Race Schedule and Results

Monday, August 24, 2009

It all came together...

Finally, things worked out in my favor this weekend! Finally Mother Nature was kind to me. And like the title says, finally it all came together!

In the past I've had horrible luck with half ironman distance races. Honestly, I've done three and they were all a million times worse for me that the full Ironman. I had raced two in temperatures over 95 degrees and the third was a total fluke in which we had 60+ mile an hour winds from a hurricane and I was bracing myself to be blown away at any time. I feared that I was destined to have horrible races at this distance for the rest of my life! :)

Saturday we made our way to Springfield. The weather forecasts said sunny and 74 which would be dreamy for me. It was raining and cold on Saturday... I'd even take that for race day. Got our packets, checked out the course (which I'd already raced last year in the 95+ degree weather) and decided no need for a practice swim. We went to our hotel, got the bikes and gear ready, filled our bellies and made it to bed around 10:30. I got a great night's sleep, but had amazing doubts about my abilities during the race. Training has been going well, but not stellar - minor injuries here and there, tons of self doubt. I just didn't know what to expect.

Got to the race site a little later than usual, but because my wave was the second to last, I didn't feel rushed. It was chilly... and cloudy. I knew it was PR material, but for some reason I was scared. I've done these distances alone a bazillion times and have put it all together more than three times. I knew I'd be fine, but the tears still managed to make their way to my eyes before the start. Damn nerves! Tom hugged me, kissed me and was off. I had another two waves of nerves.

The Swim - My waves wasn't huge, but I positioned myself where I always do - in the back. I have no confidence in the swim. The horn sounded and I gradually made my way in. A group of girls took off, I passed a few people and quickly found empty water. No nerves! I felt great, the water was a bit choppy but not bad. I started counting strokes in hopes that my mind wouldn't start thinking about how long the swim was or how much I still had to do. I felt consistent and calm. It was going to be a long day and my goal was to just not get ahead of myself. Got out of the water and my watch read 46:30 and I still had a big hill to run. I was happy with that. I'm not a fast swimmer, but I stay calm. Hit the mat at 48:04.

T1 - It was nice seeing bikes still in T1. I feel like mine is usually alone. There were probably 5 girls in transition with me so I didn't feel completely behind. I did my thing and was out in 1:30. I wish there were more transitions in races because I kind of feel like I have that part of the race down pat! :)

The Bike - I've been having IT problems the last few rides and I know it really flares up on the hills. Of course this bike course is two HILLY loops. I told Tom that I wouldn't be pushing it on the bike - spinning up the hills even if I felt like I could grind a little bit and saving my legs for the run. The first loop was fine. It seemed to go on forever, although it was spot on in terms of distance I passed a few people right away and then kind of just felt like I was alone. I played cat and mouse with a girl for a while. She was small and could climb the hills and then I'd usually catch her on the flats. We did this until the turn around and then she stopped to pee and I didn't see her again until the run. I didn't really look at my time or speed. I just did what felt good. I played the gear game - up and down constantly. I made sure that every gear got used! :) I felt pretty good on the bike, but my IT did start hurting around mile 35. Nothing horrible, but just an achy annoying pain. I felt like the breeze had picked up and definitely struggled to keep a constant pace the second lap. I wanted to finish under 3:05 and came in at 3:00:49! I averaged 18.6 which was awesome considering I definitely didn't "race" the bike at all!

T2 - I took my time in T2. I wanted to have a good run and make sure that my socks were right and everything. I still managed to be in and out in 1:40!

The Run - I can never put a good run together in a half. Never. Each year I've been around 4 hours coming off the swim and bike and I just blow up. I train at sub 9:00 miles. I've always ended up with 12:30+ minute miles in my halves. I don't know if it's mental or the weather or what. My mind was right for this. I immediately turned my watch from Chrono mode to just the clock. I didn't want to be fixated with my mile splits and how much time I had to get a PR. I just wanted to run. Right out of the gate I passed two guys who looked like they were having good days. I took little steps and just smiled. I felt good. I was running a pace I thought I could maintain forever. It wasn't fast, but it was comfortable. I kept thinking that I was going to PR and that got me through each mile. I saw Tom and he looked awesome. I passed a few girls, maybe a few guys. I was settled in for the long haul. At the turn around, I checked my watch and saw that I had 1:15 to go 6.55 miles and that would give me a sub 6. I was aiming for a 6:15. I saw Tom again with 1 mile left for him. He told me he was going to go 5:16 or so - that would be a 19 minute PR. I was so excited for him. The miles just ticked away - no leg pain, no negative thoughts. The last mile seemed to go on forever. I switched my watch back to chrono mode and new I was going sub 6. I was ecstatic! Run time was 2:04:11 - a 9:29 pace.

