Sunday, May 11, 2014

DETOUR : Loveland Lake to Lake Olympic Triathlon

This race never happened for me this summer. Quite unexpectedly my summer became one I will cherish for always. At the beginning of June we found out my mother had stage 4 rapidly growing small cell lung cancer. We spent the summer primarily in California loving my mother and each other. With 10 children and 30 grandchildren my mother was surrounded by LOVE for the last 7 weeks of her life. She died on July 19, 2013.

Hawaii Ironman 70.3 - Race Recap

Hawaii 70.3 Ironman 
June 2, 2013

This was probably the hardest race I have done to this point. And my time was the longest I've ever had for a half Iron distance race. But relative to the field, I was still about where I usually am, for a decent, but not fabulous race. Which means everyone was affected by the conditions, not just me! A couple friends who have done this race before said the conditions were the worst they've ever raced here, and their times reflected that. 

The heat and humidity were high (temp from 80-90 and humidity was the same!) - coming from Colorado, that kills!!  Then there was the wind! Choppy water made for a longer than normal swim time, and wind on the bike was whipping! Gusts up to 40 mph. I really had to hold onto the handle bars at some points to not get blown over! Nonetheless I still felt pretty good on the swim and the bike, all things considered. It was the heat on the run that got me. Much of the run course is on a golf course with some of the run actually on the grass, it was like a steam room stepping onto the grass to run, I literally felt like I was cutting through the air with each step.

I'm not sure where the smile came from! Unless this was at the beginning of the run when I still felt ok!

 We took the whole family with us and had a wonderful vacation the week following the race!

Phoenix Marathon - March 2, 2013

Phoenix Marathon - March 2, 2013

This was the marathon that I was most prepared for, my training had all been spot on - and I had hit all the prescribed paces at or faster than needed to hit my goal of under 3:40 (8:23 pace per mile).  This was also another attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon so that I could skip going to run it in 2013 (the race I had qualified for) and run it instead when my husband was going to run it in 2014.

And as you can see the course elevation lends itself to a fast race.

BUT . . . (with these long endurance races it seems more often than not, there is a big old BUT . . . )

I did not anticipate what 4 days (Mon-Thurs) of the week of the race, spent walking around Disneyland and California Adventure, from morning until late night- would do to my run. I thought, "I've trained hard, tapered well, I'm ready. Surely WALKING around all week won't affect my run on Saturday - after all, I'll rest on Friday." Big fat  WRONG!!! 

This IS a great race though! I would definitely consider doing it again! Well run, great course, good temperature (50s to start and 70s at finish). I was great through about half way. Then I started to feel more tired than I should have at that point. You can see by my Garmin stats that it just kept getting slower and slower. By mile 17 I was still on track to make it, but was worried. my FEET hurt in ways they have NEVER hurt during a race (obviously from all the walking around that week prior to the race). By 21/22 I knew it was not happening but still tried to plod on! I finally let myself walk a good portion of miles 24 and 25, then picked it up to run the last little bit (slowly!!)

Official Results:

The day after this race I booked my hotel and flight for Boston 2013, now not knowing if I would EVER be able to qualify again, I had to go and do the race, even if it meant going there all by myself.

Sidenote: We had a WONDERFUL time in Disneyland with our kids and our Lyons extended family - and in the end, that is way more important than a marathon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013 - Bigger than Me

It's Wednesday in Denver, Colorado. 2:20pm on April 17th, 2013, snow is falling outside. I am tired, emotionally, physically, mentally. I sit at my computer in my warm, safe home in the suburbs of what I like to think of as a pretty darn safe city in a pretty darn safe state in the most amazing and blessed country in the world. Every morning and night I thank my Father in Heaven, my God; for my husband, my children, my faith, our health and safety. Every morning and night.

Approximately 48 hours ago I crossed the finish line at the biggest and most important race I have ever run, the famed and prestigious Boston Marathon. Every marathon runner knows what it  is and knows what it takes to get there. And every marathon runner dreams of making it to this, the big dance of marathons. There is March Madness, the Superbowl, Stanley Cup, World Series, NBA Championships, the Masters, Kona Ironman Championships. . . and The Boston Marathon. I was elated, having had an amazing race experience. I wanted to race well, maybe get a PR, perhaps qualify to come back to Boston next year, but mostly I wanted to cherish the moments along the way. I wanted to remember my Boston Marathon experience. This was, of course, about me. I had done the work, paid the price, suffered the disappointments of failure along the way, and reveled in the glory of personal success. This was my day.

