Ironman Arizona: "Get Your Shit Together"
Welcome to Tempe Beach Park, home of Ironman Arizona!! For this Ironman, please allow me take all your anxiety and "what ifs" away from you. Because anything stupid that you can do in preparation for your triathlon and almost anything that can go south during your triathlon, I did and DID!
I'm scared to start cause it's going to be long. We might need two separate posts just to keep your attention... The quote of the day, "Get your shit together!"
Starting the morning, I got in 2 eggs and a pumpkin english muffin with peanut butter and finished up assigning my run miles. Perfect. It's super hard to eat at 5am! Trish met Mom and me at Mom's house and we all cruised to Tempe together. I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety but I realized it wasn't the race, it was all the pressure I put on myself for the race. I wanted to break 13 hours. I trained hard this summer. I NEEDED to break 13 hours (best full distance=13:05). Sometimes I feel like all these Ironman finishes are just luck. I know that sounds crazy to many of you but I'm way harder on me than anyone else. I worked hard on speed, bikes, and coming off the bike running during my training. I was ready for a 12 something Ironman.
Arriving at transition, it was nuts. First we walked ALL the way around the dang thing only to find that the entrance was on the other side. There were SO many spectators everywhere, it was just big groups of mass confusion. I was getting so pissed. There's already 2,800 racers, get out of our WAY! Couple that with nervous belly, you have a flustered Lisa...
It was then that I realized... I don't have my special needs bags. Oh my God. I don't have my special needs bags. Where are they? Car? NO, at moms house 30mins away. I DON'T HAVE MY SPECIAL NEEDS BAGS! (special needs bags go at the half way bike point and the half way run point. Today I put my favorite comfy tri shorts ~since I was testing a brand new pair of BIKE shorts. I also had, important, the other half of my nutrition + bagel with peanut butter, some more chamois butter, and Ibuprofen. Run bag had Ibuprofen in it. That's it).
Emergency freak out. Okay, what do we do, someone run home? We don't have time. We grabbed someone important and they said family members can take the special needs bags out. I hated to see Mom or Trish miss any part of the event so I just can't see this happening. Instead, Mom went on a mission... I went ahead and pumped my tires, opened my nutrition, and filled my water bottles: shaking, BEATING myself up, near crying. In the meantime, ran into Chris who handed me 2 more waffles (just in case), fig newtons, salt tablets, and Ibuprofen. Lifesaver!! Also in the meantime, Mom had scavenged a bag full of bonk breakers, Gu, Red Bull, and other misc nutrition. You are the BEST Mom!! I'm less anxious in regards to nutrition, but still, I know these shorts are going to be agony. Why why WHY Lisa!?
Stupid #1: leaving my special needs bags at home
Stupid #2: testing new bike shorts at an Ironman
A little calmer but still pissed at myself I get my final pep talks from Mom and Trish (get yo shit together Lisa) and follow the mass line of wetsuits to the swim start. Hugs of luck, we are both now lost in the crowd. It's at this time, SHIT, Mom has my wetsuit sleeves and I didn't put any body glide on. (speaking of body glide, I also shipped a box from MS to here full of random stuff that I needed but couldn't fit in my bags. Items which included my BODY GLIDE and my lucky Ironman visor. Of course, it arrived on Monday). Oh my goodness, what is happening this morning! I knew Mom was good at being kinda everywhere so PLEASE, let me see her as I wander down there... And, there she is! YAY! Next came the best pep talk an Ironman could receive before a race...Mom, Trish, and a crowd of other spectators telling me to GET MY SHIT TOGETHER! <--- there's a video! Wetsuit sleeves on (which I'm so glad because I was cold in the water) body glide on. About 3 steps before entering the water, boom, there's Chris. Big hugs and let's do this! I never did see Kristen. *shrug, she's a super independent athlete not requiring any one-on-one, just a plan to follow so I knew she was probably feeling good and ready.
Stupid #3: forgetting my wetsuit sleeves with Mom
Stupid #4: not using MY body glide
We actually had to swim to the swim start, about 200 yards or so to just under the bridge. What was kinda stupid about this, I couldn't really figure out if we had actually started or what was happening.