As I came to the finish line, they said "There's a big smile, that's what we like to see" and announced my name. I looked for Tom and he wasn't there. I crossed, gave them my chip, got some food and still no Tom. Hum... immediately thought he was having sugar issues. I started walking toward transition and he came running up to me (well not running, but kind of jogging). He had gone to the car to get the camera and thought for sure he had enough time. He expected me at 6:15. I crossed at 5:56! I was so excited. I crushed my old PR by 45 minutes. I felt good after a half. Not great, but definitely not like death! :)

We waited for awards. Tom in fact PRed by 19 minutes and finished in 5:16. He amazes me! He got 2nd in his division. I knew I had been passed by 2 girls on the run in my AG. I ended up getting 3rd in my age group. We both got hardware, we both got HUGE PRs. But the best thing I got from the race was the confidence that I thought I had lost this season.

Swim (1.2 miles) - 48:04
T1 - 1:30
Bike (56 miles) - 3:00:49 18.6mph and 7th woman out of 26
T2 - 1:40
Run (13.1 miles) - 2:04:11 9:29 pace
5:56:13 - 3/6 in AG

Oh it's on like donkey kong now! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Being lost

I got a text from my BFF yesterday that just said "call me when you get a chance". I called right away hoping everything was alright. She answered in her always chipper voice and said "I was talking about you today. A lady in my office is starting to train for an Ironman and I told her that I had lost my best friend until November 7th". :( My heart sank a little.

I know that Ironman training is a huge commitment. I knew that when I signed up for my first and even more so when I signed up for my second. I can't count the number of things we missed last year because of it and the list this year is growing and growing. You know it's bad when friends go to plan something and say "what day CAN the Kingery's make it?". From now until November 7th, we have 11 weekends. I have something 4 of the weekends, Tom's gone another 5 of them! :( As a tandem, we only have 2 weekends with nothing. Of course that doesn't take into account the hellishly long workouts that cut our Friday nights and Saturday nights short.

But I guess that's the price that I am willing to pay to do what I love to do. It's hard. It makes me sad a lot. And there are many time when I know my friends are out and about that I'm wishing I was with them instead of carb loading and hitting the pillow early, but I'm grateful that they are so supportive and I know that when I go to bed on November 7th, the sacrifices will have turned into great reward and gratification.

Until then... I hope my friends can "find" me here or there - it might be a week night dinner, or maybe a lunch. It might just be through facebook and email for a while.

And you can bet your ass that I'll have lots of weekends free once Ironman is over - :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ironman like weekend

I kind of freaked out last week. I thought to myself "there's no way that I'll be ready for the Ironman in November". I've gone through all of the will I be ready and will I have done enough. I'm hard on myself. It's only August for gosh sakes and I'm totally panicked. My aching body and hurting muscles don't help, but I must say that the last few days helped a bit. But let me back up.

Last weekend we were in DC with my family. It was an awesome trip to celebrate my parents' birthdays and anniversary! The 6 of us went to a baseball game, took a duck boat tour, rode segways, ate way too much, toured all the museums, the Capital, Printing and Engraving, etc. It was so much fun. We got there Friday night and Saturday morning had mapped out a 12 mile run from our hotel. Tom and I were amazed by the number of people running. When we run at home, we see no one. At one point on our 12 miles I said to Tom "do you think there's a race or something going on because I've never seen this many people just out for a run?". It was the best environment ever! Plus running by the monuments, the White House, Watergate, Arlington, Iwo Jima, the Mall, and the Reflecting Pool made it better pretty darn amazing. I just wish that my hamstring hadn't been bothering me. We also probably walked a million miles over the 4 days that we were there! It was kind of a nice change of pace.

We got home on Tuesday to a boat load of work. Tom hadn't gotten his bike back from Atlanta yet on Wednesday when we were supposed to do an 80 mile bike so we moved that to Thursday.