I passed through the finish line, all smiles and waving to the camera men, hoping they would capture a decent picture of my glory that I would frame and hang on my wall alongside the coveted medal I would receive shortly. Slowing to a walk and being shuffled through the coral by volunteers, I walked down the line as I received water, a blanket, food, and, my medal.
"It's cute" I thought, "I like it! This will look good hanging on my wall!" My thoughts continued,
 "Man it stinks around here, is that me? . . . probably. Along with all these other sweaty and stinky bodies . . . breath through your mouth."
"Keep walking, so many people, keep walking."
"Shoot that wind is cold," I thought as I pulled the space blanket tighter. I found the bus containing my race morning clothes bag and sat down on the ground near one of the busses to put some dry clothes on.  I would guess 15-20 minutes had passed at this point from the time I finished the race. I had finished 10 minutes over my personal record, and while a little disappointed  I was not letting it affect my experience, I ran the entire race in a place and at a pace that I felt I could enjoy the experience, not too hard, but not too easy either. Pretty early on, I knew the race was not going to be my very best, too much fatigue in my legs and body from multiple recent marathons. I acknowledged the fact, and moved past it to make the very best of what I had that day, a running of the Boston Marathon.

I did not wear my ipod, wearing it would have most definitely been a mistake, for me. I'm pretty sure I would not have heard anything on the ipod the whole race had I decided to use it! And why would I want to? The cheers and encouragement from the fans and the crowd EVERY STEP OF THE WAY were awe inspiring. 26.2 miles is a long way to run, and to have fans lining the course literally each and every step of the way cheering the entire time is quite a tribute to the people of Boston and the pride and love they have for this historic event. I was continually amazed, as I ran from town to town, at the tradition each of these places held to, and exhibited. The pride with which the fans cheered the runners on was amazing. I felt privileged to be running through their hometowns, through their Boston, their Massachusetts, their history, and their lives. Wellesley was everything I had heard it would be and more. I could hear the volume of cheers and screaming girls increase as I approached. I smiled the whole way through Wellesley - reading the silly, fun, and sometimes completely inappropriate signs made that stretch of the marathon quite memorable! I carried the smile with me as I continued on.

I then approached the Newton hills and the infamous Heartbreak Hill. As a runner you hear quite a bit of hype about this section.  I  had also been told that coming from Colorado, these hills would not really be hills. Miles 16-20 are where this section hits and rolling hills would be my most accurate way to describe it. The reality of the hills actually encouraged me and after mile 20 I had my fastest mile of the race at mile 21. As I began to get closer to the city the headwind seemed to pick up. I kept on, through those last few miles that always hurt, watching the Citgo sign get closer and closer until I finally passed it, anxious and excited to cross the finish line. As I turned onto Hereford and then Boylston St. the cheers became louder, I knew I was close! My garmin had me at 26.4 miles already at this point and I could see the finish line! I held back emotion as I approached and crossed the line. 3:50:01, my 9th marathon, and 4th marathon in 6 months (eek!)

As I exited the finish area with my belongings, I pulled out my phone to call my husband, Bill. He should have arrived in the Grand Canyon by now. He was not with me at this race, a rarity. He was instead preparing to run the Rim2Rim2Rim in the Grand Canyon; which he did, yesterday. I told him about my race and the experience and promised to call later after I was warm and had eaten at the hotel. We hung up and I kept slowly walking down Boylston St., away from the finish line. At this point, it had been about 35 minutes since I crossed the finish line. There were other runners and spectators around me walking down the street when we heard a loud BOOM. Confused, I turned to look in the direction of the sound, straight down Boylston St., back towards the finish line. A cloud of smoke began to rise from the street. Thoughts, "what in the world?! did they shoot off a canon? that is what it sounded like. this is Boston and it is Patriots day, would that be what that was?! No, that smoke would blind the runners, that wouldn't be smart, oh no, I really hope that was not something really bad." I kept slowly walking in the direction of my hotel and came to the Boston Commons where earlier that day I had boarded the bus to Hopkinton, the start of the marathon. Within minutes sirens, police cars, ambulances, whizzed by, all headed in the direction of the race finish. "Oh No! NO! NO!" I thought. "How awful." Then the first text came, from my news savvy friend attending journalism school in NYC, "are you ok??!" - the first of hundreds to come that day. Hers was the one that caused insight to flood my mind, "if something bad happened she'd be one of the first to know, she's in the news world." I immediately called her, "are you ok?!" were her first words, "Yes," I said, "I saw it, I'm just up the street, WHAT WAS THAT?!" "There were two explosions at the finish line," she said, "the pictures are awful, I immediately thought of you!"

