Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thoughts On Ironman Nutrition

So we're driving in a motorhome through the very large (yet beautiful!) state of Montana... We just stopped at a gas station and for whatever reason I felt the need to buy junk food... B/c, you know, if there's ever a time when you're justified in eating crap it's after an Ironman, right? I couldn't actually find anything that looked good and when I asked Moana what she wanted to eat she said carrots (I swear I am not making that up!) but whatever- I bought Twizzlers. When I was in college I pretty much lived on Twizzlers and was sure they we're fine to eat because they are FAT FREE. Lol. Anyway, I haven't had Twizzlers in years and actually only ate one. It was nasty. Moana, on the other hand, ate four (I was being such an uncharacteristic push-over) and then she cried out "I don't want carrots!!" Perfect.

Anyway, yesterday somebody made a comment to me about how I was lucky that I didn't have any GI upset on Sunday. This actually was the first time I've done an ironman where I did not have debilitating stomach issues. Not sure if that was just dumb luck though. I did some things differently this time around that helped my cause so I'll share them with you here...

1. I had a nutrition plan and I followed it. And I didn't pull the nutrition plan out of my ass. There was no question in my mind about what/when I would eat because I practiced it every single week in training. I don't eat a bunch of crap on my long training days and then change it up for race day. Fwiw, I fuel my training with infinit, first endurance liquid shot, gu, e21, and vespa (more on vespa in a minute). Every time in training I counted out the total calories I thought I needed and consumed them all. I knew what worked for me and just did that same thing on race day. I didn't even have to think about it.

2. I did not ride outside my fitness level on the bike. This was the first ironman where I used a heart rate monitor on the bike and it almost felt like cheating. I did not have to guess about how fast/hard I should be riding. I just put in the effort that was required to get that garmin to show me the numbers I wanted to see (or backed off as necessary). Incidentally, this was pretty much the same effort I trained at much of the time. I was passed by *so many* men on that first lap... The mood felt frantic as many of them would just POWER up those hills. I dont think this is the only thing that causes GI upset on the run, but I think it is more commonly the problem than people like to admit. No one likes to think that they went too hard on the bike, but when you see splits that show a slow down of over a mile/hour from first half to second half, well, the data doesn't lie. And then later when those same athletes puking during the marathon, it's not rocket science to figure out why. If you're putting in an effort that is outside your fitness level for hours at a time, the result just might be that your stomach shuts down.

3. A couple months ago I found a new amino acid product called Vespa and started using it. (Google Vespa Amino Acids- I can't link it from this iPad right now.) It's an all natural form of amino acid that comes from wasp extract... Tastes a bit like honey or bee propolis. It's supposed to support your body's ability to access and utilize fat for fuel. I think it's more popular among the ultra-distance running community vs triathletes right now, but after my experience with it, I think it has its place in Ironman for sure. What I notice when I use it is that I just feel totally steady... No real highs or lows... And I'm able to think more clearly which allows me to make better decisions even late in the game. For me, it has not replaced my need to fuel endurance training/racing with carbohydrates, but it has provided a bit of insurance so I don't have to eat as much, which might have also contributed to my lack of GI upset during the marathon. While I was definitely melting down some toward the end on Sunday, I don't believe it was fuel related. As much as I hate to admit this, I think it was just a combination of needing more aerobic fitness and more muscular endurance. But that's another post. Anyway, I've used vespa on all my long/key training days in the last few months as well as at Honu and CdA. I'm not going to change much about my fueling strategy this summer or at Kona. Seems like a case of the If It Ain't Broke.... Anyway, if you want more info on it, contact Peter@vespapower.com. He's been very supportive and a huge help to me when it comes to understanding how to best use it!

Anyway, getting your ironman nutrition right is a huge challenge. It took me 10 tries to finally get it right. Hopefully this info will help you get it right quicker than I did!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ironman War Stories

I always have a hard time sleeping the night after Ironman. We just got home from watching the last midnight finishers and I am just too ramped up to sleep so figured, what better time then to update my blog? Disclaimer: I've had a few beers.

I'm not going to write up a full blow by blow race report but I will note down some of the things I remember from today.

The Swim: It was cold. And I had this incredible need to burp for most of it. When I finally got to burp it was such a huge relief. That came about 55 minutes into my 58 minute swim.

Nalani is such a rock star. 1st amateur woman out of the water. In fact, the only female who beat her today was Julie Dibens. I think she wins some super prize from TYR for that.