Stupid #5: ATTEND THE ATHLETE MEETING! You are not a pro at #6 Lisa!!
I started my watch then stopped it, then reset it, then started again at the actual start. Well, that just dicked my auto multi-sport up for the rest of race (which I learned on the bike).
Stupid #6 ^^
I was warned that the swim would be brutal. It's a very narrow body of water. It's Lake Tempe, but it's actually more like a river. They basically put dams on each end and call it a lake. It's not a swimmable lake. In fact, you should see locals faces when you tell them you're going to in it. Gross! I'm not even sure they allow fishing in it. I heard one joke, "I was looking for shopping carts. Or dead bodies." Oh Lord!
The warning was on spot though, it was brutal. There was no finding your own water. I was constantly, for an hour and a half getting kicked, hit, swimmed on, pushed, pulled, etc. Get OFF of me people! If you are swimming ACROSS people, you're going the wrong way! SIGHT! Keep in mind, I'm already and still aggravated from the mornings event. ~you can giggle a little now if you want, cause looking back, I was just being stupid. It's an Ironman Lisa, get yo shit together!
So I'm swimming, fighting back, the water is cold. It doesn't FEEL dirty though. Or taste or smell dirty. We swam all the way to one end for 1.2 miles, cross the reservoir, and swim back the other side. The back half was even rougher. The wind had picked up and all the fast people created quite the wake. I never panicked or didn't swim, it just took forever. 1 hour and 38 minutes dodging people. Irony, I'm always telling my athletes how quick their swim will go. It'll be done before they even realize it. Mine, felt forever. I was so happy to be done.
Out of the swim and off to transition...I spotted Mom and Trish right by the wetsuit stripper. I was previously tipped to leave the wetsuit on, it's a long run to the tent and CHILLY.
Stupid #7: I let them strip me leaving me cold for a really long ass run to transition ?? Again with the athlete briefing. Dang it Lisa! At least they gave us a foil blanket.
I get to my stuff, dump it, get moving. I'm stressing about these bike shorts. I know they're going to hurt. I've never worn bike shorts for distance ~they're too bulky. What was I thinking. Revert back to stupid #2. I completely forget to put on chamois butter to top it <--- stupid #8
The good news, the temperature has picked up so I just pull on sleeves instead of my jacket. Great call Lisa! Rocking and rolling out the tent, I hit up the sunscreen guy who is AWESOME! He gives me a little pep talk, he's super gentle and sweet, fixes my *dicked up cause I put them on wet* sleeves and pushes me along. Thanks dude, you win the Lisa's favorite volunteer award (right next to my finish liner catcher, TIE!!).
All I'm thinking on the bike, get this shiz finished in 6 hours. I need 5 hours to run the marathon so GO. The wind had picked up quite considerably. Going out, lefts and rights, it was a decent crosswind. Turning on to Beeline (our main stretch) it was BOOM, in your face! Hello Arizona desert wind. I knew though, that'd I'd make up speed on the turn around. Which is exactly what happened. AND, heading out on Beeline to the turn around is pretty much a false flat all the way there. So coming back it was a pretty decent "downhill" and heck of a tailwind. YEEHAW! <--- do that 3 times. Let me make it official right now by saying I hate the 3 loop course idea. It was a mental nightmare with that wind. But whatever, gotta get it done. I'm rocking, I'm rolling, I know my splits are sweet (with the wind), consistent. I get to see Mom and Trish twice at every start of a new loop. And I'm breaking 2 hours for each. Hell yeah, I'm so gonna hit this in 6 hours.