After the call I immediately began checking texts and Facebook  to my horror to find a post from Competitor Running stating "Major explosion at finish line of Boston Marathon. Stay tuned for breaking news." Uuuugh! My heart sank! I quickly shared the statement onto my wall with the preface that I was fine, I was up the street from the explosion when it happened, and I was safe. I tagged the friends I knew were at the race that I had not seen afterwards in hopes of finding out if they were alright as well. 

A jumbled and messy walk back to my hotel - thoughts all over the place:

Prayers as I walked, prayers in every thought. 
Sending and receiving messages, "Yes, I am ok." 
Messages coming in faster than I can respond, I don't want anyone to worry about me!
Receiving confirmation of friend after friend, and their families, who were safe and not harmed at the blast. Almost all accounted for. . . 
Mass text from my brother the fireman/paramedic to the whole family, "do we know if Rachel is OK??!!" - I quickly text back, but not before it freaks my mother out, who saw his text and wondered what must have happened.

Words on the street: The subway is shut down. Finish line on lockdown. People being rushed to the hospital. Lots injured, probably some dead. Race is shut down.
Advised to get inside and stay there. 
More sirens.
I reach a corner. I think I turn here, yes, this is the street.
I think I'm glad now that my hotel is so far from the finish line. I was disappointed at first to be so far.
Funny how things change.
OH MY, I am SO glad my family could not come! So glad friends that tried to work it out could not!
!! I need to contact Bill, yes we spoke after the race, but that was before the explosions. If he hears about this he needs to know I am ok, and not still there. Text to him and to his sister who had just inquired about my race (and had apparently not yet seen the news), "major explosion at the finish line. I am fine." I send. Bill calls, I tell him everything. He thought my text meant that I had GI issues at the finish and that was what I meant by explosion. My sister in law texted me back, "emotional explosion??!! congrats on finishing!!" no, that is not what I meant. . . I informed her.

I arrive back at my hotel and go up to my room, flip on the news, and began to understand what had happened. "This was an attack, someone did this to hurt and kill innocent people." I receive some voicemail, no calls coming through, I can't call out. Lines must be overloaded. Texting and social media still working. I text my friend, "please call the school and let them know I am ok, if the news spreads there about the bombs I don't want my kids to hear about it and worry about me, I am fine and safe!" Watching the news, watching the stories unfold, the miracles, the generosity and compassion of those closest to the attack. I feel peace and comfort knowing that God is over all, that He lives and loves us. That most people are good, and caring, and kind. Then why?! I already know the answer, but we always ask, don't we?! This life is our proving ground, where we will show the stuff we are made of. God has given us the freedom to choose our actions here on earth, and had told us we will answer for our choices at the last day. How else can we be held accountable for those choices if He intercedes to prevent terror and heartache? It's not a fun answer, but I do believe it is an answer. And ALL mankind will receive their just reward. ALL mankind.

Shower, get warm, get clean. Now I need to eat. If no one is supposed to leave their hotels, does that mean this hotel might run out of food?! I don't know, I guess it depends on how long this goes on and how bad this really is. I better get down there to eat.

Lobby full, bar and restaurant full. I find a seat with others I do not know in the bar, every seat is filled. I order a burger and fries, I am famished at this point.

 I don't really feel like talking to anyone, but I do. A nice woman who did not get to finish. She had cramps and diarrhea early on, stuff that never happens to her in a race. It delayed her race, she knew she'd have a horrid race, at the time she was mad, but pushed through. She was stopped abruptly within a mile of the finish, runners backed up, nowhere to go, they'd been stopped!? Word spread quickly. She realized that if she had a good race, she would have been there at the finish line just about the time the bombs went off, and so would her family and friends. Angels were watching over her, she said.  Now cramps and GI issues were seen as blessings. She had to walk an extra few miles to get around the lockdown area. People were coming out of their houses offering blankets, clothing, food, water, a place to rest, a place to stay the night if needed. Wow! And I thought the people of Boston made great fans! Yes, but they made great fans because they are GREAT people.