There were no hot tubs in transition. WTF?? Obviously I took my time anyway. Mostly b/c I was all numb and couldn't function. Thank goodness for change tent volunteer women! One of mine was from Honululu! She was like, "What do I do with these chemical foot warmer things??" Lol.

Speaking of the chemical foot warmer things... People were like "Are you really going to use those things??" I was like, "Um, YES. Are you really NOT going to use them??" Those things are just flat out genius for bike shoes on cold days.

I never felt super on the bike today. But looking at the splits tonight maybe that was a good thing? I had a rather evenly split 112 miles, even if it wasn't as fast as I was hoping/expecting. It was rather uneventful. But I was on my brakes a lot. This course is full of steep downhills followed by rather sharp turns. I will do better on the Kona course.

Smeone posted a bunch of signs along the bike course... Pictures of badgers with sayings like "The Ironman doesn't care..." It was hysterical and totally made me smile (watch the video I linked to on my previous post if you don't understand this).

Thank goodness for the avg pace feature on the garmin. I took off on the run at what felt like a snails pace... I was afraid to look b/c I thought it would say something like 9:30 pace... Um, 8:12. Yikes. I backed off even more but could not get it down to 8:45 like coach told me to start... Well, until mile 5-6 when we started climbing what seemed like a giant hill. Then 9:30 pace was no problem.

So there was Kerrie giving me shit every time she saw me on an out and back (3 times)... At mile 23 there was one of those 'Motivational Message Boards'... I was expecting something from Scott that would say something along the lines of "Mama's Superfast!" (Moana's favorite saying these days). Instead I saw "I'm coming for you! ;)" Indeed. I was walking at mile 25 (I know- who does that?? I was dying and just over it) and I heard her yell at me "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!" I put my head down and let her pass me and then just wallowed in my own misery.

After (almost) the longest 1/2 mile ever known to man, another gal passed me... Patted me on the back, and then ran on. There was a 36 on her calf and I was too brain dead at first to realize what was happening... Um, did I just lead my age group in this race for 10 hours and 50 minutes only to be passed in the last 1/2 mile?????? She had a decent gap on me by the time I regrouped and tried to answer and by then it was too late. She beat me to the line by ~10 seconds. (By the way, in case you were wondering, that last 1/2 mile today was the longest 1/2 mile ever known to man.) I was VERY confused when I was reunited with my phone and saw like 80 messages congratulating me on my 'win'... (Thanks for that btw- Awesome!! Sorry ti disappoint you now with this news...) Somehow this gal was not included in the timing?? I don't know, but I bet she's pissed. I'll vouch for her tomorrow at the awards if there are any questions. She beat me today fair and square. As did Kerrie. But I'm looking forward to a rematch with both of these girls. I've got more in me. I'm sure of it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

All My Bags Are Packed I'm Ready To Go

We just dropped our bikes and T-bags in transition so there's nothing left to do but relax and eat dinner and get some sleep.

Moana really wanted to help me get ready. She put all the #443 stickers on my bags, and they are all on mostly pretty straight. Then she wanted to help me pack my bags. She put her crayons and bubbles in my run special needs bag. And offered up her blankie for my bike bag (that's true love right there). Even so, I asked Grammy to take her out to the playground for the rest of the morning so I could actually consult my lists and get the right stuff in the right bag. Packing for an Ironman is complicated. Especially a cold one like this. I thought maybe I was going to need two bags to hold all my T1 stuff but by some miracle I got it all in just the one.

My prediction for tomorrow... T2 is going to be faster than T1.

Anyway, I finally started to get over myself today and decided that regardless of how cold it's going to be, I just need to buck up and get it done. It's cold? Whatever. The Ironman doesn't care. The Ironman goes swimming.

See you on the flip side! And thanks for your virtual cheers. Really. It means a lot. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Some Like It Hot

I just got out of yet another hot bath. I've been taking like 2/day trying to get my body temperature up to normal. It's not warm here.

So overnight the lake temp dropped another couple degrees. At last check the graph thing (I should really just stop looking at that graph) said 12.7 degrees Celsius. I then go the to converter to find out what that really means (I should just stop doing that too) and see 54.8. Super.

I swam this morning with Laura O'Meara. We lasted about 7 minutes before heading to shore (and another hot bath). I think it would take a whole bunch of adrenaline and a cannon going off and a timing chip around my ankle to make me go any further in that lake. Luckily(?) I think all that is coming my way on Sunday. Yikes.

