Monday, July 9, 2012

Race Review: Ironman 37.2 Muncie

Remind me next time I want to sign up for a race in Indiana their time zone is an hour ahead of us. I think it's crazy when I have to get up at 5 am at home for a race, but in Indiana for a Half Ironman Olyman? That means getting up at 3 am Illinois time and believe me I'm not a morning person.

We arrived at the transition area around 5:15. Our bikes were racked and ready to roll on Friday night, but no matter how early we get there I still feel rushed. Because of the heat, we let air out of our tires the night before. We had to pump up tires, prepare our transition mats and nutrition, and eat more food. Before I knew it, the announcer was announcing the start of the pro wave. I was slightly panicked because I was in line at the porta-potties! Jeff finally asked the triathletes in front of me in line if I could cut to the front of the line. I had less than 10 minutes before my wave was due to start and I finally got in the porta johns. Now I'm no Steve Stenzel. You won't find me taking a traditional porta-potty pre-race photo. I'll just leave those private moments private.

I found my way down to the start of the race in just in time for them to move my wave (#6) down to the water. I took a few deep breaths as I put on my fluorescent green cap & checked my sea monster banishers for a good seal. I looked around at my competition and thought, "Shit. These old ladies are in shape." Before I knew it, the horn blasted to start my wave.

I looked like the Joker from the Batman movies while my
competition looks like they could model for Muscle & Fitness!

The swim was changed to a 1.0 mile swim in a rectangular shape with buoys on your right. I focused on relaxing to keep my heart rate under control and began counting strokes. I found myself constantly running into the same person every 25 yards or so. In a sick and twisted way, it made me feel better to know I was not going to be the last person out of the water from my wave. The further out into Prairie Creek Reservoir I got the more I noticed the water chop. Again, I tried to focus on my stroke and keeping my head in the box.

Wave #6 (ME) got started at 6:50 am. 
Before long, I started to see WHITE caps from wave #7 catching up to me. I was not surprised. I know my swim is ok, but certainly nothing to brag about. The disconcerting part was when I started seeing the LIGHT BLUE caps from wave #8...and then ORANGE caps from wave #9. (At least I was on the backside of the swim course before I noticed the orange caps.) I was a couple hundred yards from the transition when I had an ORANGE cap come up on either side of me and practically lift me out of the water. Brother!
This map probably explains my swim time. I actually swam 1.06 miles. 
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; however, my swim stroke does not seem to understand that. I actually swam 1.06 miles. According to my Garmin, I spent almost 2 minutes not moving in the water!!!!
Thumbs up to Jeff at I enter T1

I officially exited the water at 44:11, 2:44/100m. Yikes. Slow. I was ranked 67th out of 84 women competing in my age group. T1 means running up a hill to your bike, changing into your bike gear and taking off. I walked some of the transition. I ran parts. When I got to my bike, I pulled down my tri top to put on my Desoto Cool Wings. (I noticed after the race that some people wore those over their trip tops, but I didn't think that would be quite as effective. I'll take the extra  minute required in order to make sure I get the true benefit of the wings.) I sat down to put on my socks and shoes followed by gulping down a GU gel. I was determined to pay attention to my nutrition on the bike today.
I look like I'm praying. No, I do that before the swim. 
The bike course was now two loops for the first 20 miles and then re-entering the Prairie Creek Reservoir on relatively flat roads. The first few miles of the bike course have some small rolling hills. When I first started on the bike, I thought I was going to be in trouble. My legs didn't seem to have much UMPF. By the time I hit the first aid station at mile 5, my legs felt better and I felt stronger. I took my first stab at grabbing a water bottle at an aid station and believe it or not I was successful!! I am proud to say that I grabbed a water bottle at approximately 13 mph and held onto it! I held on to that bottle for the next 4 miles. My bottle carriers were full and I didn't want to litter by tossing a bottle out randomly on the course. So I held onto it in the aero position which actually worked out well as I always had a bottle ready for more hydration or wetting down my cooling wings.
30 mile bike course at Olyman Muncie
At mile 15, I hit another aid station.Maybe I was a little too cocky after my success at the first aid station or maybe it was the guy who cut in front of me, but the 2nd aid station didn't go quite as well. I missed one bottle, and then another when suddenly there was another rider in front of me. I hit the brakes as my wheel turned into the volunteers. Don't hit the volunteers!!! They are doing a great job!!!! Luckily, I avoided a crash. Finally, the last volunteer at the aid station ran with me and I was able to grab the bottle.