Later, back in my room, I pack my bags, I have an early flight out the next morning. If the flight is on time, I will now have to be there much earlier, "heightened security, arrive earlier than usual for flights."  I check my phone one last time, it's hard to break away, there are still messages from friends and loved ones wondering if I am ok. I have to sleep though, I am exhausted! And I have to get up at 4:30am to get to the airport on time. I send out one last post for the night, thanking many friends, family and loved ones for their care, concern and prayers. I try to fall asleep. Every noise makes me jump, "Is that another one?!" My hotel is directly across the street from the Boston Fire Department. A few times through the night I hear sirens, "oh goodness, I hope that is totally unrelated" I think.  

I wake in the morning and get to the airport. I only see runners, in the official clothing of the marathon, I am wearing it too. I am honored and proud to be a part of such an event. I am honored and proud to have been witness to the amazing spirit and depth of soul of the people of Boston.  I am honored and proud to be an American. I am honored and proud to be part of the human race. We are good, kind, compassionate, and loving people. There are the exceptions, there always will be. But as one said, directly to those exceptions, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

I am honored and proud to be a part of that "good."  Because after all, this day, this experience is not about me, it is about all Americans, and particularly the people of Boston, Massachusetts. It is about all humankind; who collectively band together against terror and fear, who lift and help each other in times of unimaginable horror and distress, and  WHO ALWAYS WILL. I am ever grateful to be a part of that greater good, to be a part of something worthwhile that is much bigger than me.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Florida Ironman 2012 – Race Recap

I have been anxiously excited (is that a possible combination!?) the last few weeks leading up to this race, my 2nd full Ironman.  I have gone over the entire race in my mind countless times. Each night as I have fallen asleep I have either been perfecting my transition; or riding along the final windy stretch of the bike, envisioning taking it easy on this last grueling part of the 112 miles in order to have a great start to my run; or I was in the middle of the marathon, feeling good at a nice comfortable pace.  I’ve gone through scenarios where everything goes right, and scenarios where things go wrong. Because I did this race last year, my nerves were not getting to me NEARLY as much in the days and weeks leading up to the race. I knew I’d be nervous on race day, but for now, I was just plain excited! Excited to get to Florida, Excited to swim in the gorgeous warm ocean, excited to bike along the long lonely highways that make up the bike course, and most excited to run a marathon at the end of the day. Weird that I would be so excited for those things?! This Ironman bug is in my veins. 

I arrived in Panama City Beach, Florida on Thursday, November 1st.  The night before was Halloween, my family and I spent the evening trick or treating and enjoying the festivities of the day. I abstained from candy, as I was attempting a last ditch effort at no sugar the week before the race. I am disciplined and regimented in many ways, my sweet tooth is my weakness.
My husband, Bill, and I arrived in the afternoon and headed straight to the Expo to get registered for the race.  The weather was warm, high 70s and sunny. The forecast was for 80s on race day. Last year was much cooler, and made for a different race.
Friday was spent relaxing. Breakfast of fried eggs and toast. Then we went for a short bike ride along the run course to loosen the legs. We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant, Bill had fajitas and I had enchiladas with beans and rice. Later we made grilled chicken and wheat pasta with marinara sauce. Water, Pedialite, and Gatorade all day long.  We went to bed about 8:30, at about 10:30 I may have fallen asleep.

RACE DAY – Saturday, November 3rd
4:30am As usual, Bill got up before the alarm went off. I lay in bed for a few more minutes, thinking and praying. It was finally here. I ate breakfast of oatmeal with honey and a banana.  I drank water and Gatorade throughout the morning. About 5:30 we left the condo and walked the ¼ mile to the race start. I got body marked (#737), and entered transition. I got everything in transition ready, hit the bathroom 2x, and ate a peanut butter and jelly bonk breaker. I got my wetsuit on and headed to the beach with Bill. I drank my pre-race drink and stuffed a gel up my sleeve, to take after the first loop of the swim. I was still not super nervous, just still excited. The nerves I was feeling last year at this time brought me to tears, I am grateful for the calming effect a tiny bit of experience provides.
6:45am – Pro Start
I got into the water after they departed and swam a little bit, got used to the surf (which was pretty big and choppy for the Florida Gulf). As I looked at the current, waves, and swells, I knew there would be some who would be freaking out at this point. Florida is supposed to be a calm ocean swim. Today would not be so. I positioned myself next to Bill and behind the front lines of swimmers. The current would carry us right to left into the buoys, so I moved farther right as I have a tendency to swim left anyway.

