-hell they are calling them these days. I called every damn tri/cycle/swim shop in the No. Virginia/Maryland/DC area and found one store with the one I wanted- the Blueseventy PZ3TX. We stopped in at the shop, tried on the suit- and much to my dismay, the suit was too big...So I called Blueseventy, spoke with Mike Orton and had the suit overnighted to the hotel we were staying at near the race venue. I then called the hotel, let them know that the package was coming and was assured that the package would be signed for...yeah, right. I then headed off to the local urgent care to have these damn stitches removed. Was told by the physician on staff to keep the area "clean and dry" for the next few days...umm, I will be swimming in a giant cesspool of germs and bacteria on Sunday...so...
We made it into Easton, MD around 6:45p- I went straight to the front desk and inquired about the package. No package. Son of a beesting- I just knew this was going to happen. I made a quick call to Blueseventy, spoke with Mike again who checked the UPS website and told me that the hotel denied my package. Long story short- called UPS and after quite a heated discussion, I was told that it was just too bad- that package would be redelivered to the hotel on Monday. Great. So I had resigned to the fact that I would not be racing in anything but my tri top and tri shorts (which didn't settle well, since my swim times have been so unusually slow for me) and we decided to leave for dinner. As we were driving to dinner, Foof (or Rich- if you want his real name) spotted a UPS truck out of the corner of his eye in the very back of a shopping center. We looked at each other and thought- what the hell, it's worth a shot. We pulled up to the truck and I approached the driver- told him my name and said I was hoping he could help me locate the driver with my package (mind you it's 7:45p on a Friday night at this point)- he looks at me and says "I have it". Holy Crap!!! Crazy thing that went right #1!!!
We got up early on Saturday, waited for my sister to get into town and then headed down to the race registration to pick up packets, turn in our bikes, do a practice swim. After getting registered, we headed down to the swim start with my sister and her friend, Darren Wrigley. This was Darren's first half-IM (yay, Darren!) I had put a "sport" band-aid on, which slipped off in the first five minutes of swimming... oh well! We then took a quick spin on our bikes-- and I got to test out the new race wheels (complete with a powertap, YAY!!!). Throughout the day, I took three salt stick electrolyte caps. We turned in our bikes and then headed to Scossa's for an early dinner. If you ever find yourself in Easton- please don't miss this place- fantastic Italian and the maitre d' is hilarious! We got back to the hotel, put together nutrition for the race, did some really good trigger point therapy work and we were all asleep by 9:30p.
3:30a: I wake up to a cacophony of snoring...tell the noise-makers to roll over and then proceed to lay there staring at the clock for 45 minutes. Six hours of sleep-- not that bad... Went down to the lobby to toast bagels, and around 4:30a, I ate a cinnamon raisin bagel with honey and peanut butter. I got in the shower to warm up my muscles, then did some really good stretching. I usually will drink a cup of coffee before a race, but I was afraid of coming down, as I would have a two hour lag from drinking it and my wave start-- so I skipped it. I sipped on 2 scoops of Ironman Perform (mixed w/H2O in a 20 oz bottle) and took another salt stick tablet. We packed up, and headed south to the race venue. We got to transition, and went right to work setting up- Foof came around to inflate my tires...BAAAMMMM, back tire blows!! Without a word, he ran over to the bike mechanics tent and had the tube changed. Good thing it went BEFORE the race!!
We left transition around 6:35, I ate my pre-race banana, which was so ripe it was hard to choke down and then waited in the forever long potty line. Darren's wave went off at 7:26...my wave was next-- 7:42. I sat there for a moment, with my eyes closed and tried to get into a peaceful state- which actually worked!! I decided in that moment that I had to approach this race differently. Instead of always worrying about the next leg (worrying about the bike when I was swimming, the run while I was cycling), I was just going to concentrate on the task that was directly in front of me. Women under 39 were called into the water, and I weaved my way up to the very front. I looked around and found the ladies that I thought would be fast (I like to think I have fast swimmer radar) and stealthily slid myself near them. Saw a friend-- was asked "so, are you going for Kona on this one?" Me: "sure, who isn't?" We talked briefly about frankenfoot and frankenfinger and she said "you have the worst luck"...hmm, I guess it depends on how you look at things :) And then the gun went off...
