Monday, April 11, 2011

Memorial Hermann 70.3 Ironman Race Report

Well, not bad for an extremely windy day. Not bad for a "B" race. Not bad for the first race of the season. Not bad for racing through a little pain that we will get to later. Awesome pacing that if I can repeat in 5 weeks, I will have an INCREDIBLE Ironman race!!!

Quick and Dirty Version:
The bike is racked and ready to go!
Waiting...and waiting for the show to get going.
Once we got kicked out of transition at 6:45, I had almost two hours to wait around for my swim wave (the last one out of 21 waves!). I stood around and nervously waited and chatted with some friends and then took 40 minutes to go inside a building at the race site to hit the bathroom a few times and to get sunblock and my wetsuit on. I got out to the swim start with a few minutes to spare. I jumped off the dock and suddenly my nerves were gone. I was ready to get this done. The gun went off and I headed towards the first buoy.

The swim was wavy and choppy because the wind was blowing and I kept all my form cues from Coach Tim in mind throughout the seven buoy stretch to the first turn. It was crowded, but not a slug fest that I have in other races. Once around the turn buoy, I felt like I was by myself and I worked hard to stay on the buoy line as everyone else got pushed out by the waves and chop. I was passing different colored swim caps from waves ahead of me and I was feeling good. I was well hydrated and got rid of some excess weight (if you catch my drift) before making the last turn to head towards the swim exit. Now it was crowded with lots of people but I worked my way around the slow swimmers. I swam in and up the ramp and then dashed up the long stretch from the water to the parking lot and the wetsuit strippers. I was out of that wetsuit in a flash and back up and running into transition.

Swim Time: 37:00 pace=1:45/100 meters (this included the long run, the wetsuit strip, and washing the salt water off my face in the shower) 18th out of 154 in my AG yesterday, 20th today after updates. I don't get that.

T1 was pretty darn fast. There were over 2000 people doing this race so the transition was huge. I thankfully had a rack that was close to the swim exit. I heard some people cheering for "Coach Liz" on my way in. THANKS!!! I dumped my wetsuit and stuffed my swim cap and goggles down in it, jumped into my SPI belt with my my number on it, put on my helmet and sunglasses and ran my bike to the bike exit.

T1 Time: 2:25
My trusty steed...
And my lucky blue lizard who would be coming along for the ride.
Once on the bike, I worked fast to get my feet into the shoes. I left the Moody Gardens complex and turned onto a mile long road to get onto the Seawall. Not halfway down the road I see motorcycle cops, the timing truck, and Chris Lieto coming back in to finish his bike leg. HOLY F--K!!! Not only was that a little depressing that I was so far back in the game but at the same time it was totally amazing that he was done with 56 miles of biking that fast. I found out later Chris' bike leg was a 2:02:15. A 2:02:15! A 2:02:15!! 25.8 mph on the way out and 29.4 mph on the way back in!!! Ok, enough on that. Heading out to the Seawall was into the wind and it was not real fun. When we woke up that morning, the wind was howling around the windows of the beach house and said they were blowing at 24 mph. Things died down to about 19-20 mph. Once up on the Seawall, the course headed west and we got a stiff crosswind with a bit of a headwind. My plan was to ride this race as if it were a training ride. If I passed people, great. If I got passed, ok, but I will see you again on the run sista'. I worked my way through the pack keeping the heart rate low and comfortable and passed quite a number of gals from my age group that were in the swim start ahead of mine (we were split into 2 groups). I had LMFAO's song "Party Anthem" running through my head as I pedaled along and kept the heart rate around 130 bpm. I had a few "fast chicks" from my age group pass me around mile 20 and blow by me hard on the bike. I let them go. Wow, it took them that long to catch up? They must suck at swimming. I knew my nutrition was on target. I knew my hydration was on target. I was able to make the bike lighter around mile 15 and every couple of miles after that, if you get my drift. Once I made the turn around, it was pretty lonely out there. There was lots of pavement between me and the people ahead of me. A few fast girls blew by me around mile 35 but I pulled them back in on the uphill onto the San Luis Pass bridge. I just kept to the plan and started to see more men that I was riding up on around mile 45. There was a slight tail wind so I was a few miles per hour faster on the way back in but again, I kept things light and comfortable. The only thing that was not comfortable was my neck and a hot spot on my left ischium. You know, the bony protrusion on the bottom of the pelvis that you sit on. I was glad to get back up on the Seawall because that meant that I was almost done and I started getting ready to tackle the run.

Bike time: 3:08:35 16.88 mph on the first 28 miles, 18.87 mph on the last 28 miles. 17.82 mph average. 32nd in the age group.

T2 was fast! I ran the bike in past chicks that were slowly walking and getting in my way. Racked my bike, quickly rinsed any sand out from between my toes, pulled on my socks and shoes, grabbed my Fuel Belt and hat and ran for the Run Out arch.