7:00am –the cannon BOOMs!
SWIM 2.4 Miles       1:17:26                    Division Place:  35/118;  All Females:  199/789
I start running into the water, it’s quite shallow for a little ways, and the surf caused us to have to dive under and through waves to get past them. Once I was out far enough I dove in and started swimming. There were SO many bodies everywhere! Somehow I underestimated the craziness that this mass swim start is. It is NUTS! The current did not help the situation and most people were not swimming straight -or I wasn’t ;) .  There were bodies swimming over me, cutting me off, getting in the way no matter which way I tried to go. Last year I felt like it mellowed out a little bit after the start, not on this day. It was crazy all the way to the first turn, and that only made the problem worse. The swells were so big that I could not see the buoys unless I waited until I was at the top of each swell. Sighting became a matter of timing. I came out of the first loop and the clock said 50 minutes -minus the 15 from when the pros started – meant I was right at about 35 minutes, longer than I was hoping for, but with the rough nature of the water, I was just glad it wasn’t longer! I got hit in the head during the first loop and thought to myself, “well, there’s the first hit, not so bad.”
I took out my gel, ate it, and drank some water as I ran through the aid station on the beach on my way to the 2nd loop. The 2nd loop was much calmer and I remember thinking, “wow, this is actually relaxing.” Then I hit the first turn, not relaxing any longer. The rest of the swim was uneventful, I tried throughout the swim to swim on someone’s feet, to gain the advantage that comes from drafting. As I approached the shore the waves were pushing me in, I even took the opportunity to body surf a few waves in, it was the fun, and lighthearted moment of the very hectic and rough swim.  My swim goal was to be close to or under 1 hour 10 minutes. I am happy with my time of 1:17:26 only because I know I went as fast as I could for this day in this water. I think most swim times were a couple to a few minutes off, if not more. I know of several who truly struggled with the swells, waves, and currents, even to the point of nausea, vomiting and having to rest on the safety surfboards and kayakers. Fortunately on this day, for me, the only effect of the ocean conditions was a slightly slower time than it may have been in perfect conditions.

Transition #1:               5:42  
I ran up the beach as I tore my wetsuit down, plopped on my bum for the wetsuit strippers to do their thing, jumped up, ran along the boardwalk around to the parking lot of the hotel, grabbed my T1 bag, and headed into the hotel ballroom to get ready to ride. One of my prime goals for this year was to take about 5 minutes off my 2 transition times combined. Last year I had a 9:38 T1 - and had no idea why it was that long! We do run around A LOT - my garmin clocked the distance in T1 at .37 miles! This time I was conscious of all I was doing and really tried to speed things up. The weather being warmer this year meant no need for arm warmers, gloves, and a jersey on the bike.  I am sure that all contributed to a faster T1 this year. I was in and out in 5:42, an almost 4 minute improvement, that's equivalent to 10 seconds per mile on the marathon. Every minute counts.

BIKE 112 Miles  5:43:48  19.6 mph avg  Division Place:  19/118;  All Females:  124/789

 The temperature was perfect to start the bike, mid 60s and sunny, with little to no wind. Of course - at 8:30 in the morning for it to already be mid 60s meant it would be HOT later on. Forecast was for a high of 83. I figured that would be right about the time I start the marathon! As I got moving on the bike I was pleasantly surprised to see my speed at just about 20mph.  I felt great, and I was very consciously keeping my heart rate in my high zone 2 (140-153ish). I kept checking my HR to make sure I was taking it easy enough because I felt like I was going fast. Much faster than last year. There was either no wind on the first 50 miles, or even a tailwind at times. Last year there was a headwind those same first 50 miles and I worked too hard to keep the speed I thought I should have. I began eating and drinking right away. Basic run down of bike nutrition went as follows:

Breaking the foods up to eat approx 100-150 calories every 20/25 minutes this is what I took on (with calorie counts), in the order listed:

2 Homemade Blueberry Muffins 180 x 2 (360 total)

1/2 PB & H sandwhich on white bread 350
1 PB & H Bonk Breaker 250
2 Enduralite capsules and 2 First Endurance Pre-Race capsules (about 2 hours in)
1 Apple Pie Bonk Breaker 250 
3 Honey Stinger Waffles - Honey & Vanilla Flavor  120x3 (360)
2 Enduralite capsules and 2 First Endurance Pre-Race capsules (about 4.5 hours in)
5 gu, gu roctane, or powerbar gels 110x5 (550)

Throughout the bike I also took in 32oz of EFS Fluids (300), the 20 oz water bottle that I brought, and then I grabbed a water bottle at every aid station and dumped some on my head, drank some, and kept the bottle between my handlebars full. I don't know how much water I drank in total, but I did pee several times during the 112 miles, and again in T2. I also took 2 puffs on my inhaler about 1/2 way through the bike and again at about mile 100. I didn't feel like I was struggling to breath, I just wanted to make sure every air passageway was as open as possible!