Splits are in fours
(lefts and rights with head/crosswind, headwind, tailwind, lefts and rights with tail/crosswind):
16, 14, 25, 21 <--- loop 1, windy, under 2 hours
16, 13, 22, 21 <--- loop 2, windier, right at 2 hours
14, 10, 25, 21 <--- loop 3, windiest, flat tire :(
"Hell yeah, I'm so gonna hit this in 6 hours." ... God hates it when I'm cocky... mile 90, 1 mile'ish from the turnaround, up the only hill on the entire course, I get a flat. A FLAT. I didn't hit anything, I didn't see anything, just all the air was suddenly out of my tire and I'm thump thumping along. Stay calm Lisa, change it. You're good at this. I do my thing, get it changed. Why did it take me so long!? It took about 20 minutes. I had just put a brand new tire on so it was super hard to get off, I explore the tire and rim, clear. First canister, fried, wouldn't work. 2nd canister fills it up good. 90pp. Enough to get me to the turn around for some more (I had actually noticed a pump sitting next to the port jons so I stopped for a top off). The encouraging part was everyone who passed checked on me. Then as I passed them again, checked on the outcome <--- obviously successful, I'm passing you. Be nice Lisa! It was cool though. Just another piece of why I love triathlon. I handed my "gift" of tire and canisters off to Mom and Trish at the dismount line (these two were ALL over the course :) Trish also wins the best pictures ever award.
How many stupids are we up to?? Stupid #9: getting cocky on the bike.
Overall time: 6 hours and 25 minutes. See, woulda been right at 6:05 or so. Ahh!
Got in several waffles, several eGels, 1 Gu, 1 bite of bagel. Although, calculated that later for only about 1,600 calories in for the day. NOT good.
Oh, almost forgot to tell you, so about mile 60, I'm getting ready to cruise by special needs (still pissed at myself for not having my special needs) loop 2, out pops Tori's head, "Your shorts are HERE!!!" OH MY GOD (the thick bike shorts are KILLING me), I slam on my breaks and come sliding in sideways. She comes running to me with my bag - tri shorts, nutrition, chamois butter. YES! I restock, change, forget the butter, and shoot out of there. What had happened was, Mom and Trish ran into my friend Tori at Starbucks who announces she's headed out to bike special needs to volunteer. Mom, who had had Bob meet her half way happens to have to my special needs bag!!!BIG HUGS TO TORI (and Mom, Trish, and Bob) for making that happen. SAVIORS.
Anyway, I made up a little bit of time but not 20 minutes. Whatev, I kinda let go of my 13 hours at this point. Everything was on point and I felt good, go run. Into transition where I get TWO volunteers (which totally made up for 0 in T1). They are awesome, while I'm putting my shorts on, they already have my visor on my head, my belt around my waist, my feet brushed off and shoes going on. Dang ladies, let me keep up! Ha ha!! They too patted me on the butt and wished me well.
Heading out on the run course, I feel GREAT! I found my legs immediately and even was like, whoa slow it down kid, you've got a lot of miles to cover. I opted for a 4min run 40sec walk option. I ended up running through most of my walks. One, I wanted under 5 hours because now I'm thinking I can still break 13 if I keep feeling this good and 2, I felt great!
^ caught on camera dancing!!
The course was full of people and cheer. and energy. That aspect was great. What wasn't great was all the way outs and backs. I mean, they didn't have many other options, but man those stretches never wanted to end. I had a hold of my 13 hours again and I was cruising. I hit a few emotional breakdowns and body shutdowns, but I'd pick right back up get my shit together in no time. I made a few friends and ran with them here and there. You know what kind of sucked. I never saw ANYONE! I finally saw Josh (Otstot) at his mile 20 (my 10'ish?) and he was ROCKING although he proclaimed his tummy was in knots. Oh, I should tell you here that I had about 9 friends on the course (the fab 5 from Ohio, Dad (Keith), Chris, and Kristen).
With 16 miles to go and knowing I was about 16 minutes off my goal, there was no way I could pick up my pace 1 mile a minute. I was giving it my all. My muscles actually hurt, I was working hard. My feet were all rubbed up. Have I mentioned that I accidentally packed my OLD Zoot shoes instead of the fresh ones out of the box?