So Thursday comes and the bike started off well. We had a route planned out that would take us to a little town called Utica where there's an ice cream mill. Fitting place to stop and get a "refreshment"! Of course it's August in Delaware, Ohio though and that means chip-n-seal time. On the country roads, instead of paving them when they get bad, they put some tar down and then lay gravel on it. With the heat and whatnot, the cars push the gravel into the tar and a new surface is created. It's a great way to fix the roads, but it absolutely sucks on the bike! So of course we run into that and it throws our whole route off. Then I get stung by a bee. The little bugger was in my shoe and stung my ankle. Then when we were about 35 miles from home, my IT band starts to flare up. I haven't had any problems with it since the Ironman and counted my blessings each time I rode without pain. It reared it's big head in a major way on Thursday. By about mile 55, I didn't know if I could even go on. I stopped and stretched, bitching and moaning the whole way (thanks Brady for being a great hubby and not leaving me on the side of the road to fend for myself, even though that's probably what I deserved) and finally said that I could make it to my mother in laws which would give me 70 miles for the day.
Friday we swam 1.4 miles and I felt great. My darn wetsuit is tearing like crazy though and I keep fixing the holes with wetsuit glue. It's a mess. I'm hoping that it'll make it through the Ironman. It's only a year old. We don't leave it in the sun. We rinse it and hang it inside when we're done swimming. I never wear it in the pool. Anyone have a good recommendation for one that might last longer? Mine's a Vortex 2 and I loved it besides the fact that it's not holding up too well. I should swim without it, but then I'd be super slow...

Yesterday, we ran a half marathon. After my bike ride on Thursday and the 12 that nearly killed my hamstring the previous weekend, I wasn't expecting much. It was humid... upwards of 90% which if you've never had the pleasure of running in that, it's much like a sauna. I struggled to get comfortable all morning, but managed to run 8:43's and finish with my second best time ever for a half - 1:54:06. I was happy with that. Beats where I was last year at this time. I ended up feeling miserable the rest of the day though - maybe the heat, maybe some girl issues, who knows. I feel like it's always something!

This morning we woke up thinking we were going to get 70 more miles in on the bike. I don't know what we were thinking. We got to about mile 38 and I suggested coming home. It was HOT - right now the thermometer reads 97 and not a cloud in the sky. Good news... I didn't have any IT problems (that's probably because I stayed in my small ring all morning, but I may resort to that if I need to). Although I kind of feel like I should have done the whole ride, I think my body will thank me this coming week. We'll do the rest tomorrow which was supposed to be a rest day so that miles won't go unridden!

Sunday is my first half Ironman of the season. Tom's not doing it because he had such a horrible experience at the race last year. I'm a bit scared... I kind of still feel like my training might not be right on target for a 6+ hour race, but I'll give it a shot. No expectations which is probably best. I'm sure a lot of my performance will depend on the weather and how my hammy and IT hold up. Send good vibes my way!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Race update and more

Well hello there. Thanks for not losing hope on me as a blogger. You might want to grab a cold one and get comfortable. This could be a long post since I haven't written much in a while.

All is good in Colleen land - work is busy, training is finally feeling good again, we're traveling this weekend to DC with the fam for a long weekend. I'm happy...

This past weekend we raced at East Fork State Park. It's down south near Cincinnati and I should have learned my lesson with the Flying Pig Marathon that if it's down south near Cincinnati, it's gonna be hilly! :) Sadly, Tom and I actually had a little bit of a heads up from someone but we're gluttons for punishment! We headed down there on Saturday to get our race packets and just stay the night since it would be abut a 2.5 hour drive for us and that's a bit much on race morning. We stopped by our hotel (which was really a motel) first and checked in. I was a bit skeptical when we got there and did the drive through check in. Nothing but the best for us! :) The room was actually really nice - we always luck into the handicap rooms though and this one was unlike anything I'd ever seen. The bathroom was literally as big as the room. I wish I had taken more pictures. All I have is this lovely photo of my hubby cleaning our wheels before the race:After checking out the room for any skank (it was a motel after all) we went to the park. It was definitely hilly going into it and for some reason there was no beach. Weird... we come to find out after getting our packets that the place is actually flooded and the beach is buried under the VERY dirty water. I decided to get a short swim in and on the way out stubbed the bottom of my foot on the sidewalk that usually separates the beach from the grass. I get a cut on my foot. Ugh... what a way to start. Tom and I were going to go for a short run, but seeing as how we would have had to run uphill right away and it was hot we skipped it, went back to the hotel and hit up Red Robin for dinner. Nothing like a wrap and unlimited steak fries as a prerace dinner! :) Oh, I forgot that we drove the bike course and I threw up a little in my mouth. It was then I realized that I wasn't going to PR this race. :(