Back to the ride! Miles 50-62ish is an out and back stretch that is rough road. Bumpy and broken up here and there, just not the kind of road you want to ride on. I had a slight headache (I think from the hit during the swim-my forehead was tender in that spot and my helmet hit my head at that tender spot) and this stretch of road did not help. I took one 200mg ibuprofen. For the most part I really enjoyed the bike portion of this race. I kept it feeling easy and after getting off the rough road, the rest of the ride was uneventful. I held a 19/20 mph average speed most of the time, and I got up out of the saddle whenever I could, to change things up a bit. 
Transistion 2: 3:02
Determined to have a faster T2 than last year's (5:24) I had practiced getting out of my shoes while still on the bike, making for a faster exit as well as faster running through the transition area. I handed off my bike and ran into the hotel ballroom, grabbed my T2 bag and headed to the ladies section. I threw my shoes and visor on, took off my helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my gels, inhaler, and enduralites and stuffed them in my back tri jersey pocket and headed out. I ducked into the Port a pottie for about a minute and was off on the run.

RUN 26.2 Miles  4:27:08    10:11 pace   Division Place:  17/118;  All Females:  104/789

My run last year is what I was really disappointed in. I ran a 4:37 and had to make 2 desperate stops in the port a pottie. I wanted to set myself up this year to have a great run. I feel like I can realistically run a 4 hour to 4:10 marathon for an Ironman. At least I feel like I should be able to do that. My open marathon times are right about 3:40. I felt that tacking on one minute per mile would be feasible. I also was hoping to somehow find a way to alleviate the stomach issues I had during the run. No other race have I ever had GI issues except for during the marathon of an Ironman. Open marathons, Half Ironmans, Olympic Tris, they are all fine, no issues.

At the beginning of the run I felt good, I kept telling myself to slow it down to keep my HR in the 150s. If I felt good later I would let my HR get into the 160s for the second half of the marathon. My pace was right on for the first 6 miles at 9:30 or faster. Then, for whatever reason, giving out the same effort, was producing a slower run. I did not want to increase my effort output this early in the race and cause my HR to get too high too soon. So I stayed where I was comfortable, and plodded along. I took a gel every 2 to 3 miles and went through 6 gels in the first 13 miles. I drank water or coke at every aid station and drank some chicken broth at the aid stations in the last few miles.

I was actually a bit worried at the start of the run because I had not yet seen Bill the entire day. Often I will beat him out of the water and so I get to see him on the bike as he catches and passes me. But I did not see him at all on the bike. I thought I would see him very early in my run as he should be about 6 miles in front of me when I started. I finally did see him when I was at about 5.5 miles. I called to him and asked how he was, he gave two thumbs down. Oh no! H
e was not having the race he wanted to have. The fact that he was only 2 miles ahead of me at this point was a testament to that as well. I cheered him on and told him I loved him as we passed each other. He was able to pick up more time though and still finished a few minutes faster than his last year PR - He finished in 10:53:20.

The rest of the run is kind of a blur now! I remember it, but it was monotonous and hard, so hard. I kept thinking how good it would feel to walk but knew I could not start walking or I might not run again! I ran the entire marathon, through the aid stations also, which is always a goal of mine. I looked forward to seeing Bill 2 more times on the run as we passed each other. My stomach began acting up around mile 11 and I ducked into the port a pottie 3 times, at mile 12, 16, and again at 24. Each time I was desperate! That is such a miserable feeling when you are running. The last time, at mile 24, I did not want to get up, and I felt like I could fall asleep sitting right there.  The last two miles I tried to enjoy, as much as is possible at that point! I came across the finish line and, hoping my kids were watching the live stream at home, blew a kiss to the camera. I had my finisher's picture taken and then found Bill. 