So my plan is to dress like an Eskimo on the bike. And coach gave me the thumbs up for sitting in the hot tub in T1 (I'm not kidding- he really did!) I think it's my best/only hope at having functional muscles for the rest of the day. I know some of you love riding/running in 50-60 degrees but I'm telling you, there is a reason I live in Hawaii...

I rode the first part of the bike course this afternoon with Krista and Theresa and Matt and some others from AZ. Of course I didn't pay much attention to any of it b/c I was too busy chatting it up with my old pals... Seemed a bit windy and I was not hot wearing a full coat at noon (it was 64 but the wind is cold!) Krista (love her!) brought me toe warmers for my bike shoes so along with the chemical foot warmer things I plan to put in my shoes, I'm guessing I should be able to feel my feet within an hour after leaving the hot tub in T1. :) Those of you from Minnesota/Chicago/Michigan (you know who you are) feel free to laugh. I can take it!

In good news, my mom arrived today! Moana was just thrilled to see her... Within minutes Grammy had Moana dressed up like Minny Mouse (ears and all!) and Moana is napping right now in her new outfit.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Aloha from Coeur d'Alene... Where the Hawaii girls are huddled up next to the space heaters.

Krista told me that the weather here was schizophrenic and she was right. Yesterday, beautiful blue sky and warm sun and 85 degrees. I was almost ready to sell the Hawaiian condo and buy a house on Hayden lake! But then today quickly changed my mind. 50's and wind and loud cracking thunder/lightening with some rain thrown in (and somebody said hail??). Yikes.

We swam again this morning. Yesterday the lake was all glassy- calmer than the pool water we train in. Today, the winds were up so it was in Super-Chop mode, which was actually quite exciting for me. I told Nalani, "If it's going to be 50 degrees out and we're going to be swimming in 57 degree water, it might as well be truly epic with Super-Chop too, you know?" So there you go. We'll call it epic this morning. Though the swim itself was fine, I was a frozen Popsicle for several hours afterward until I managed to submerge myself into some hot hot water in my bathtub (which is big enough, by the way, to give Moana swim lessons).

Moana thinks all this is quite exciting too. She traveled like a champ on the long flight(s) and is adjusting pretty well... Though she is about as thrilled with the temps today as I am... She opened the door to the patio because she wanted to go outside today... Then felt the air out there and said 'NOPE!' and came right back in. Apples don't fall far from trees.

Anyway, ignore my T1 time on Sunday. I hear there will be hot tubs in the transition area so I'm thinking I may spend some time in one of those thawing out prior to getting in my bike.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Victim Of Over-Choice

The other night Scott and I got to go out on a date (I know, awesome, right!?) and one of the things we talked about was what were each looking forward to most in the coming weeks... I was a victim of over-choice when it came to picking a single thing... there are so many things I'm looking forward to! In no particular order:

~Finally getting to do this Ironman I've been training for all year. I smile when I think about that.

~Getting to meet Krista! I've been coaching her since January and totally feel like I know her even though we have not actually met in person. I think we're going to get along really well and I also think she is about to bust out a huge Ironman PR. This will be her 4th one.

~Witnessing three of my other athletes complete their first Ironman! I want to hug each of them at the finish line. I've totally enjoyed answering all their last minute questions this past week...

~Taking Moana to Idaho and seeing her interact with my mom... and my dad... and his wife and my little brother (no worries- everybody gets along splendidly). I'd like to say that my mom can't wait to watch me race but I'm not kidding myself... While I know she's excited to see Scott and me, it's really all about Moana... no really, that's cool... Moana has been wanting to get on the airplane and go see Grammy now for weeks! Every morning she has been waking up and saying, "Mom, can I go to Idaho?" Yes, sweetie, but not today... We'll go on Tuesday... as if that means anything to her... I guess tomorrow it will mean something.

