Monday, July 15, 2013

Gearing up for Calgary

Another rainy indoor ride
A couple down weeks after IM CdA and I thought everything was just great, my toe had gone back to normal I was over my deep fatigue and started some easy training again. I was out for an easy run with Amber and Ryder and all of the sudden my left calf cramped up worse than I have ever experienced. I tried to stretch it out but something had happened in there and I couldn't work it out, it was only an easy 8k run but it was probably due to some post IM problem. I was very careful not to start back training too soon and I knew it wasn't an injury but just some sort of deep muscle cramp that wouldn't go away. I took a few days off running and went out for an easy long run, or what I thought was going to be a long run, but I had to stop after 5 miles- I could tell I was just doing more damage so I went to Anodyne and had it worked over today. Hurt like hell, my therapist loves the Graston tools and I feel like my calves went through a meat grinder afterwards but immediately I could tell it helped.

I've been spending more time in the water and on the bike other than running but I love training for a 70.3 over IM, especially with a new family. I can be out for a 3 hour ride and have the rest of the day with my favorite people, pre-IM it was a 6 hour ride and I would be too exhausted to do anything with Amber and Ryder. Amber's been getting back in the pool and out on the bike now too, now that I have a bit more time and the weather is nicer. It's so great to see her get out and spend just an hour doing something just for her.
First outdoor Ride!
She's not interested in doing anything over an hour and how can I blame her, she has this face waiting for her at home;
Beautiful Boy

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ironman Coeur d"Alene 2013

Ironman is such a cruel event, there is little margin for error and when things start to go wrong it's really hard to get it back on track. That being said I can't be disappointed with a 10:27, I worked really hard leading up to this race and although I struggled on the run I never gave up. I was suffering so bad during that marathon that it reminded me a lot of Kona. That difficult- run 200m, walk 100m, run 200m, walk 100m, repeat... was really tough for my ego to take but I had issues with my stomach and feet.

My cheering squad
The race itself is really well organized and a great location, I would definitely do it again some day. The swim was a two loop course which I think I prefer because it gives you a shorter distance to concentrate on and breaks it up a little. The rolling start was a good idea as well, you seed yourself in the proper swim wave and you are surrounded by swimmers that are all about the same speed. I put myself right at the back of the first wave, which was under 60 minutes and I thought if I can have my 'A' race swim I would be under an hour. There is no hurry to get in the water when the gun goes off your time doesn't start until you cross the starting mat. The start of the swim was the usual punching and kicking for the first 800m until the turn and I tried to find some good feet to draft off of but kept getting pushed off or losing the person in front of me because they would take a couple strong strokes and be long gone. I'm glad I started in the first wave though because I felt like I pushed myself to keep the pace up while not going too hard for 3.8k. I came out of the water after the first loop and saw 28mins on my watch, wow great that gives me 32mins for the second loop which I knew would be a little slower. I tried to remind myself of my 3 important rules for having a good swim; 1. stay at your aerobic capacity, 2. swim in a straight line, and 3. DRAFT and I ended up having the best swim of all my 8 Ironmans; 58.55. Great start to the day!
Swim practice just outside the cabin

Transition went fairly smooth and I was on my bike in good time, I was excited to have the swim over with and to have had a great start. I was hoping for a sub-hour swim but never really thought I could pull it off. The first part of the bike is awesome, you roll through town and along the lake for 10k and back and it goes by really quickly. I knew once we hit the first big climb I would have a lot of people flying past me but my race plan was to keep the heart rate in the 140s- low 150s and I should have a lot left over for the run. Once we started climbing I was shocked a little at how much it took out of me, I was okay with being passed by all the strong cyclists but didn't expect my legs to start cramping after the first 90k.
On my way back to town
Kevin on his way to a new Ironman PR

I was staying on track with my nutrition but I don't think my body was ready to train in the heat, as soon as the temps started rising my legs started to do funny things and once I hit the big climb for the second time my hamstring completely seized up.... Ugh, "okay this is the problem how do I fix it" I swallowed two salt tabs right away and it got a little better but that should have been an indicator that I needed to take more salt. After that my stomach started to act up and all of the sudden I couldn't drink any more, I tried drinking more water thinking I was just dehydrated but I could tell my body wasn't getting enough calories or salt. The leg cramps and upset stomach continued for the next 70-80k and at that point I didn't feel like I was riding hard any more, just riding to survive. I tried to stay positive and keep in mind that IM is a long event and you can go through bad patches and still have a great race if you don't get down on yourself. I kept my 3 rules of the IM bike in mind; 1. focus on getting in your nutrition, 2. hold back enough to stay aerobic, and 3. don't worry about your place in the race. I came off the bike in a disappointing 5:36 but I really struggled in the 2nd half so I was okay with starting the run under 6:40. Considering I only got in 4 1/2 bottles out of my 6 on the bike I knew it was going to be a tough run.
The Ironbaby cheering me on
Starting the run
Finally finishing!

I tried to regroup at the beginning of the run but I made the mistake of doing something new on race day and ran with elastic laces, big mistake... my feet felt like they were being crushed with every step I took. I couldn't do anything about it now so I just had to suck it up and live with it. At the end of the race my big toe had a massive bruise and was swollen to about twice it's normal size. It's 10 days later and I can still feel it but the swelling and bruising has gone down. Every step was complete agony but I did my best to keep running (or shuffling) and stuck with my water, coke, ice strategy through each aid station. I finished the first loop in 1:35 which is painfully slow for me but if I could do that again I could pull off a sub-10 race. The second loop was when my stomach issues started again, I had to do a lot of walking and when I ran it was really slow. I couldn't stomach any more water or coke so I knew that I needed salt badly, I was taking salt tabs but it obviously wasn't enough. I grabbed a handful of chips at a couple of the aid stations and all of the sudden I started to feel better. Too little, too late unfortunately and although I did run the final 4 miles I walked so much of the 2nd loop that I ended up with a 3:46 run and a 10:27.43 final time.

Like I said I can't be disappointed with a 10:27 race, I worked really hard in training and I'm happy with the day. There are a couple things I would have done differently but I have to keep telling myself that I did everything I could possibly do on that day and the end result is that I am now an 8 time Ironman finisher. I'm so grateful to have done this race and it was a sacrifice with Ryder's arrival in February to find the time to train but Amber has always been my biggest fan and I couldn't have done it without her. Thanks to a loving and supportive family I am able to live the active and healthy lifestyle I love so much. I also have to thank Robert, Steve, and Kevin for keeping me motivated out there, it would have been so easy to just walk the marathon but knowing that they were out there suffering too kept me 'racing.' Congrats to Steve and Kevin for setting IM PR's out there, great work!
Steve and Robert at the bike drop off