With the course condensed to 30 miles, you had to keep your eyes and ears open.Fortunately, I didn't see any accidents, but I heard from other T3 members that there a few hard crashes on the course. Come to think of it, I did see the ambulance moving around quite a bit with lights on even though I was hoping it was just precautionary. You also had to watch out for water bottles in the middle of the course as they seemed to be dropped everywhere not just around the aid stations.

Bikers were constantly yelling "On your left". Well, yes, thank you. I am always going to assume that someone is coming up on my left. The course was definitely fast, but there were still plenty of people who were going faster than I was. As a matter of fact, I had one T3 member pass me on the 2nd loop of the bike course. I took note of his number 853 because I really was not sure who it was he passed me so quick!

A flat course leaves plenty of time for your mind to wander. When in the aero position, the things you notice can be funny. I had to do a double take as one guy rode by me. His legs were so hairy his skin looked purple.  Nasty......

I had one biker ride past me asking "How are you doing today? Isn't this great? Life is gooood!" I chuckled enjoying his enthusiasm. Why couldn't that be me? I couldn't seem to put a smile on my face even though I truly was enjoying the day.

How did my nutrition plan go? I'm glad you asked. I had Perpetuem in my aero bottle. Yes, the Perpetuem is thick. I took in one more GU gel an hour into the bike AND I remembered to take my Endurolytes. I kept up with my hydration with plain water at the aid stations which I used to reload my aero bottle as well.

My bike split was 1:35:40, or 18:82 mph.While I thought my bike was pretty good, my overall rank in the bike for my age group dropped to 77 out of 84. Hmmmm. Guess everyone liked the fast course as much as I did.
As I entered transition, I chose to walk my bike. Again this race was more about practicing for IMLOU than anything. One of the volunteers must have read something in my face because she said, "Don't worry T3 you're almost there." I must have snarled at her. Did I look that bad? 

I knew the run was going to be the hardest part of the day. I changed my shoes, grabbed my runDisney hat and took off on the run course. Since I hadn't run in two weeks, I knew going into Muncie that my plan for the day was going to be walk run. My plan was to walk the inclines as well as a small walk at each aid station to make sure I took in adequate hydration.

Muncie Run course 6.2 mi
By the time I hit the run, you could start to feel the heat. The aid stations were fabulous. Each station had a lot of volunteers offering you water, ice, Ironman Perform, GU Gels and cold sponges. I loved the sponges which I kept with me during the entire run and just re-loaded with fresh, cold water. I used the sponges to wipe the sweat away from my eyes in hopes that I wouldn't have to deal with hives and swelling after the race.

The best part of the course was miles 2.5 until about 4. The road was nicely shaded and full of aid stations. About this time is when I started to see other T3 members as well which kept my mind distracted from the heat.I hit the run turn around and heard a voice coming up on my say, "Hello, Carla!" Oh wow! It was Ed from T3 passing me as if I was standing still. Oh well. Reality hits again. Yes, I am slow. About mile 4, I saw Awesome Cheryl. Around mile 5, I saw the Intimidators as well.

I remember talking to another T3 member earlier this week about heat management. He mentioned that a lot of the pro triathletes use the ice, but they pour it down their running shorts. Apparently by icing the major arteries which run into the groin, the cooling effect permeates throughout the entire body. By mile 5, I was more than willing to give it a try. A couple of chunks of ice down the pants and ahhh. Relief.
9 of the 13 IM Muncie participants from T3
My run pace was just slightly slower than I wanted. The first 3 miles I averaged a 12:34/mi pace. The second half of the run averaged a 12:02/mi pace which averaged to a 12:17/mi pace over the entire run. My run split ranked 75th out of 84 women in my age group and that is where I wound up overall. 75th. I may have been in the bottom third, but at least I wasn't last.

My overall time was 3:47:30. Due to the heat, I really can't complain about my time. I was able to implement my nutrition plan just as I wanted and even got to practice catching water bottles on the bike.

On to Ironman Louisville!

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