~Meeting a bunch of other blogger/FB friends who, again, I feel like I sort of know but have never met... Kiet, Mary, Mark, Kate, Teresa, Jessie... and then there are my friends from AZ, Theresa and Matt and Russ, who will be there with their crew(s)... and my Coffees of Hawaii boss, Albert (cheer for him- he's the one who's responsible for the Floating Espresso Bar in Kona every year. He'll probably win his age group again here for like the 8th year in a row...) And then there's my good friend Jennifer who is the new TYR rep... and Laura who is the Powerbar rep who I'll want to catch up with a bit at the expo... Oh, and how could I forget my arch-rival, Kerrie? I've had more fun smack talking with her via FB these last few months... (Every time my phone dings and I see 'Kerrie Wlad has posted on your wall' I'm like, Oh boy... here we go again. I wonder what she wrote this time... Lol.) I was telling Scott that I am going to have to try really hard to balance out my desire to be social and hang with all these fun people yet also save a bit of energy to race. Yikes. That might be a tough balance.

~Post-race party. Enough said. I plan on being hung-over next Monday. Maybe Tuesday too.

~Camping in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks the week after the race! I know Scott and Kurt (Nalani's husband) are going to want to hike and cruise all around these beautiful parks. But I've already informed them- I'm going to be the one with my feet up in the hammock with a coffee or a beer (depending on the time of day), looking at the mountains and chatting with my dad. Being mellow. That's what I'm looking forward to.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Nose As A Saltwater Faucet

For Father's Day today Scott got to go to the beach to play with his wife and daughter! Ok, really he got to roll out of bed before the sun came up (but don't worry I had fresh coffee brewed for him by the time he stumbled downstairs) and he got dragged to an ocean swim race I was doing... He is such a trooper. But it was fun, I swear!

We had our typical rough choppy ocean conditions in Kailua this morning for the Popoi'a Swim. No one really knows how long it is... I think they guess 1.6ish miles. It's not for the faint of heart and has a reputation of being one of the most challenging ocean races on Oahu each year because the wind causes such choppy conditions on his side of Oahu. And back behind Flat Island lots of times there are significant waves to navigate (i.e. dive under before they crash on you). Hence, only ~150 people show up to this one vs the 500+ who attend the North Shore Swims all summer.

In the past I have not really liked this swim... even though I typically like choppy conditions... But today I really did truly enjoy it. I didn't feel much competitiveness with anyone present... and certainly no pressure at all. I think that made it easier to embrace the conditions. That, and hearing some of the quotes from my friends prior to the race start... like from my crazy friend, Mark: I'm looking forward to the adventure! (He was very serious- he would not make that up!) So I adopted his attitude. Yes! Looking forward to the adventure! The harder the better! Bring it on.

The swim was basically about 15 min of swimming along the shore to get to Popoi'a (Flat Island) then swim around the island and back.

In good news they put a couple of buoys back behind Flat Island which forced us to go way wide... important b/c if you get too close to the island as you're circling it you can get slammed into the reef by white water crashing waves (I made that mistake a couple years ago and had the blood running down my leg to prove it). Of course nearly everyone around me missed the first buoy so we were all redirected by the lifeguards on jet skis to go back and around it. No worries. I dove under some crashing waves (like 6 of them) to get to that buoy but called it fun. It really was! Then coming around the other side we got rewarded with a bit of body surfing action. More fun! Then it was ~15 min swim mostly along the shore back to the finish buoy. I could see some swimmers ahead of me and could see that little by little I was gaining on them... My old swimming rival from years past has moved away (bummer!) so I didn't think I had anyone in my age group to really grit my teeth and RACE... so while I was sort of trying to catch those swimmers ahead of me, in truth I didn't *really* care like I used to with Jana... though I will say this... when my hands hit the sand and I popped up and saw that there was a woman just ahead of me, I absolutely sprinted by and beat her to the line. So I will not pretend I was not feeling competitive there at the end. ;) Here's a video to prove it. Notice the windsurfer who just about takes us all out around that last buoy! Ha!

Anyway, after the race we hung out and had breakfast on the beach and drank more coffee. It was very social and a super way to spend a Sunday morning. Then when we got home I was cleaning the kitchen and leaning over to load some dishes into the dishwasher (don't be jealous of my glamorous life) and a bunch of salt water just came rushing out my nose. Ah, the joys of roughwater swimming.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Head In The Sand

So this morning Nalani and I were sitting on the side of the pool trying to convince ourselves to get in and get wet. We felt kinda cold so getting wet wasn't so appealing. (It was ~75 degrees out and the water was ~80.) We made mental note to remember that feeling of 'cold' because surely we are going to have a new understanding of 'cold' next week.