Total Time 11:37:06     140.6 miles
Division Place:  17/118;  All Females:  104/789
(I was the 600th finisher overall out of approx 3000 athletes) 

 After thoughts: My run was only 10 minutes faster this year than last year and I had hoped to be 30 minutes faster on the run. But, my bike was faster than I had anticipated so my overall time was not as devastating as the run could have made it. I was hoping to improve by 45-60 minutes minimum. And I was just about 40 minutes faster  (12:16:48 last year) - thanks to a fast bike. Another positive: I did not start slurring my speech or get tingling all over my entire body this time though and I avoided needing to enter the Medical Tent (unlike 2011)! So that is a plus! I went directly to the massage area and this angel of a girl massaged and stretched me for WAY longer than she was supposed to, it was heaven! During the massage I drank 3 cups of chocolate milk, 2 of chicken broth, had 2 cups full of potato chips. I began coughing a lot when I tried to talk or breath deeply and took probably another 4 puffs on my inhaler to get things in check. After the massage I changed into dry clothes and got some pizza, more chocolate milk and chips.

             Bill and I after the race.

 Finish Line at Midnight
wanted to go back to the finish line at midnight and watch the last of the athletes come across the line, I wanted to do it last year but was too exhausted to walk back. Those athletes coming across in the last few minutes are some of the most inspiring. They are those who, for any number of reasons, had something go awry in their day of racing; or who, giving all they have for as long as they can, finish just under the time limit of 17 hours. In order to be called and Ironman, and have your name listed in the results as finishing, you have to finish before midnight. 7am-midnight. That is a LONG day. A 78 year old man crossed the finish line with about 10 minutes to go. A firefighter in full gear, finished in those last few minutes as well. One of the greatest things about this time of the race is that the pros who won the race will usually come back and place the medals around the necks of these final finishers. There are more fans cheering and yelling for these last few athletes than there are for any other finisher all day long, including the pros I daresay! I was able to finagle a spot right along the finishing chute, right by where the pros were standing to encourage the last of the finishers along.

Mirinda Carfrae is a world champion Ironman, having won the Kona Ironman in 2010. She actually came in 2nd this time around in Florida. Yvonne Van Vlerken
won the Florida Ironman this year, going under 9 hours (a pretty astounding feat). And Andrew Starykowicz won the men's race. I had no idea who he was, but I had heard about this story earlier in the year: he was the one who was put in jail in Abu Dhabi for a "hit and run" when he collided with a volunteer at an aid station during the bike portion of the race. Apparently he stopped to see that she was getting medical attention, and then went on, later pulling out of the race himself due to the crash.  Then he gets thrown in jail in a foreign country for a hit and run! What a nightmare for him!

Anyway - Pictures with all of them!

2nd Place Female Mirinda "Rinny" Carfrae 

            1st Place Female Yvonne Van Vlerken

Pro Male 1st Place Andrew Starykowicz


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hampton's Mararthon Sept 29, 2012 Race Recap

I ran a marathon in June and achieved a long-time goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Yay for me!! Bummer for my husband who missed his qualifying time by 16 seconds! UUUGH! Why didn't he sprint the last mile, surely you can make up 16 seconds if you know you are that close, right?!   I now know better, much better (read on).

Because he missed it, and is not one to play the cheerleader while I run the most prestigious marathon in the world, he had to do another, and soon, so as to qualify for himself. Ok, that's great, and I'd certainly rather go to Boston with both of us running it, and if the roles were reversed I'd be doing the exact same thing!

Hence, this race recap. Not originally on the schedule, but when Bill came to me and said, "let's go to NYC and the Hamptons for a long weekend at the end of September, just you and me." I bit, and said, "of course I'd LOVE that!!" Then he added, "Oh, and by the way, there's a marathon in the Hamptons that weekend that I'm going to do, want to do it as well?" There's the catch, oh well, sure, why not!

Here's the other dilemma we face with this whole Boston Marathon quest; Bill is already planning to do a 50 mile run in the Grand Canyon (Rim to Rim to Rim) 4 days AFTER the 2013 Boston Marathon. So, even if he did qualify at this marathon, and because of the timing of Boston Registration (the week BEFORE this marathon) - He can use the qualifying time for either the 2013 Boston Marathon (if it's not full), or the 2014 BM, which would be his preference. He certainly does not intend to run a marathon 4 days before a 50 mile trail run in the Grand Canyon!

