Monday, October 26, 2009

6:06!!!! i did it!!!!!!!!!!

more later....wow.

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What to say…what to say?

I came…I saw…I went…I suffered…I conquered!!!

My first 70.3 race…I am not even going to lie and say I wasn’t nervous! I mean, 70.3 miles…that’s a LONG way. Seriously. I felt a nervous energy that rivaled my first marathon…”what if my bike breaks down?” “what if I get sick?” “what if I get cramps that don’t go away?”…man I was so scared!!!

I so have to thank sooo many people for helping me keep it together immediately before, during and after and even to just really help me get to the actual start line. Don’t worry, I will thank ya’ll later…let me run down the deets of the race before I forget and get all emotional and sappy…

I actually slept well the night before. The morning of…didn’t go so great. Ended up getting there wayyyy too late. Literally 10 minutes before transition closed. Panicked to find my water bottles, to find out they were left in the car. Ahhh! Beginner’s luck! It all worked out though thanks to amazing boys who really love you, and was even able to find a pump at the last minute from a nice gal near me in transition. And on that note: after my experience with Longhorn yesterday, I learned that triathletes have to be the NICEST people I have ever meet. I always had my doubts for some reason, maybe due to our stoic game faces or type A personalities…but endurance athletes FREAKIN ROCK!

My parents and Kiki sent me off into the water, and I was shaking like a leaf with small tears in my eyes. T3 Rob gave me a hug (THANK YOU!) and a nice girl chatted with me until we got lined up. Nerves fully went away the second I hit the water. I let it all seriously fall away…who gets nervous anyhow after that much preparation for one race? I mean, I am talking about 10 months of training here…that is a LONG time. Even for a full Ironman…anyhow, did my thing. Swam pretty conservative, and didn’t get banged around too much. It’s amazing when you swim with triathletes that do big race thing A LOT…everyone gives you your space. If someone swam into me, they immediately got out of the way, really cool and unusual. Or maybe I was just THAT slow. :P

It was a slow swim but hey, I finished, I felt great and I didn’t cramp or feel bad or anything strange. I actually swam with mostly good technique. Thanks, Coaches!

On to T1. I was worried about the wetsuit strippers. One of my teammates had said ‘get a guy to do it’ and that’s all I could think. Just then Coach Mo comes up and says “I got it!” and grabs the tear strip on my wetsuit. I was sooo happy to see him and have him help me undress halfway, you have no idea. I searched for the first available guy and let him do his magic. It was soo awesome getting help! In and out of T1…just as planned. That ground in T1 sucked though, I cut my foot on something while running to my rack. Coach said 4 minutes was a good T1, and I did 3:59 (see, I got it, yo!!!)

Onto the bike. It was chilly the first 20 miles or so. I had arm warmers and toe covers and gloves due to the good advice of Mo, my buddy Rob and common sense. I actually put the arm warmers on before the swim, under the wetsuit, and that worked great. They were dry within 5 minutes. I think I was completely dry by mile 30, just in time to reapply Chamois Butter and the sun was coming out, which was nice. Riding the course ahead of time was sooo incredibly smart, and I felt I had a very small advantage to some of the other athletes, at least mentally. Don’t get me wrong, I was SLOWWWWWWWWWWW. I got passed my everyone. I think I passed 3 people the whole time. Ahh..well. Pick your battles…I knew I would get them on the run anyhow…

I ate A LOT on the bike (all my food, plus a Power gel…note to self: bring more of MY gels next time!!!!) I was so hungry it was insane. And thirsty. I drank 3 full bottles of water/gatorade, I think. I think for next year, I will experiment more with drinking Accerlerade or another caloric replacement on the bike. Although I had ‘enough’ while riding, I probably could have had more. I needed 250 calories an hour while riding, and I think I only took in about 100. Ohhh…yeah not good. However, that is how I TRAINED and I didn’t want to change things. And even though I was slow, I actually felt FINE until the very last 5 miles. Then, I was READY to be done!

Two quick notes: my heart goes out to those who flatted, crashed or did not finish the bike portion, and there were a few of each. I heard no less than 3 different ambulances rushing to the course. I saw one guy OUT laying on the ground around mile 12 I think? It made me so sad and depressed. Hope you all are okay and know you will get another chance to finish…another thing that I need to remember is the one salt tab every 30 minutes, which thanks to Texas Iron Sarah, I adhered to very strictly. And yes, ask all the guys who cramped later, it DOES make a difference-I swear by it! I had no cramps at all. After 2 marathons of feeling like @#(*, I learned the importance of taking in additional sodium while endurance racing!

T2, I was slow but it was great to be off the bike. The legs didn’t want to move it seemed, as expected. I sat down, changed shoes AND socks (HIGHLY recommended with the new socks…but remember to Body Glide your feet first…I forgot and it bothered me later, ouch to new blisters…!) My parents were there for me again cheering loudly…so incredible to have that support!

AND THE RUN! I knew it was my time to shine. I just went on my way, passing people left and right. Fast people, slow people, walking people…I seriously think 6 people passed me the entire run. 2 ladies (man, they were awesome and awe-inspiring to me!) and 4 men (and I think they were all relay guys, so they don’t count, right?!) anyhow, I felt great for about 10 miles. Took in a gel I had, drank at every stop. Ate the icees, had a flat coke. Took salt tablets. Put ice on my head, took the sponges…Ironically, I am not going to lie and say I was running with great form at any point during the half marathon. I think I looked like crap. Just put one foot in front of the other…keep going is what I told myself. I felt SLOW for as good as I felt mentally.