I told Nalani that I just had my head in the sand... I am in total and complete denial about what we will experience in CdA... so she found this picture and posted it on my FB wall. At least she and I are in this thing together.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Don't Think About It

Yikes! This week is flying by. I feel like I've had so much to get taken care of and somehow everyday passes and suddenly it's 4:00 already and I need to stop working and go get Moana and I'm like yep, didn't get half the things on my list done... again.

Yet here I am blogging. Lol. Clearly it's not that dire. Or else I just really need a break from writing training programs.

My bike is currently being wrenched on by a good friend of mine. Seems like I have just abused that thing 'til no end this year and most of the time it is barely even shifting. Dennis looked at it before Honu and just sort of shook his head (as all mechanics do when they see my bike). He did a nice job tuning it up for me though and making sure it would be working well for me there on the Big Island... but then he told me that prior to taking it to Idaho I would need a new bottom bracket and chain (again? I swear I just had that chain replaced!?! 3000 miles goes by quickly when you're training for an Ironman I guess...) So that is what he's doing to it now. I will say this though, having your bike worked on by someone who you know truly cares about you and wants nothing more than for you to have a perfect race with a perfectly functioning machine feels awesome. I know Dennis is treating my bike like it is his own baby, which kinda gives me goosebumps. I'll get it back tomorrow and I have no doubt it'll be in the best shape it could possibly be.

Anyway, 10 days 'til Ironman. I am feeling remarkably calm. Ridiculously calm. Like, have I not even thought about what I am about to do? Because if I were to think about it I'm sure I'd be quite anxious. But then maybe that's the ticket to staying calm before an Ironman? Just don't think about it. I will say this- I have four athletes who are also doing CdA (3 first timers!!) and I was reading through their race plans yesterday and that definitely caused some butterflies to start fluttering in my stomach. But maybe more for them than for me? I remember my first Ironman. Oh my. I'm not sure it gets much better than that... Crossing the finish line the first time... no matter what the clock says... it's just absolutely magical! I love Ironman! (Remind me of that in case the weather forecast doesn't change and it's 50-60 degrees and raining all day next Sunday. I really need to not think about that. Whatever though, right? I rode in rain more often than I care to even talk about this year (see previous paragraph about the sorry state of my bike)... But it wouldn't be the rain that would bug me. It would be the 50-60 degrees. I just do not have clothes/blood for that. Ok. Stop thinking about that, Michelle. Just stop.)

Moving on.

Moana is stoked to get on an airplane again. I told her the other night that we were going to Idaho on an airplane, and that Grammy was going to be there too. She walked straight to the door and put her shoes on and said "YES! Let's go to Idaho on an airplane and see Grammy!" She was totally ready to go. I think she may be in for a shock though when we board that plane and don't get off 40 minutes later on another warm island. Because isn't that what always happens when we get on an airplane?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lucky 11

My favorite number has always been 11. When I was a kid I would sometimes just sit and wait and stare at the clock until it said 11:11 so I could make a wish.

As it turns out, 2011 seems to be a lucky year for me. Yesterday (June 11th) my name got drawn out of a hat for a spot to race in Kona in October. That will be my 11th Ironman!
They picked 20 Hawaii residents out of a hat or something last night. I think just about every local athlete was refreshing Facebook for hours last night waiting for the list to be published somewhere... It was frustrating knowing that the names had been picked yet no one seemed to be able to tell us anything. I finally gave up and went to bed... but right before I fell asleep I heard a DING on my phone... it was a friend of mine sending me a message of congrats... so then I had to get up and come downstairs to check and see for myself. That's when I saw this list. Holy cow. It was true.

So there you go!  Last year, bad luck kept me out of Kona. This year, good luck got me in. Maybe racing the World Championships really is all about luck? 

Regardless, I am excited for a lot of reasons. Now I can go race at CdA without any real pressure. Phew. Truth be told, when Nalani got her spot last week I felt this enormous wave of pressure like now I MUST GET IN TO KONA... whereas before that is was just I REALLY WANT TO GET IN TO KONA... And while a lot of it is about the race experience there (it is awesome!) much of it has to do with the fact that I am just not done training for Ironman. And what I mean by that is that I have enjoyed the hell out of this process this year... I love training for Ironman... And now that CdA is only 2 weeks away, well, the training for that is pretty much done. And while I guess I should feel a sense of relief or something, really I am actually kinda bummed. Seriously, I love getting up on Saturday mornings and riding 100 miles by myself in 20mph winds and then running for an hour... I love surviving on Infinit and GU and Liquid Shot and e21. And the 20 mile run the next day? It's become one of my favorite workouts. I swear I am not even kidding. 