Sunday morning came fast. We packed everything up, grabbed some breakfast and went to the race site. It was busy and my stomach was doing flips. I don't know why. I've raced Olympics a dozen times, I knew I was ready, maybe it was the hills, maybe it was the steak fries. In any event, I hit the potties and Tom got things ready at the car.
We got set up and had plenty of time so I hit the potties again, and walked to the beach - well, where the beach should be. The water was calm which was a nice change from Saturday when I swam. My wave was the second to last so I did was I always do... waited and waited and waited. There were only 21 women in the Olympic so the swim wave was nice and calm. The bull horn sounded and we were off. I felt great - breathing was under control, I was calm. I thought "I must be on my way to a swim PR because I feel like I'm floating". Honestly I probably could have convinced myself that I looked like Dara Torres or something. Yeah, not so much according to my watch. It's so darn frustrating feeling so good and swimming so slow. Oh well... maybe next year I'll PR in the swim. Swim time was 31:49

T1 was uneventful. There were practically no bikes left on my rack so I was able to get through without anyone bothering me. HA! I can always find the positives of being a slow swimmer. T1 time - 1:44

The bike was difficult, but probably not as bad as I thought when I drove it the day before. I did ride in my small front ring a lot which isn't like me, but I knew that if I wanted not have the feeling of wanting to rip my IT band out of my leg later, I needed to conserve. I didn't pass too many people which isn't like me. I'm just not a fan of hills and quite frankly, I suck at climbing. I did hit 40mph on a downhill which was fun! And I did something I swore I'd never do - pee'd on the bike. TMI, I'm sure, but I had two options - not get enough fluids even though I was extremely thirsty but my bladder was so full, or release the bladder. There was nowhere to get off and hide to pee so I pee'd on the bike. It was super gross and I'll not do it again. I don't even want to talk about it more than that. It still haunts me. Bike time - 1:23:04 17.9mph BLAH

T2 I took my sweet ole' time. Tom beat me in T2. That says something (just kidding honey - I love you!) T2 time 1:36

The run starts uphill. Well you wind through the parking lot which totally confused me and then you run uphill. Just like in biking, I'm horrible with hills in running too. The first loop was a struggle. I just didn't feel right. Shocker, I know. That's the way all of my races have gone this year. The second time up the hill I passed two people, a guy who mumbled something about not being ready for the hills (me too buddy) and a girl who told me that I had a great cadence going and to go get em girl. Totally boosted my confidence and the second lap was awesome! Tom finished 20 minutes before me and was able to get pictures of me finishing. My run time was 57:07. Again, BLAH!
Overall, I felt like I had a decent race. I finished in 2:55 which kind of bummed me out, but then I remembered that I hate hills, avoid them at any cost and well, that means that I suck at them. :) I ended up snagging 2nd in my AG believe it or not so I shouldn't complain.

I do need to give the hubster props though. He was 10th overall on the bike and won his division. He's a rockstar. :)

Afterward, in true Ironman fashion, we biked another 1:45. We tried to stay close to the park and found a lovely hill that we decided to climb multiple times. Again, glutton for punishment. I actually think that the biking afterward helped my legs because I felt surprisingly good the rest of the evening. I look happy after the race, big ass 65 on my arm and all (the body marking kid was eating a burrito when he marked me and decided to take up the entire arm and leg with my number. Tom laughed and opted out of body marking)
So, the next race is August 23rd - Great Buckeye Challenge half ironman. Tom's not going to do the race and I just feel like I need something between now and the end of September. Last year the race sucked - it was 9 million degrees and they started the women half distance last at like 9:30 which meant that we were running a half marathon around 1pm. In August. With no shade. Hopefully this time around will be better. :)