What's the dilemma, you ask? Well, that means that now, although I have qualified to run the BM in 2013, if I intend to run the 2014 BM with my husband,  I needed to RE-qualify at this race in order to be eligible to run it! UUGH! And, the kicker is, this race is only 5 weeks before our Full Ironman in Florida! Would that be enough time to recover and give my all for the most important race of my season?

Pressure! Pressure that I do not want! I trained hard for this marathon and hoped that the added training, along with a flat course at sea level, would lend to an easy, fast marathon. If there were ever a contradictory statement, that is it! An easy, fast marathon!?!?! No such luck!

The weekend was full of tourism in NYC and in East Hampton,
but that's not what this blog is about!

I did all the usual pre-race routine, drank pedialite on Thursday, laid around a lot on Friday, ate pasta and chicken for dinner, and went to bed early. I woke in the morning and ate oatmeal and a protein shake.  I drank EFS on the way to the race. I warmed up for the race for about 10 minutes to get my legs and heart moving. I felt good and was excited to start. This is a small marathon (about 500 participants), but they also have a half marathon that had 2500 participants. We all ran together for the first 6 miles, then the paths split.

When the gun went off, we were off and running! I knew the plan was to hold back for the first half and keep my heart in low low zone 3, make it feel easy and know that I am holding back. I did that and was right on pace (8:20). The only problem I was seeing was that my Garmin GPS was showing a .1 mile discrepancy according to the course (and not in the right direction!) - My watch showed the course was actually .1 miles longer at every mile than the race mile markers were showing. That was not a big deal, at the time, my pace was on and I knew I'd be able to pick it up 2nd half. And I hoped the discrepancy would work itself out! I stuck to my nutrition plan and took a gel every 3.5 miles and water at every aid station. I also took enduralites and pre-race capsules at about the middle. The weather was PERFECT the entire race! mid 50s to start and mid 60s to finish, and overcast the whole time, with a few drizzles here and there. The course was winding and pretty, along the coast for part of it and through mostly rural wooded roads.

By about mile 12 I realized that the distance discrepancy was getting larger, .1 mile had turned into .17 miles. If it did not fix itself and the course was actually long, I would have to run .17-.2 miles extra and still be under 3:40. For someone who barely made the 3:40 cutoff (by 11 seconds), that would mean a minute or more of extra running to cram in somewhere and still make my BQ time! I began to pick it up and still felt great, but was going as fast as I felt was possible, knowing the distance I had left to go. From mile 12 on, not one person, male or female, passed me (like I said, it's a smaller race, but I was still cranking!). I began to pass many of those who had passed me earlier on in the race. By mile 20 I was concerned, my pace was still right at 8:20 (8:23 is the limit to make it under 3:40), but if I had to add in an extra tenth or more of a mile, I would not make it. I pushed harder and started really passing people in the last 6 miles. By mile marker 25, my watch said 25.2. I realized then that the course was not going to correct itself and I could not bank on that! I pushed it even more, to near red line for the last mile (which ended up being my fastest mile of the marathon!) - I turned around the  last corner to see the finish line and saw the clock reading 3:40:08 - I had been sprinting, when I saw that, I was deflated and slowed just a bit, crossing the line at 3:40:25. Oh come on, you say, couldn't you sprint and make up that last 25 seconds?! NO!! I could not, I knew from about mile 20 that I may have to do that and I gave it all I had, and on this day, I came up short.

As I crossed the finish line, the announcer said, "Rachel Lyons from Lone Tree, Colorado finishing in a great time, her significant other had a great race as well, finishing in the top 5 earlier today." Wow! I though! That was the first news I had about how Bill had done. We had passed each other once during the race on a long out and back, and he looked strong. I was so excited for him and when I found him he told me he had run it in 3:08! His BQ time is 3:10. He did it!! And he won his agegroup and was 5th overall. I ended up 12th Female overall and 3rd in my AG (small race!).

Part of me wanted to be disappointed in my result, but I simply could not be. I knew that I gave it my all. I ran an exceptional race, for me, and felt great and was able to crank it up quite a bit for the last few miles. I had several people come up to me after and wonder how I had so much energy in the last few miles! Little do they know it was not so much energy as it was desperation! As I review the race in my mind, the ONLY thing I could have done differently to make the time I was shooting for, was to run faster in the first half, which I could have done, but then I would have been in mid to high zone 3 and who knows how that would have affected my pace in the 2nd half. It was simply not meant to be for this race on this day.