Now you know why my athletes (fondly, I think?) call me BatShitCrazy.

So good news, my friends... after I recover from CdA, I'll get to start over and do it all again. That totally makes me smile. :)

In other news, this morning I got to do a 40K Team Time Trial with the Pac Velo gals. It dumped rain all night last night so the roads were all wet this morning... and the wind was howling as usual... Not ideal conditions to be riding hard and drafting on your TT bike! Our #1 goal was to finish upright and of course we did that. And we won too, but that wasn't hard to do considering no other team managed to scrounge up 4 women for a team. I have to say though, riding with these strong experienced women was a real pleasure today. We were solid and had no issues whatsoever. See? Check me out... lazy ass just hanging out there on the back. 

OK. I wasn't that lazy. Like a good little triathlete, I went running afterward. :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hawaii 70.3: I Went For It

What a super weekend! Honu is absolutely an amazing event... Really... The only thing I am bummed about is that we have to wait until next year to do it again. :)

Like I said in my pre-race post, my plan was to get after it from the start and see what happened... I knew my age group was stacked with amazing runners and while I did not realistically think I could win it, I sure was gonna try anyway! The way coach and I saw it, I had nothing to lose by jamming on the bike and then just trying to hang on for the run...

Without going into boring pre-race details, I'll just say it was all perfect.

Logistically everything was taken care of and my head was in the right place. I jogged a little pre-race warm up down the beach where I was completely alone, I looked out into the vast beautiful ocean and smiled. I reminded myself how much I love this, how blessed I am to get to do this today... then I dove into the water and swam a very relaxed easy warm up back to the start buoy. I was in my happy place. The swim at Hapuna Beach is without a doubt one of the best in the world.

1400 people in a mass start situation was good practice for CdA.
I actually much prefer mass starts over wave starts. It was crowded for the first few minutes but not violently so and I just I reminded myself that I just had to get around the first two buoys and then I would be with my people... By that point everyone around you is more or less the same speed as you so it's easy to just settle in and swim. And that's exactly how it went for me. I was pretty much in a pack the whole time and just stretched it out and swam at what felt like a strong but sustainable effort and then all of a sudden the swim was over. I hit the timing mat in low 29 and called it good.

Heading out on my bike I thought I heard someone tell me I was the 4th woman?? That surprised me. (Last year there were way more fast fish in the field b/c I think I was more like 10th heading out onto the bike.) I think maybe a few more gals swam faster than me yesterday but I got them in transition or something. Regardless, that was good by me. In reality, I was actually 5th heading out on the bike, but whatever. It was good. I passed two women right away in the first ~5 minutes then settled into again what I felt like was a strong but sustainable effort.

My plan was to not wear a watch- just race by feel- but in the end I decided to start my watch. I made this decision based on the fact that it was not nearly as windy as I thought it might be, which made me think the bike wouldn't be super slow or anything so I could see the time and not get irritated.

Anyway, la la la... I was riding fast. Too fast? Didn't feel like it. It didn't feel hard. But it felt fast. And I was riding (legally) with some guys I know and I knew they were fast. I questioned myself- should I be doing this? Check again Michelle... full system check... legs were fine. Check. Breathing was fine. Check. Everything was fine. Check. All systems go. I gave myself permission to keep doing what I was doing.

Part way up the climb to Hawi I saw a long ponytail on the rider in front of me. Um, now what do I do? It didn't really feel right to me to pass Bree. Oh my. Maybe I was being a complete idiot. But riding at what felt like a very sustainable effort I was right up in her draft zone so I had no choice. I rode by. She's such a class act and gave out a whooping holler cheer Go Mama! And I gave her a thumbs up and continued on my way. I saw another pro woman flying down the hill as I was still climbing and at the turn around in Hawi I was told I was second. Excuse my language here but, um, HOLY SHIT.