Swim hard, swim hard, swim "lactate threshold" HARD!!! First ~200 yards I swam as hard as my arms would take me, then backed it off a little. Find feet, find feet, FIND SOME EFFING FEET!!!! Goodness this water was hard to see through...found three ladies all jockeying it out to be first-- perfect, I'll just tuck behind the three of them-- that is like a super-duper draft!! Had to keep a moderate-strong pace to keep with them, so I knew it was a good fit. I'm pretty sure we were some of the top women, as I didn't see any light blue caps ahead. We were cruising along, all three of them in a nice broad horizontal line in front of me and started to come to the first turn buoy. What are they doing??? They all three cut in and went to cut the first buoy (essentially, cutting the swim course short). As I watched it happening, I actually considered it for a split second- to follow them and then didn't even give it another thought-- if I was going to do well in this race, I want to do well and not cheat. So there goes my draft...oh, well...I fought to try to find feet for the rest of the swim as I was kind of alone at that point. As I rounded the second turn buoy, I then notice those three ladies and a couple more way ahead...argh. I am usually a strong swimmer, but my swim has kind of suffered for the last couple of weeks (and this course was known to be slow), so I was expecting to finish around 36 or 37 minutes. I got close to the shore and saw people start to stand up and trudge through knee deep water...suckers-- I passed the walkers and I continued to swim until my fingers were hitting sand. Look up-- 34:40. HOT DAMN!!! Suh-weet!!!!! 7th place out of the swim
Had an issue getting the PZ3TX unzipped as there was no leash?!?! Blueseventy needs to consider putting a leash on that suit! Transition time sucked because of my struggle. Got out to the road, mounted my bike and off I went. No cadence reading. Dammit. I was so frustrated and then about 25 minutes in I said-- Universe, please help me out here...and as soon as that thought entered my mind, cadence was back on! Coach Cliff gave me a wattage range and now that I had my own race wheels with a powertap hub- I was going to be able to keep track of it! I had packed my bike with a bottle containing approx 24 oz of water with about 8.5-9 scoops of Carbopro, three salt stick caps and three Nuun Kona Cola electrolyte tabs- enough for three hours if mixed with water from the course (in my aerobottle). I also had taped one Hammergel espresso gel to the top tube to have 25 min into the ride. I had charged the joule the night before- but have been having a problem with the thing keeping a charge, so it came as no surprise to me when at about 30-45 min into my cycling leg I started getting the flashing "battery low" message-- (usually what happens then- is it will flash on and off for a couple minutes and then it's out). Fuck. Oh, heaven- please help me out with this one. I need to be able to see these numbers. You helped me with my cadence, please help me with my battery. And as soon as that thought went through my head, the battery indicator shot up to three bars!!! Woohoo!! Crazy thing #2 that went right! Speed felt good- about a mod pace and then about 45 min in, the bloat started coming on. This has been a problem for me- the liquids just sit in my belly, ugh. At about 90 mins in, I picked up the pace and effort. As we made our way back to transition, I held that pace/effort and backed off just a little with only a couple miles to go- but increased my cadence. I was hoping to come in under 2hr 35 min, so was super happy to see my 2:34 bike time. Racked my bike, my sister ran up and asked how I felt- probably spent too much time worrying about relaying a good message for Coach. Slipped my shoes on, grabbed my hat, my salt stick holder and 8 oz Fuel Belt flask filled with water and 3 scoops of Carbopro-- which fits perfectly stuffed in my running bra (God knows there's not much else in there, hahaha). Crappy transition time, AGAIN!! Dammit-- I need to get this shit under control!! 3rd place off the bike
I started, as usually with high turnover- first three miles were suppose to be easy. I was not wearing a HR monitor, because Polar is not compatible with the bike equipment- which means I either don't have HR for the bike or the run and since I am much better at gauging my effort on my run, I chose to go by feel. I was running at about a 7:30 pace- to my legs, it felt easy, but my belly was sloshing away- which made me want to barf. I then got my first muscle seizure- L sartorius- popped a salt stick tab and it was gone. I was stopping at every stop to take in a cup of Gatorade and a cup of water, fill my hat with ice and take a small sip of the Carbopro flask. From about mile 4-8, I was vacillating between 7:30 and 8:00 min pace because of the Buddha belly and SEVERE muscle-cramping. Coach's game plan given to me was to pick it up from 5-10 and then run like hell from 10 to the finish. I was at times able to pick it up to about a 6:45 pace, but then the cramps would come back- would take a salt stick tab and felt better- but the last mile my calves all but completely seized up. It was hard to tell what place I was in, because everyone's body marking had worn off, so I had no idea who was in what age group. I passed someone and she said "nice pace- you're now in second place" I said "how far ahead is first?" She said "umm...pretty far". No reason not to try to catch her. I pushed as hard as I could for those last three miles, but felt like hell- my calves were seizing so badly. I made it to the last turn, put on the turbo boosters and then hit the finish line- 4:54. About four minutes off what I was expecting, and six minutes off what I really wanted, but I still got second in my AG at Eagleman, so I was happy. Overall place: 2nd in AG
Things that went right: I kept a good pace during the swim, and had the feet I was drafting off of not decided to cut the swim, I would have had a draft for the rest of the swim. I stayed in my head and in the moment during the swim and bike- not worrying about what was "up next".
Things that need improvement: 1. Looking at the power information, I absolutely could have pushed harder on the bike. 2. My nutrition was awful-- I think I didn't drink enough water on the bike, and forced more than what my stomach could handle of a high-calorie liquid. The nutrition on the bike DESTROYED my run. I should have run a 7:10-7:20 pace on that run...and I didn't-- between feeling like puking from a bloated stomach and the severe cramping, I'm surprised that I ran a 7:40 pace. 3. My transitions sucked.
There are only 28 Kona slots given out at Eagleman- and only one slot for my AG, so my chances of getting it was 50% (first place in my AG would have to decline the slot)....after a slight panic trying to get the documents that I needed should they call my name, I took a seat and waited...and waited...and waited. And finally it happened-- I QUALIFIED FOR KONA!!! I was so delirious and shocked and excited that I nearly passed out! How exciting! A big thanks to my sister for running around like a mad woman trying to get my drivers license and a big ol' thanks to Joe Donahue for "loaning" me a check from his check book!!
Hard work gets you nowhere without manifestation of your dreams and what you want to happen (and not what you don't), a positive attitude and gratitude for your blessings. Don't ever, ever, EVER give up on your dreams!
I need to thank Coach Cliff Scherb for taking so much time and care in creating a program specifically for me and my success! I would be lost without the top-notch staff at Cycles 54 keeping me and my bike in good condition. Leanne Arcuri at Bodies 21 Massage in Manasquan, Dr. Liz Perez in Wall and Karen Foote, reiki extraordinaire in Manahawkin all do a damn good job of keeping me healthy (physically AND mentally). And, of course, I would not be able to do any of this without the endless support and love from my awesome husband and dear family and friends. I love you all and am so grateful to have you in my life.
Stay tuned...Ironman Lake Placid is up next!!