Stupid #10 ^
The best part of the run course, Mom and Trish. Those two were everywhere! I had to run like 4 miles each way to get back and forth across the water but they would pop up on each side before I got there. What shortcut magical bridge across this lake are you taking and can I join you!? Trish was having a blast and Mom was bouncing with energy. These two are the BEST 2 friends a girl can have *hearts*
My marathon ended up being 5:01. A 5 hour Ironman marathon is pretty damn good to me. Especially since my solo marathon is 4:30 (which I plan on breaking at RnR). I ate some chips & pretzels, 2 bites of banana, 2 pieces of bacon YES, bacon!!! and took in plenty of water, cola, and chicken broth on the course. I continued to feel strong minus those few breakdowns and the last mile was rough ~I was pretty out of it ~carb deprived (as Trish would say). But splits were pretty consistent with an 11:31/mile average.
Overall Ironman time was 13 hours and 16 minutes. Still a great time. I appreciate all the respect and kudos' and encouragement too. I truly have an AMAZING support team.
But truth be told, I'm disappointed. I feel like I let myself down (and now 2 days post race, I've accepted it a bit more). I know without the tire I could have made it happen but I feel like I should have considered that into my plan or changed it faster, I don't know. Swam stronger, rode harder, or ran faster. I don't want to use a flat tire as an excuse; even though it's probably a damn good one. Can we just assume that without that, I would have finished my bike in 6 flat !? Definitely coming up on the blog is setting expectations for yourself and not reaching them. I never want my athletes to feel like this.
My goals however were totally achievable. I figured I'd hit a 1:40 swim, I thought I could pull off a 6 hour bike, and a 5 hour marathon (or just under). That'd give me 10 or so minutes for transition and I'd break 13. I trained hard. I spent HOURS on the bike. Pushing through the wind. I did long stuff, fast stuff, brick stuff. I worked hard and I failed myself. It's very disheartening.
Then again, I have completed 6 Ironman (3 just this year) and that feels pretty amazing. It's not by luck or by chance, I train my ass off, year round. I fight injury, illness, lack of motivation, and juggle life. That's pretty baller. I need to give myself more respect for all that, I know. But there's that demon inside of me that wants what it wants. I'm not big on finishing times (for ANY distance). The race is the reward (of course also a competition) but a competition with yourself. Any finish time requires hard work and hours and hours of training so I have mad respect for a sub 8 or a 17 hour. Both are hard. Stupid hard. There was something about breaking 13 that I needed to feel. <--- now I'm sitting here crying.
It's OK that I didn't break it, but it hurts. I gave it my all Sunday. I'm sore and tired and emotional (and very hungry). I will break 13 hours. Maybe in Texas, maybe in Barcelona. In the meantime, I'll continue to train hard, train my athletes, and fight to become a better me.
I can't thank everyone enough for the support. I always feel your good vibes out on the course and Mom and Trish relayed DOZENS of messages. It's so motivating. I want to make you all proud and inspire you to do something kinda crazy too. Maybe not Ironman, but just something out of your comfort zone.
BIG thanks to Trish for coming all the way out to Arizona for my race. She's one HELL of a friend! My Mom is my biggest fan, so happy I get to be here for a couple of weeks with her. Phil sent a very empowering message that I so needed during my run. He's probably my 2nd biggest fan and life just wouldn't be okay without him in it. All my FB friends around the world - THANK YOU! Thank you for the posts and messages of encouragement, well wishes, and congratulations. You make me a fighter.
I did PR an official Ironman race. My best time of 13:05 was at Rev3 in Cedar Point (which is NOT an Ironman brand and does not count towards my goal to Kona).
People always ask me, what's next? Here's the run down:
Complete: Ironman Texas, Cabo, South Africa, Coeur d'Alene, Arizona, and (Rev3 140.6 Cedar Point). 5 count towards Kona Legacy
2015: Ironman Texas & Ironman Barcelona
2016: Ironman Brazil, Wisconsin, and Cozumel
2017: 3 Ironman unknown
2018: 1 more + apply for Kona Legacy
Continued goal: every Ironman on the circuit. I mean, why not!?
Thank you for all the love and support!! You can see that even us "pro's" sometimes need to get our shit together. I don't know where my brain was on Sunday, but I still got it done!
2,800 participants signed up
2,719 participants picked up their packets
2,647 participants finished the swim
2,390 participants finished
water temp: 66*
air temp: 57*-72*
last finisher had 12 seconds to spare.