I flew down that hill. The winds were kinda gusty at that point but nothing out of the ordinary and honestly it felt like I had a tailwind all day. I really do think the winds were in our favor because looking at the results after the race, just about everyone rode several minutes faster than what they had done in the past... I will say this though... I came through mile 50 and glanced at my watch and saw 2:15 or something ridiculous like that... Did another full system body system check and decided I was just fine and would be able to run and then without even thinking I let out a whooping YEE HAW!!! Yes. I yelped that out loud. There was no one around to hear me so you'll just have to take my word for it. But I swear that is true. :)

One other thing I'm happy to mention here... Somewhere like mile 45ish I saw the draft marshall go by me again... same gal who had gone by on the back of a motorcycle probably 7x through this bike ride... and she smiled at me and gave me a big thumbs up. I took that as a sign that she was telling me that she saw that I rode legally the whole time. Anyone who tells you it is impossible to not get caught up drafting during a mass start race is bullshitting. It is completely possible.

My final bike split was 2:30, which is 8 min faster than I've ever ridden here before. I came into T2 and was just absolutely all smiles and everyone was cheering and it was just surreal. Too bad the race didn't end right there. :) Unfortunately we all still had to run 13.1 miles, much of which was on soft spongy golf course grass... up and down short steep rolling hills... The plan was to chill out and jog an easy first mile then build into it... Well, the first mile was slow but I wouldn't have actually called it easy. Yikes. This might hurt.

I was feeling little twinges of cramping coming on... I've never gotten through this Honu run without major cramping issues... but I've also never raced here with e21 before either. I took them regularly yesterday on the bike and then had more for the run... took 2 right away and the twinges subsided. Phew. That stuff is magic for cramps. Anyway, I found my stride in mile 2 and just once again tried to settle into a strong but manageable pace. I knew the runners were coming after me and that I was being hunted but that is all part of the game and I just kept playing.

Bree passed me back somewhere around mile 2... another pro gal went by not too long thereafter... I had a ton of teammates out there cheering me on which was awesome... lots of out and back sections on this run... Somewhere like mile 3-4 on an out-and-back I saw like 6 women who were within a few minutes of me and most of them had numbers similar to mine- indicating they were in my age group... yikes... here they come... hang on Michelle... just keep doing your thing... drinking Coke... taking e21... dumping ice down my suit... one foot in front of the other... It got hot. And it got hard. Duh.

I did the best I could in this situation I think. I got passed by 8 women total on that run, 3 of whom were pro and 4 of whom were in my age group (I know, right? Those girls are amazing runners.) I ended up running 1:49 which is 3 min faster than I've ever run on this course before. Could I have run faster had I held back more on the bike? Probably. BUT, I bet I wouldn't have run more than 3-5 minutes faster yesterday no matter what my bike effort was so in the end I think my total finishing time would have been right around the same even with a more conservative bike. So I'm happy with how I played the game. In fact, another local coach approached me after the race to say congratulations... He said he liked how I raced... and that he respected how gutsy I was out there on that bike ride. I thought that was cool of him to say.

As always, I crossed the finish line with my hands up in the air and the most genuine smile you've ever seen.

Prior to the race I was hoping I might have a super day and break 5 hours... I told Nalani that I thought my dream day would be 4:58 and 5th in my age group. I ended up 4:53(!!!) and 5th in my age group. I can't really find the words to adequately describe how I felt (still feel!) about this race but I do know that none of this would have been even remotely possible without the guidance of Lucho. I mean, really. That guy taught me how to do this.

Now let's go do an Ironman.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Honu 70.3

I totatally won the Guiness Float race tonight.
4:53. 21 minute PR on this course. Thanks, coach.

We celebrated at the finish. I was 10th OA, 5th AG. Nalani won her age group and is going to Kona!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fresh and Loose

I feel goooooood.

Fresh and Loose. Restless. Edgy. Impatient. Happy. Light. Springy. I'm trying to chill out but my mind is already racing. My feet are tapping. I wanna stand up and dance!

It's like all year I've been operating under this blanket of fatigue and over the last few days that blanket has been lifted... I think I actually operate fairly well under that blanket so it felt scary to start to remove it... but this morning I was swimming with Nalani and just shocking the hell out of myself every time I looked at my watch and I just said to her, "Wow, this rest is powerful stuff."

3 days til Honu. I'm actually going over to Kona this morning and am looking forward to meeting Jennifer... I've been coaching her since January but we've never met in person so that should be fun! She'll be completing her first 1/2 IM on Saturday... I've got 3 other local athletes racing too and I just have a good feeling that it is going to be a super day all around. I love this race. I feel like I've got a good healthy attitude going into it- I'm confident, yet I know that my age group is full of some amazingly fast athletes so I feel like The Underdog with absolutely nothing to lose by just going for it! So that's what I'm going to do and we'll see what happens. :)