Ironman Louisville 2016

Here it is – my race recap that I sent to my coach – getting this out unpolished otherwise it won’t ever get done.  Some bad words are used and punctuation and spell check not included.  Read at your own risk 🙂

The couple weeks leading into the race I felt really good and really rested – this concerned me a little but I kept reminding myself that I have learned from past mistakes that I do much better slightly more rested than not.  I was worried my legs would be dead on race day – but that can happen regardless of your rest.
There had been a lot going on before IM w/ all my athletes racing at Augusta 70.3/ IM CHATT / Nationals so I didn’t feel like I’d really had much time to think about Louisville – certainly not like the focus (obsessing) I had before IM Texas 2016.  I don’t think this was necessarily a bad thing.
I was a little concerned i was getting a sinus infection b/c my ears / teeth / head were hurting a lot the week of the race – but thankfully I warded off whatever might have been coming with Melaleuca and On Guard (essential oils).
We got to LV on Thrusday and checked in – a lesson for the future – this was absolutely awesome. No one was there yet – it was easy and relaxing – and then we didn’t have to go back to the race site until Saturday to check our bikes.  It felt like we actually had time to relax before the race vs. arriving on Friday where there really isn’t time.  Would highly recommend this if it’s an option.
Race morning – we got there SUPER early so we could get a good parking spot and get into transition early.  As w/ arriving on Thursday instead of Friday, I feel like the extra time was really helpful.  We got in and out of transition quickly and w/o any frantic running around and simply went and sat down in line (ie we weren’t on our feet for 2 hours and super stressed out before the race).
 I’d gone to the thrift store so i had a down vest and wool sweater and wool scarf and 2 pairs of pants and ski warmers – so i did not sit in that line for 90 minutes freezing.  Good planning liz!
SWIM:
Before TX I’d done a lot of 5000 yard swims – before LV I did not.  I knew my swim fitness wasn’t as high as it was before TX but I chose not to fester too much about this – my goal was just go under an hour and not to put too much on potential benefits of the wetsuit or potential current.  I’d never done an IM swim w/ a wetsuit and I didn’t want to come out of the water and have it set the tone for my day.  I definitely swam off course a decent amount – so all the more thanks to the wetsuit for the assist to the 55 min swim.  Think I could have gone maybe minute faster if I’d swam straighter – but maybe not.  I was happy.
Transition – no Texas tea party here.  I helped the volunteers help me 🙂
Bike: First 3 hours were AWFUL.  I was freezing numb and heavy.  I felt like I was riding so hard but I came through the 56 mile point at 3 hours.  THREE EFFING HOURS!!!!  I was PISSED.  I thought I sure the freak did not spend the past 2 years working so I would ride the same time on my bike last time I did IM LV  (which was just over 6 hours).  So I thought 2 things: 1. usually on my long rides my first 3 hours were not as fast as my second 3 hours – so maybe i could negative split the race too. 2. I didn’t really care what the consequences were I was going to ride under 6 hours (don’t try this at home).  At that point I thought maybe I’d hit 5:55 or if I was really lucky 5:50.  I was shocked when i came in at 5:42 or whatever it was.  I felt like I was riding way too hard that last half – but i kept the power in check on the uphills and rode hard on the down hills and flats and I my power seem to stay where we talked about it being so I stuck w/ it.  And, maybe this is how it feels to ride my bike the way I’m suppose to?  I fully expected that marathon to be a sh*t show.
I had 1 poo episode on the bike but it was a relatively speedy stop 🙂 You’re welcome that I included that tidbit of info. #everybodypoops
I really could not believe how people rode that course – the first 3 hours, everyone flew past me (when your coach tells you don’t take it out too fast, she’s not kidding).  But then the last 3 hours on the bike and the marathon I was doing most of the passing.  Consistently for the entire bike ride people blazed up the hills and cruised down the hills.  I played cat and mouse w/ a group of guys for at least the last 2 hours as they sprinted up and coasted down.  What were they doing!? #psyouhaveamarathonnext #saveyourlegs #ridesmart
T2 – chop chop.
RUN
First – I had 2 poo episodes that were fairly quick on the run.  They hit, I went, and onward we proceeded. Stomach felt good.
I used those new cliff bar energy food pouches that are made from banana and coconut – a MILLION ZILLION times better than GU.  I don’t think i’ll ever take GU again.  The energy pouches aren’t super sweet and I could totally eat them w/o a problem.  Those plus the honey stinger orange chews and coke at each aid stop…plus carrying osmo/water worked well.
I started this run expecting the hammer to drop sooner rather than later.  I thought it was going to be especially bad when I had to keep slowing myself down b/c 8:30 felt really easy – surely the hammer was going to CRUSH me in the next couple miles.  But….i was ok at 3 miles….and then at 6.  And then I thought, well the course is out/back out/back – you’re at 6 and feel ok – turn off your head and hold this pace going back – you’ll be at 13 then and you’ll have made it halfway w/o feeling awful.  That’s a great day in any IM run.  So I got to 13…and I thought ok, now it’s coming for sure – but keep your head turned off and let the miles tick off like you do in training and focus on the next turn around point….. a critical thing happened at this turn around that totally helped me keep it together for the last 13 miles.  A woman was sitting in the crowd and told me I was in 14th overall –  a few people told me this before her and I didn’t really believe them but this woman looked like one of those athletes that would know 🙂  It really helped me keep my head in the game.
so I kept going….and I got to the last turn around and thought all I have to do is run back in – I mean you don’t feel like a fresh daisy but you sure as hell feel great for this point in the race.  It definitely got hard on this last stretch (but really – not hard by IM standards) – I literally stayed focused on not having to do anything special to finish well.  My body seemed to just hold that 8:40ish pace – I mean that’s just the pace it fell into – I wasn’t doing anything other than just letting my legs run.  And I thought you don’t have to do anything spectacular – don’t try to pick it up – a couple times I held myself back just a tiny tiny bit b/c I was like HOLY SH*T I can’t believe this is happening and wanted to just run like crazy into the finish.  But we all know people who make it to X point and spend the last 4 miles crawling adding 2 hours to their time.  So, I just focused on staying inside my pace that my legs seemed to be able to hold w/o a problem and just prayed they’d carry me in w/o a sudden collapse.
I teared up a few times on that last mile b/c I couldn’t believe it.  To be honest I still can’t.  I mean i know I trained hard and all that stuff – but a lot of people train hard – and just as much if not more than i do – to me that run defies explanation.  I have most definitely never had a run like that before and don’t expect to maybe ever again.  I know for sure the cold temps helped (despite my distain for the cold) – but that was more than just the cold.   My best open marathon is a 3:33 – had I not stopped for the 2 poosplosions I would have been about 10 min off my open marathon time.  That doesn’t just happen.  It was almost like an out of body experience.
This was about an hour and 10 min PR for me on this course and clearly my best IM time ever.  Best swim split, bike split, run split.  Actually, the last 56 miles of my ride I rode 2:42? i think?   And my time at Munice 70.3 on a flat ass course last year was 2:38.  WHAT!?
so, there we have it 🙂  I will forever be thankful for the day I had.  I think it’s the sort of race we all dream of – the one we know our body can do given the right day – but so rarely does that happen.  I am eternally grateful.
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