Mile 10 comes and I knew…”THIS IS WHERE THE MEN GET SEPERATED FROM THE BOYS…!” It was the last loop and was a serious death march. So many people in pain, so many people walking. On the hills, I saw more people walking than running. I think 2-4 people were running per hill, It was really sad. I cheered as loud as I could for my teammates and even others that look like they needed *something.* I see Coach Logan for the final time (and mumble “I feel horrible, I am so glad I don’t have to see you again!”) and head back home. That last mile was an amazing feeling that only endurance athletes or women that have given birth (haha) will understand. In pain like you wouldn’t believe, everything hurt, but yet, keeping it in perspective by remembering “…Hey I’m gonna do an Ironman in a few years…so this is NOTHING!”) My feet felt like they were barely moving. I was hot, thirsty, excited and tired, all at the same time.

I picked up the pace, heard the crowds and knew “THIS WAS IT!” I saw Kiki and Ginny and suddenly felt like I was just starting the beginning of the half all over again…spring in my step and huge smile on my face! I couldn’t believe I was going to finish! I round the corners, head inside. There was the finish line! The finish line!!! I left the guy in front of me have some space to cross first and make sure no one is sneaking up behind me to cut me off for the photo:) I throw my arms up (well, at least one of them, for some reason I felt I had to look at my watch!) and knew…I not only FINISHED but I think I finished at 6:05, which is an incredible first half time!

I don’t remember anything after that, other than pausing to catch my breath and feeling tears well up in my eyes. I did IT! I DID IT! Nothing is gonna stop me! My parents and loved ones congratulated me and I felt elation that I haven’t felt in a long while. All the training paid off. I just got to celebrate 10 months of hard, grueling training…missed partying on the weekends, no sleeping in, barely having enough energy to stay awake until 10pm on some nights. Yeah, most single 20-something girls don’t want to be ME! (add to the fact I am in a punk rock band…hmmm, how did I ever manage?!)

The many thanks: first all, the COACHES of the T3 family!!! Coach Mo from the first day I met you in swim clinic and I knew there was a connection there of some sorts. Me-being stubborn and naïve (and yeah, I still am, and that won’t change, sorry). You, being there with great support, advice, drunk texts I sent you at midnight that you said you didn’t get?! You being the best role model I could have in the triathlon world with your passion and love of the sport and of people just in general. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Coach Chrissie for being such a positive and beautiful person in my life. I remember my first real T3 swim workout I did and being so nervous, but you threw me to the sharks (haha) and I didn’t drown. Coach Suzanne for being my main swim coach this year and always keeping me positive through all those really long days where I had to literally throw myself in the pool to go swim. Ahhh. Good times. Coach Amanda too-I want you to coach me more! Coach Logan for cleaning my bike and being a good sport cheering for me on the run course at Longhorn! You will see more of me on the bike, don’t you worry.

To the T3 family: those of you I trained with (Jane K and Jane B, Patti!, Becky, Landon, Sabrina, Rob, Maggie, Rhonda, Vickie (the best PT in town, as well!) Jennie, Eric (my swim “boyfriend”-you know I love ya, sweetie, thanks for making those months of summer fly by) and whomever else (sorry I am forgetting people, I am sure of it), but you all rule! And all of our volunteers yesterday!!!! Kelley for the pickle juice! To the Gazelle family, especially my Coach Gilbert, who I managed to convince in one year that triathlons are actually good for me. To the very sweet Desiree Flicker who inspires me daily with her determination, will and great advice and ‘gets’ why we love triathlon AND running so much. To my running partners Ginny (I love you always, girl), Gabby, Beth, Kenny (you are my best friend, Kenny, thank you for being for me every step of that way this year as I ventured into a new distance!) and the whole Tu/Th afternoon crew. I am ONLY faster on the run because of ya’ll.

To my actual family-my parents that were there for everything yesterday. To my love, Kiki and the fact you put up with my triathlon shenanigans for an entire year and I even got you to sip the triathlon koolaid and you completely LOVE it! I can’t wait to see you do your first 70.3 next year! You will love it! Or hate me. Or both, haha.

To everyone else that supported me throughout, whether reading this blog, riding/training with me randomly (Mercedes and crew), friends, etc. etc. etc. I can go on forever. And this isn’t like the Academy Awards, so I won’t. Besides, gotta save something for my Boston Qualifying write-up and post Ironman report :)

Love you all and thanks for being supportive. Now time to relax, party, and relish in the accomplishment!!!
-Jessica

PS: Holding your bladder for 6 hours is kind of painful…just sayin’.

The Stats:

51:32 1.2 mile swim (2:40/100 meters)
3:59 T1
3 hours 15 minutes 56m Bike (17.2 mph)
3:32 T2
1 hour 51 minutes 13.1m run (8:32/mile)
=6:06.48

36 out of 67 in the 25-29 age group
(so long, my sweet, sweet 20’s!!!)

1 comment:

Vic said...

Congrats, Jess. I really miss you. Thanks for the report. I'm so proud of you. What an incredible RUN you had at the end. WOW!!!