T2: 1:48

On to the run. I kept the pace light while I got my Fuel Belt on and adjusted and got my hat on. I ran past the Team in Training tent and got some love from my friends and then grabbed a few cups of Gatorade to get some fast calories. Now it was time to get down to business! I found my pace and kept it snappy and light. I had 4 loops to run so I had to find a pace that I know that I could maintain. About a half mile in on the course I saw a "Go Liz!" chalked in purple on the course. It was probably not for me, but I owned it. I kept my eyes open for Greyhound and for Little Ratchet. Around mile 2 there was a sidewalk of paver bricks that led up to a short steep hill. I avoided the pavers and hit the long cement stretches on the left that bordered a planting bed that was flatter and less angled. At the top of the hill, someone had used chalk to write "RAWR" on the sidewalk. I yelled out,"RAWR!!!" and everyone around laughed as I zoomed by them on the downhill. I saw more people I knew on the back stretch of the course before the split near the finish. One lap done and time for lap two. I did a repeat performance on keeping the pace snappy. I saw Greyhound on an out and back section. He was almost a mile ahead of me. I was seeing more people I knew and said "Hi" and I was starting to see some of those fast chicks who had passed me on the bike course. At mile 6 it was time for another "RAWR!!!"
As I started loop 3 I saw Coach Carrie and she gave me a shout out. I was keeping the pace snappy and I kept dumping ice down my tri top to keep my core temp a bit lower in the 86% humidity and the heat. My blister from the Austin Half Marathon was back and burning on the bottom of my left foot. "It is just a blister," I kept telling myself and I put it out of my mind. I saw Little Ratchet around mile 8 and gave her an "Abracadabra Homes!" from Ricky Bobby. I saw another fast chick that I will call "TaTa Nelson" for obvious reasons. I easily passed her up and kept going. I caught up to Greyhound around mile 9 and he gave me an "'Atta Girl". Time for "RAWR!!!" number 3. There were a few people walking up that hill that were not too excited about my enthusiasm when I ran by. My cheering squad on the back stretch gave me some love. Time for the LAST LOOP!!! Things were still snappy and I was telling my TNT cheering squads thanks for the support. I had people telling me that I was looking great and looking strong. I was passing people left and right. No one had passed me up in at least a loop or a loop and a half. Fast chick in my age group with the Shama Team who passed me on the bike like I was standing still....passed her as she was stopped at the side of the course trying to stretch out her legs. "See Ya!" With two miles to go I began picking up the pace. I had been using the mantra of 3:47 through most of the run and I had yet to look at my watch to see the time and how long this run was taking me. I ran purely by feel rather than using heart rate or time. Time for mile 12 and the last "RAWR!!!" I started booking it. I saw my friend Robin who is in an age group above mine and I quickly caught up to her and passed her in the last third of a mile. I was running hot now. I was getting love from the strong looking men who had already finished and were lounging along the last stretch before the Finisher's Chute. All I saw on the time clock was 7:17:53 as I was running in. I finished feeling winded from the last kick in the last two miles but feeling good. I was happy with my finish and very happy with my run. I was trying to do math in my head by subtracting 1 hour and 40 minutes off of the time to get my finish time. 5:37???OMG!!! Totally unofficial but WOW!!!

Run time: 1:51:17 Loop 1 pace = 8:36/mi, Loop 2 = 8:28/mi, Loop 3 = 8:31/mi, Loop 4 = 8:22/mi. Average pace = 8:29!!! 18th fastest in my age group!
The arch to the Finish Chute looking back from the Finish Line.

Well, the official finish time is 5:41:05 and 25th in my age group out of 154 participants. That is only 7:32 off my PR I set in October at the Longhorn 70.3 in Austin. Wow! I felt good the entire time. If I can get this feeling again in 5 weeks for IMTX and repeat the hydration and nutrition, and pacing, I may be in for a great race. I have sunburn, another big blister on the bottom of my left foot, and a nasty ugly saddle sore the size of a shooter marble that makes sitting and getting in and out of the car very painful. Other than than that, I am good. Really good.

Alright, that was not quick, but it was dirty. Thanks for the good luck messages!

Later Gators,



Christi said...

Wow, you are awesome! Congrats on a great race!

I love that t-shirt by the way. Did you get it?

Meredith said...

Awesome race Liz! Sounds like you had fun and that's what's most important.

greyhound said...

I was just pleased as punch to easily maintain my long run pace off the bike and feel like I could have kept running indefinitely.

We'll be ready for IMTX. RAWR!

Richard said...

I enjoyed reading your race report, and your Ricky Bobby reference.

--El Diablo (with the beak . . . and the claws)

Jennifer Harrison said...

Hey Liz! Congrats on your AWESOME race!!! Sounds like it was hot, windy and all that good ol Texas stuff! Glad you did so well! :))

Speed Racer said...

That is a FANTASTIC race! It sounds like you outwitted all those flashes in the pan and really pulled it together.

I HATE being in the last wave!!! I remember it from my summer of aquabikes and it really slows you down having to fight through all those slow swimmers and all those slow cyclists so extra props for that.

And damn that was a fast half marathon, dry or not!