Ho’omau reminds us that to overcome our challenges, we must go forth with determination, perseverance and endurance. This was my mantra on Sunday. It is symbolized by the Hawaiin Iwa bird. I love that bird.
My last posting made it clear why I wanted to have a solid race in Coeur D Alene. I think back to all of those key sessions and it is surreal that it paid off. This morning my husband told me I was spoiled, because I get to go to Kona AGAIN. I think he made reference to the fact that I wasn’t among the people doing cartwheels down the aisles of the awards ceremony. In fact, I was doing internal backflips! The awards ceremony was hot and muggy…I was queasy and not so energetic. This is true. However, there is nothing that I wanted more this summer then to make the top 2 in my age group at this race. I think I’m also astonished and it hasn’t quite sunk in!
An ironman is in fact, an ironman – people blow up. Well trained athletes can be broken down by the smallest of physical ailments. I have been there! I’ve had two RECENT hot ironmans in which I threw up on the bike. So, even though an athlete knows what they are capable of…it doesn’t always mean things will go as planned. Despite the high hopes and confidence in our training, there are always those doubts that the day won’t go as planned or we won’t be able to persevere in the conditions.
I will try to keep this race recap short and to the point.
Swim – 1:10. The water was perfect – 73 degrees and clear! I love the rolling start and I think it really helps with safety and crowd control on ironman swim courses. My right quad was a bit crampy during the first lap. I’m not sure why my quad was acting up, especially that one…but I tried to point my toes to get it to relax and that seemed to help. The two loop course also gave me a chance to run it out between laps. I took a few glances at my watch and if the GPS was correct, I was on pace for a swim best. I don’t count the Louisville swims because they are usually fast because of the current. I felt my glute doing its normal rebellion, so I took a few extra minutes in transition and stretched it out. That seemed to work and I was on the road, glutes firing full throttle!
Bike – 5:39:00. The first loop was cake. I focused on fueling and keeping my heart rate and watts in check. I worked the uphills and went easy on the downhills. My heart rate stayed about 3 beats under what it was in Kona so I thought that was perfect for setting myself up for the 2nd lap. I knew the 2nd lap would be much hotter (and it was). There was already carnage out there as I made my way through the 2nd loop. I missed a water bottle, and had a tough 10 miles relying on Gatorade for my hydration. That was not enough and I felt like I needed a whole bottle of water. The race organizers said there would be more aid stations, but that was a lie. If you didn’t have water at all times out there you were screwed-simple. I backed off on my effort until I got to the next aid station. I wasn’t convinced that I wouldn’t cramp up or get sick until I was at about the 100 mile marker. There are a few no passing zones on this course. I made it through pretty quickly on all but the last (about 5 minutes from T2). I got caught behind a mountain biker! I kid you not we were going 10mph for the whole thing. I tried to stay calm, and used the time to take in an extra salt tab. Once I started the descent into town, I felt confident that I did the best fueling I could do given the conditions. After reviewing my Heart Rate file, I think I probably went a little too easy. Whether that set me up for a solid run, I will never know. I included a graph of the temperature on the bike and my heart rate.
Run – 3:53. I did not use any GPS or Heart Rate for this run. I probably could have used it, but I feared I would get stressed out by the slower than usual run splits. My goal was to keep myself fueled and in check so that I never had to walk. I never felt horrible, like I did in Louisville last year. But, the heat was definitely slowing me down about 30 seconds per mile. I had to take one pee break and I walked for about 30 seconds total on the steeper hills at mile 6 and 20. I did not walk any of the aid stations unless I needed a solid swig of coke. There are few things more painful than getting coke in your eyeballs while trying to run and drink. Other than that I stayed fairly on task. I knew that 3rd place was right behind me and that I had to keep RUNNING! I thought about Ho’omau during the last 10k and just kept running. The urge to walk an aid station or a hill was insane! However, each time I got there I found myself pushing through and running anyhow. There were NOT more aid stations on the course due to the heat. We were saved by the gracious CDA residents who brought their hoses and sprinklers out onto the course. We would have been raisins without them! This is my favorite Ironman event, because the town is so beautiful and the people are so welcoming.
My mental efforts were made a bit easier because Chad was out on his bike during the bike and run. I saw him multiple times out on the course and he kept my head in the game. Having him there made the weekend extra special! I saw him last with about 5k to go and he said he would see me at the finish line. I was sad, but I knew I had work to do to hold off the girl behind me. She wasn’t registering on your trackers and I was aware of this! I ran as hard as I could that last mile! It was the longest mile ever!!!!! If I remember right, the run course is a little long…so that would make sense.
The support that I get from my friends and family is UNREAL. You give me the energy I need to make these dreams a reality. I can’t believe we are going back to Hawaii. Although I hoped it would happen, I knew I would have to have a damn near perfect day.
Next up – 2 weeks of fun paddle boarding and recovering! I’m sure to have some fundraiser classes on the schedule these next few months!
I want to thank a few people who have helped out in respect to supporting me through all of this:
Dave Ripley – bike fit guru and mechanic extraordinaire. I love my bike fit, and despite the fact that my bike is the devil to work on, it executed exquisitely!
Dr. Drew Hoffman—chiropractor and an awesome person. He keeps my body in check and truly cares about his clients. I have been fortunate enough to not be injured this year, but he goes above and beyond for his clients in their biggest time of need.
Sandi—sponsor, super friend and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I missed your GO WHITNEY signs!
My mom – I TRY to only complain to my mom. For that, she is my backbone. Without her, I would not have these opportunities. The unconditional love she has for me is unparalleled.
Melissa – Your talent never ceases to amaze me! Thank you for pushing me and keeping me company on thousands of miles of bike training. Never give up, and never EVER stop believing in yourself. Cheers to many more races and endless athletic endeavors.
Chad—for the past 7 years, he has been the ying to my introverted yang. I love to train, sleep and be by myself. Yet, he forces me to embrace new experiences, and to never settle for mediocre goals. I could not have imagined this weekend without you!
The FIB ladies – I love your support and companionship. I wish I had more of me to bike race and triathlon every weekend with you all!
My friends and athletes – I dare not mention names here because I will forget someone! You all know who you are, and I am so blessed to have such amazing people in my life!